Written by Demetrius Vouyiouklis
We own an 8-year old Skoda Fabia 1.4TDi with 108.5k miles on the clock. This car’s been pretty reliable and returns an average of 67mpg for our particular driving conditions. But, despite its reliability and frugal consumption, it may be time to change it due to its age, as from now on a lot of things could potentially go wrong, meaning it could easily become both uneconomical and unreliable in the near future.
As our current car has been pretty good until now, our first port of call was once again Skoda; its replacement appeared to be the new Fabia SE 1.6TDi. This appears to have the same average consumption as our current car (despite a bigger engine that’ll hopefully make it a bit more lively), air conditioning as standard and currently comes with zero VAT (valid until Dec 1012), meaning its on the road price is just under £11,000. Sounds pretty good.
But wait a minute, what about the recent Fabia GreenLine II, which has all sorts of energy recuperation gizmos, only emits 89 g/km CO2 and returns an average of 83.1 mpg? Its ‘more advanced 1.2 TDI common-rail injection engine’ helps it achieve an overall performance of 7.9 out of 10, but what about real driving conditions? The Fabia GreenLine’s driving performance seems to let the car down, as it’s ‘a somewhat frustrating experience’ and the real-life mpg do not seem to come anywhere near those advertised either, at least according to this survey. This car does not seem to justify the target price of £14,490.
Which got me thinking. Could it be possible that under the ‘eco’ label manufacturers score a double hit, by selling us an underpowered car at an inflated price? In return for this higher premium, we feel we’re helping create a greener planet, when in reality we’re getting less performance and derisory mpg!
Well, if so, this has got to be one of the best gimmicks around. Other reviews suggest that this behaviour’s not unique to a single manufacturer, e.g. the £11,895 Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi Ecodynamics will produce nothing like the average 88mpg promised, while the Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi EcoFlex Club is ‘slow and ponderous at £13,255′.
So, it sounds like a case of buyer beware, at least in the case of superminis. Possibly better to buy something with a bigger engine to achieve proper real-road conditions acceleration and sensible consumption, than being underpowered on the road in an overpriced eco car with dubious consumption? Sounds like the Fabia SE 1.6TDi for us then.
What’s your experience of eco cars?