When Mazda launched its now iconic MX5 the principle of “less can amount to more” was brought into play.
It was a back to basics ploy that put overblown technology on the back burner and made a virtue of simplicity.
They made it a fun car that was uncluttered, delightfully easy to drive and had the minimum of things to go wrong.
You sat behind the wheel, dabbed the accelerator and the car almost unfailingly went wherever you pointed it. You had to be a very poor driver to upset this pert little sportcar’s poise.
The same spirit prevails in the design of the latest Skoda Fabia vRS, a five-door hot hatch supermini.
It’s got all the kit you need but you don’t require an engineering degree or a mastery of electronic gadgetry to master how it all functions.
Also available in estate car form, this gem serves up all the award-winning features of lesser Fabias then adds to the mix a 1.4-litre TSI 180 bhp engine equipped with a supercharger and turbo to deliver a 0-62 mph time of just 7.3 seconds.
Seamlessly quick gear changes come from a seven-speed double clutch automatic gearbox, with manual over-ride via flappy paddles. No manual gearbox version is available but this one works so well, who cares?
Priced from £17,145, it offers the build quality of a far more expensive vehicle.
Black chrome grille surrounds, honeycomb air vents and LED daytime running lights all add distinctive design elements to the vRS. The option to specify the colour of the roof allows buyers to personalise the car to their own taste while the red brake callipers and twin chrome exhausts hint at the sporty performance the vRS delivers with such aplomb.
A dinky steering wheel and hip-hugging seats set the tone but this is something more than just a fun-time sporting vehicle. It’s great family transport too with ample room for five-up and a generous luggage space while those five wide-opening doors make access easy.
Sharp handling, comfort and sheer practicality make a formidable package at a great value price. Shame the interior styling is rather uninspired but with all that performance on hand, Fabia vRS drivers will have their eyes firmly fixed on the road ahead.