The older Audi's are, and always will be automotive heaven! The gruff growl of a 5 cylinder in a Ur, S2 or even a CQ20V is music to the years. However, time marches on and parts for older models become like gold dust. Audi often wheel out the Ur at a new model launch but and shout about their heritage. However, they are not as quick to support the older models with many essential parts being obsolete. The Ur will most likely live on due to it's iconic status and dedication of owners, clubs and after market manufactureres. However, for the lesser quattros, the future isn't as bright.

This, and simple economics, has lead me to move away from the 4 rings to one of their "lesser" relatives.  As family cars, we've had several Skoda Octavias and they have all been 100% reliable, solidly built cars based on tried and tested technology. My search for an Audi replacement lead me to look at other members of the Skoda family. The Octavia VRS is an nice car but we already had an Octavia (albeit not a VRS) and the Fabia VRS has always inteigued me. A diesel hot hatch with good if not outstanding performance and very good economy was of interest. The lack of 4WD was a disappointment but I'd had non-quattro's before and it would not sound as sporty as a 5 pot of course. The main issue being I'd never driven one.

A search of the local ads showed one for sale locally. A short phone call later and test drive was arranged. The car in question wasn't a good example, 20k mile gap in it's service history, a noisy turbo and suspension misalignment meant this wasn't the one for me but I was impressed by it's performance. Diesel's are more about torque than power and this little hatchback has almost as much as my old S2!

The search also showed two further examples locally. One was sold before I got there but the other was most interesting. The last 1000 VRS' were given a unique paint colour (Race Blue), leather custom interior with the edition number and all the toys. This one was a private sale but a full Skoda service history with a fanatical record of the work done helped. 81k miles did not bother me as Audi group diesels are known for their ability to do starship mileages if looked after and this one clearly had. A test drive and chat and the deal was done!

With the absence of 4WD, I purchased a spare set of alloys and shod them with Goodyear Ultra winter tyres. This turned out to be a good move as the first winter with the car was the worst for many years. Heavy prolongued snow caused chaos but the Fabia with it's winter boots did exceptioanlly well. It never got stuck or out of control and ferries my family and I around securely during this time. It was an impressive start.

Two years on and I can honestly say I am still enjoying this car. It's performance is more than adequate and the economy is excellent. A recent family trip of considerable distance, four up with luggage returned an average of 66 mpg! Local mileage is routinely over 50mpg which in this day and age is pleasing on the pocket. The custom recaro made seats are comfortable and luxuries like Aircon and cruise control make journeys pleasant and relaxing. The handling is on the comfortable side of firm but road holding is superb. Some of this being due to the Bridgestone Turanza tyres used in the summer months and the Goodyear Ultras used in colder months. This really is a fun yet practical car.

Apart from a service, I changed the rear discs and pads as these were getting a little low and an unsettled idle was identified as a throttle pedal module fault so that was changed (not an unknown issue it seemed). A leaking rear door seal was replaced under warranty with all 4 doors being done to be sure.

I have continued the trend of dealer servicing and 100,000 miles is almost upon me. The Fabia is almost close to being an ideal car with it's performance, economy and practicality. My only wish would be for it to be 4WD too. That would make it incredible!