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In-depth reviews

Skoda Fabia review: a sensible supermini with a big boot

If you’re after an affordable supermini with plenty of space, comfort and on-board technology, then the Skoda Fabia won’t disappoint

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£19,700 to £25,600
  • Interior space
  • Decent on-board tech
  • Comfortable
  • No hybrid model
  • Road noise at higher speed
  • Not particularly fun to drive
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The Czech car brand hasn’t lost sight of what has made its Skoda Fabia supermini so successful after more than 20 years in production. More practical than ever, with greater passenger space and modern onboard tech, the Fabia has fine-tuned what was already a pretty compelling package into one of the best superminis you can buy.

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Throw in the fourth-generation Fabia’s sharper styling, reassuring levels of safety kit and some keen pricing, which undercuts its Volkswagen Polo sibling, and buyers might find it hard to resist the appeal of Skoda’s latest supermini.

About the Skoda Fabia

It’s fair to say that today’s superminis are not the compact runabouts they once were. Always a popular choice for its mix of affordability, practicality, and ease of use, the humble small hatch has faced a new era of safety regulation, combined with buyers demanding improved quality, extra space, and greater comfort. All of this has led to more sizable models being designed and brought to market.

The breadth of skills offered by established supermini rivals such as the Renault Clio and Vauxhall Corsa means the gap between this segment and traditional family hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus and VW Golf is closer than ever. With extra competition from its SEAT Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo stablemates and the likes of the Hyundai i20Mazda 2Peugeot 208 and Toyota Yaris offering strong appeal, Skoda’s fourth-generation Fabia certainly has its work cut out. 

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Lucky, then, that this five-door supermini benefits from using the same MQB-A0 platform as its Polo and Ibiza cousins. This architecture also underpins Skoda’s Scala family car and Kamiq small SUV, and its lightness helps to keep the Fabia’s weight roughly the same as its predecessor’s. A more impressive feat when considering the new car is 111mm longer and almost 48mm wider.

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As a testament of how competent the Fabia is, it came out on top in our twin test review against the VW Polo; we saw the Fabia as being ‘virtually impossible to overlook”, and it was only pipped to the post by the Renault Clio in a subsequent triple test that also featured the Honda Jazz because the Renault had a more competitive finance deal.

Under the skin, Skoda has kept things pretty simple in terms of engine options. The entry-level 79bhp MPI unit helps keep insurance affordable, but we’d recommend either the  94bhp or 114bhp 1.0-litre TSI turbocharged engine options, which offer more punch. A 148bhp 1.5-litre TSI petrol sits at the top of the range in the most expensive Monte Carlo trim.

The entry-level 79bhp 1.0-litre and 94bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre uses a five-speed manual gearbox, while the more powerful 114bhp model has a six-speed manual as standard, or the option of a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. The 148bhp model only comes with the DSG auto.

There are four trim levels: SE Comfort, SE L, Colour Edition, and Monte Carlo. The standard kit across the Fabia range is pretty generous, with 15-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, rear parking sensors, air conditioning, a DAB radio, and plenty of safety tech.

The Fabia SE Comfort model is priced at around £20,000, which means it’s competitive with many of its close rivals, while most mid-spec cars come in between £20,000 and £22,000. The sweet spot in the range is arguably the 114bhp six-speed manual version in either SE Comfort or Colour Edition trim, although we can see the appeal of SE L trim if you feel you need the extra tech features that come with the SE L, such as integrated sat-nav, cruise control and a bigger infotainment touchscreen.

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