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Volkswagen Polo GTi vs. Skoda Fabia vRS

Volkswagen Polo GTI

Volkswagen Polo GTI 1.4 TSI DSG 

- £20,050

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.

Skoda Fabia vRS

Skoda Fabia vRS 1.4 TSI DSG 

- £17,145

I completely disagree with your closing paragraph. The Skoda Fabia vRS has the Polo GTI beaten and it did when it was launched. Why? Because it's £2,905 cheaper, and whilst Polo GTI drivers admire their aluminium inserts and tartan seats the vRS driver will be withdrawing a heap of cash and then remap his car, get a Miltek and then go on holiday to Florida.

Price is the aim of the game with Skoda and for years now they have offered Volkswagen and Audi quality for a considerably lower price tag. Skoda also have a much higher customer satisfaction rate than any other Volkswagen Audi Group brand, and a much higher reliability score too. The smart man buys a Skoda and the badge snob buys the VW.

As pointed out above, the Skoda Fabia vRS shares the same set up as the Polo GTI which means it has a 1.4-litre TSI engine that produces 178 horsepower and 184 lb /ft of torque paired to a 7 speed DSG transmission. That makes this the fastest ever Skoda Fabia vRS out of the factory, and out on the road every single one of those horses is extracted and sent through to the front wheels perfectly. It's no A45 AMG, but the vRS stands up for itself on the motorway and on a B road it'll be hard to catch.

Inside things are very nice. You get a soft touch rubber dashboard, leather steering wheel and supportive seats. It's hum drum in design compared to the VW, but the Fabia is well put together and you get a sense that it wasn't built in a shed. If I had one complaint it would be the standard seats, which have green piping and a double diamond pattern. That's an improvement on the last car with hideous cream and black seats, but it's still ugly.

Out on the road the Fabia vRS is comfortable and composed. Show it a twisty corner and it'll fly round with ease and show it a motorway it'll put itself in to 7th gear and cruise along nicely. With 0 - 60 coming up in 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 139 mph the vRS like the Polo GTI is brisk rather than fast. It's not the most involving car due to the DSG gearbox but it's certainly rewarding, with lots of grip thanks to the XDS electronic differential system.

If I said to you give me just under £21k and I'll give you a VW with 178 horsepower and 184 lb /ft of torque, or give me just over £17k and I'll give you a Skoda with 178 horsepower and 184 lb /ft of torque, which one would you go for? I'd pick the Skoda, every time, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the majority of buyers under the age of 30 would pick the VW. Does the GTI offer a more compelling all round package? No, I just think it offers more bar room bragging rights.

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