The Fabia corners nicely, being decent over big bumps and only a little fidgety at low speeds. Its cornering is a little soft, but the seats hold you in place exactly as they’re supposed to.
That rolliness is where the hot hatch stripes begin to peel away, though. The 1.0 TSI is a torquey little wasp, and under quicker acceleration, the Fabia’s body takes a nanosecond to catch up with the wheels, so you bob your head up the gears. That's the opposite of what a hot hatch should do, so it kills the illusion pretty quickly.
The Redline isn't a hot hatch, though, and driven more smoothly, it's as comfortable and refined as the Fabia with the old 1.2 TSI powerplant and even quieter under most circumstances. There’s the added bonus of a few extra miles per gallon, too, although most drivers will get a few less than Skoda’s official claim of 64.2mpg.
Inside, it’s almost exactly the same as the SE, even down to annoyingly stingy details such as the lack of one-touch electric front windows (even a mid-spec Dacia Sandero gets those), although the multi-function steering wheel is a new addition.
Should I buy one?
If you’re after a Skoda hot hatch, you’ll be disappointed. If you’re after a comfortable small hatchback that can be called upon to muster up some zip, you’ll be pleased.
The Redline isn't a cheap option, at £15,995, but it makes more power than the similarly-priced Ford Fiesta Zetec. You’ll get more kit with the Fiesta but residual values won’t be as robust.
With a facelifted Fabia on the way at the end of the year, stiffened suspension on models such as this would improve the overall package. For now, though, the Redline is as hot as it gets.
Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI 110 Redline
Where Hampshire On sale Now Price £15,995 Engine 3cyls, 999cc, turbocharged petrol Power 109bhp at 5000rpm Torque 148lb ft at 2000rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual Kerb weight 1055kg Top speed 122mph 0-62mph 9.5sec Fuel economy 64.2mpg CO2 103g/km Rivals Ford Fiesta, Seat Ibiza