Skoda Fabia review
All-new Skoda Fabia is more practical than ever with more space, style and clever features. But it lacks traditional Skoda value
The Skoda Fabia has always had space and value high on its list of attractions and this latest Fabia offers even more space and practical features. However, prices have taken a hike, although they’re offset slightly by plenty of spec.
There’s a wide range of engines, comfort-orientated ride and excellent refinement. A super-frugal Fabia Greenline is on the way, plus a Fabia Monte Carlo with a dash of sporting style, if not the pace. Skoda says it has to maintain the distinction between it and VW and that’s apparent in the hard plastics inside – it looks smart enough, but there isn’t a soft-touch finish to be found anywhere.
Our choice: Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 90PS SE
Skoda’s design team has taken inspiration from the sharp-edged VisionC concept car so the new Fabia is far more dashing than the bloated previous model. It’s slightly lower and slightly shorter, but manages to squeeze even more room inside by pushing the wheels further apart.
The Fabia’s face follows the lead of the Skoda Rapid and Skoda Octavia with a large grille and sleek, nicely detailed lights. The rear lights show plenty of attention to detail, too, while a sharp shoulder line and softer indent at the bottom of the doors are more akin to the brilliant original model than the forgettable second generation.
For maximum mpg and sub-100g/km emissions, it has to be one of the 1.4-litre diesels. These offer decent performance, too, without being too growly. Petrol is likely to be a more popular choice, and we’d go for the 1.2 89bhp version – it’s smoother and rides really nicely.
The more powerful of the 1.0-litre three-cylinder engines from the Citigo will be okay if you don’t want to get anywhere in a hurry, but there’s a constant rhythmic drone when cruising and the ride just feels a little floaty. The Fabia is no sports car to drive, with body lean and inert steering, but on the plus side it is really easy to get about in with nicely weighted controls and good visibility.
Skoda is the most successful manufacturer ever in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey – owners love their cars and their dealers, which bodes well for anyone thinking of buying in to the brand.
This latest Fabia uses technology from the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform like the engines and electronic architecture. It’s already well proven and designed for simplicity and reliability. It also means the latest safety tech can be included, including autonomous emergency braking that’ll help to prevent low-speed nose-to-tail shunts and will bring your insurance costs down in the process.
You’ll struggle to find a more practical supermini – the new Fabia offers even more space than the old car, in spite of its smaller overall proportions. A boot of 330 litres, which can expand to 1,150 litres with the seats folded down, is way bigger than in a Ford Fiesta or a Vauxhall Corsa.
Rear legroom is good enough for a six-foot tall passenger to just about sit behind a six foot driver, there’s more than enough headroom and plenty of shoulder room, too – you might even squeeze three people in the back. There’s a big glovebox and door bins, plenty of space in the centre console and between driver and passenger, and even a handy pocket on the side of the passenger seat – clever thinking.
Every Fabia claims economy of over 50mpg, with the most popular 1.0 and 1.2 models claiming 51 and 54mpg respectively. If fuel economy is the most important thing for you, the Fabia Greenline claims an exceptional 91mpg and CO2 emissions of just 82g/km – that’s as low as it gets for a car without any form of hybrid system.
But while economy and emissions are impressive, the Fabia’s price has risen to sit alongside mainstream rivals. That is balanced with excellent spec levels, though. And Skoda’s reliability reputation and available service packs, should keep ongoing costs down, too.