The Fabia, from VW Audi Group’s Skoda stables, has officially been launched in Australia. One of the small car staples on European roads, the launch of the Fabia further extends the brand’s reach down under. Joining the Octavia and Superb, both highly regarded, the Fabia will sport a 1.2 litre TSI engine in the two launch models, the 77TSI and Monte Carlo variation. Those will be joined by a variety of other Fabias in 2012 – including the hotly anticipated Fabia RS.

If you’re put off by the Skoda badge, don’t be. The once awfully unreliable marque is now all Volkswagen style. Like the Octavia, which shares more than just a few parts with its VW cousin, the Golf, the Fabia is closely related to the Polo, just a few hundred dollars cheaper. Like the Polo, its style is more masculine than what we usually see in a small car. It certainly won’t get you one over your Falcon XR6 owning mate, but it will add a bit of European flare, comfort and build quality to your garage. With a generous 315 litre luggage capacity as well, it’s a pretty flexible small car.

But why would you buy a Fabia over, say a Mini, Fiat 500by Diesel or VW Polo – all of which most males would be comfortable owning, especially city dwellers. It’s solid as a rock, can be optioned with the impressive DSG gearbox, can virtually be driven on fumes, comes in a massive range of colours that includes dual tone options and has a rather unique look to it while not being overly ugly. With a pretty standard 77KW, it’s not going to win any traffic light dashes… or any races for that matter, but you know that from the start. Get your bum in the RS version next year though and the result will be very different.

While the pricing, at $22,250 drive away for the base 77TSI model, doesn’t massively undercut the Polo, you still save a bit knowing you’re in the same quality car. But really, if you buy a Fabia, you’re not buying one to save money against a Polo, you’re buying one to be a bit unique and to get in early on a brand that is sure to do big things in the future, so long as people take the time to pay attention to all the good reviews and discover what a Skoda really is.

Price: From $22,250 drive away
Web: Skoda