Well last week I covered the first half of an in-depth comparison of two of India’s most fierce rivals in the hatchback segment – the Fabia and the Polo. This week you will find out who comes out on top in that duel and with the cars neck and neck at the half way stage this could go either way. Well what are you waiting for…?
Round 4: Performance & Mileage
With both cars battling it out closely this is going to be a decisive round and both cars start off well as there is barely anything to choose between their respective weights with the Polo weighting about 45 kgs more than the Fabia. This keeps power-to-weight ratios similar and therefore performance figures.
The VW Polo gets from 0-100 kmph in 16.16 seconds while the Skoda Fabia managed to do it in 16.9 seconds. The difference between the cars’ times being within a sec can be put down to the fact that the Polo has larger tires. Both vehicles have a similar top speed of around 165 km/hr and the configuration of the tall gear ratios does not provide much low end acceleration but bodes well for fuel efficiency.
Where the Polo manages to beat the Fabia though is in the mileage figures giving 22.2 kmpl for the highway and 15.8 kmpl in the city. Comparatively the Fabia gets 14.2 kmpl in the city and 19.2 kmpl when driving on the highway. The variation in figures is quite unexpected given the fact that both cars are powered by very similar engines and this is confirmed by ARAI figures that put the Polo at 22.1 kmpl and the Fabia at 21 kmpl. The performance of both cars was really close but the fuel consumption ratings had some difference allowing the Polo to come out on top in this round.
Round 5: Driving Dynamics
Since Volkswagen is the parent company of Skoda Auto, they used shared components and both vehicles are built on the Volkswagen PQ25 platform and employ MacPherson struts at the front and torsion beams for the rear suspension. The ride and handling of both cars are very comparable although the Fabia feels better in the city owing to its smaller tires that allows the wheels to absorb any bumps and creases present on the road surface.
The drive of the Volkswagen is slightly stiffer and the vibrations from uneven roads do get passed on to the cabin, but the stiff suspension does pay dividends as speed builds up. In actuality the control that the driver feels in the Polo at higher speeds is so sure that you get the impression you are driving a bigger vehicle and this should inspire a lot of confidence in any driver. The higher speed actually also makes the ride more comfortable and her German pedigree comes to the fore allowing the driver to literally beat any road into submission.
This is not saying that the Skoda Fabia is a softy as it still has one of the more stiffer set-ups in its class that also benefits it at speed. Handling of the Fabia is also very good but when compared to the Polo falls short as the Polo has more body control, tighter roll and the ability to carry its speed through corners due to the wider tires she sits on.
When choosing between the Fabia or the Polo based on its handling and driving dynamics the decision ultimately comes down to preference of driving style. If you prefer to drive at a more comfortable speed and cruise round city streets then the drive of the Fabia would suit you better, but if you are looking for a car that handles better especially at speed and is suited to carving up city streets then the Polo will do a better job in serving you. If it was up to me personally I would give the round to the Polo as I prefer a faster more engaging drive but being a fair person (smiles to self) I have to call this round a tie as well as each car has its own benefits.
Normally comparing two cars is not too difficult as there are a number of discerning differences, but this was a tough comparison as both vehicles roll off the same line and are essentially built similar. There are still differences though in their styling, suspension tuning, interior setup and materials and as well as with their positioning. On the international stage Volkswagen is a premium brand in the Volkswagen group’s range of vehicles while Skoda is considered a more budget brand.
The viewpoint of the Skoda in India is different though which makes it harder for the Polo to trounce the Fabia. Skoda has managed to achieve premium status in the Indian automotive market as a brand as a result of is Octavia and Laura vehicles more so for the quality of their diesel engines. With Volkswagen’s entry into this big Asian market, Skoda has had to relinquish its image as a premium player and move into a more value-conscious type of brand. This can only benefit the car manufacturer as well as the Indian buyer.
The Fabia starts out from a price of Rs. 5.41 lakhs for its base model the Fabia Classic 1.2 TDi although the fact that all Skoda’s come with driver side airbag as standard and mandatory, ensure that the cost of the base model of the Polo, its Trendline trim, is comparable at 5.42 lakhs. Top of the line models have a slightly bigger difference with the Polo Highline starting at 6.82 lakhs compared with the Fabia Elegance which retails for 6.69 lakhs. The prices are ex-Delhi and will vary depending on location in India. Making a choice based on the prices of the vehicle is quite out of the question given their miniscule differences but there has to be a winner. My pick would still be the Volkswagen Polo as it has the better build quality, better styling, better handling and driving dynamics and the added value of a better, bigger brand. It is more of a case of the Polo telling the Fabia ‘Do not teach grandmother to suck eggs’ and putting the Skoda in its place.
Skoda Fabia – 3.5 Stars
Volkswagen Polo – 4 stars
Comparison OF Volkswagen Polo Highline and Skoda Fabia Elegance Specifications
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