Volkswagen Polo GTI 1.4 TSI DSG
The Volkswagen Polo GTI and the Skoda Fabia vRS are pretty much the same car. They share the exact same engine, the exact same 7 speed DSG transmission, and both will hurl you down the road at a respectable pace. If you're a keen driver, though, the VW GTI is the car for you.
Based on the newer MQB Platform versus the Skoda's PQ24 platform, the GTI is an eager car that wants to be taken by the scruff of the neck and driven hard down B roads. The 1.4-litre turbocharged and supercharged engine produces 178 horsepower and 184 lb /ft of torque. Those numbers may not thrill you now, but the way the 1.4 TSI delivers its power ensures that no matter what gear you are in you have plenty of pull. That's because maximum torque is available from 2000 rpm and maximum power is available from 6200 rpm. Whereas this car does love to be revved, it is also an able cruiser and you can drive it like a diesel should you want.
Then there's the DSG gearbox. You'll either love it or hate it, but whatever the case, it can change gear faster than you and is excellent offering perky performance whilst driving hard and refinement on the motorway. The Polo GTI is not available as a manual, much like many hot hatches now (heck, even the new Clio RS has an automatic), and that's due to VW seeking better c02 scores.
Inside the cabin things are an extremely high quality. The whole dash is soft touch rubber, the seats are very supportive, the centre console is surrounded by aluminium and the gear knob and steering wheel are wrapped in leather. There are a few scratchy plastics, such as on the top of doors, but other than that the Polo GTI is a great place to be and in many ways it feels just like a Golf only a little bit smaller.
Volkswagens aim for quality is what sets it apart from the Skoda vRS. Everything I said above about the Polo GTI performance wise can be said for the Fabia vRS as it's got the exact same set up. It's inside and whilst driving that you see just why the Polo is over £2k more expensive; the design is fresher, there's more soft touch rubber, and out on the motorway on a 100 mile journey you notice these things.
The Skoda Fabia vRS then is for keen drivers who are after everything a VW Polo GTI offers minus prestige. The Polo is a nicer place to be and it'll hold its value better in depreciation. Whether or not that'll make up for the £2k more expensive price tag remains to be seen, however. For an all round package the Polo GTI is a mini hot hatch that's hard to beat.