Skoda Fabia 2007 review

Skoda bucks the current trend and drops a big diesel into its Fabia supermini

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

While this latest top-spec diesel Fabia is impressive, it isn’t the standout in the range. We have no problem with its performance or the way it drives, but at £13,015, the Czech supermini is beginning to look expensive. Admittedly, the flagship oil-burner does deliver cracking pace, and the whole package feels very well put together. However, this Fabia 3 costs more than £5,000 over the entry-level 1.2-litre diesel.

Small cars with tiny diesel engines are the height of fashion, but that hasn’t stopped Skoda from dropping a 1.9-litre TDI into the all-new Fabia.

We’ve already tested the supermini in entry-level oil-burner guise, where its 1.2-litre three-cylinder unit turned out to be a five-star performer (New Cars, Issue 957). But can the flagship model repeat the trick?

Visually, there’s little to set it apart from lesser variants, so the smart Roomster-style nose and distinctive grille remain in place. The range- topping Fabia 3 spec of our test car also brings smart 16-inch alloys, front foglamps and body-coloured door mirrors and handles.

Inside, the solidly constructed and neatly styled cabin features soft-touch plastics and a raft of luxury kit. For instance, there’s climate and cruise control, plus a CD player with MP3 and auxiliary inputs. Meanwhile, front, side and curtain airbags boost safety, but stability control is a £340 option.

Start the big diesel engine, and there’s no doubt about which pump you need to stop at when it’s time to refill. The gruff powerplant is noisy, especially under load, but it does deliver lots of power.

The 105bhp unit also packs plenty of torque, and with 240Nm available from only 1,800rpm, in-gear acceleration is impressive. It pulls strongly across the rev range, and the 0-62mph sprint takes only 10.8 seconds – a massive 5.7 seconds faster than the 1.2-litre diesel. As with its smaller-engined sibling, the 1.9 TDI doesn’t deliver the sparkling dynamic experience of the class-leaders. But its smooth ride, light controls and precise steering make for an effortless drive.

Buyers can also rely on excellent visibility and a comfortable driving position. However, look behind the leather-wrapped steering wheel, and the speedo and rev counter are confusingly similar in appearance. Further back, the rear seats are spacious, and there’s a roomy 300-litre boot, too.

Running costs are low, thanks to an insurance group rating of 4E and a combined fuel economy of 57.6mpg. What’s more, a CO2 emissions figure of 129g/km places this Fabia in Band C, so taxing the car for 12 months will set you back only £115.

However, while the Fabia 1.9 TDI shouldn’t cost a fortune to run, it doesn’t come cheap – the £13,015 price tag is hefty. It’s competitive compared to its rivals, but the less-powerful 80bhp 1.4 TDI sits in a lower band for both insurance and road tax, and in Fabia 3 trim, costs £12,335.

Alternatively, if you must have the performance of the larger diesel engine and can live without luxuries such as the rear parking sensors, ‘Climatronic’ air-conditioning and cruise control, the lower-spec Fabia 2 version is priced much more reasonably, at £11,855.

The latest powerplant to join the Fabia range is a welcome addition to the line-up, but we think the lower-spec models represent the best value.

RIVAL: VAUXHALL CORSA The range-topping Corsa 1.7 CDTI Design weighs in at £14,020. However, you do get a grown- up supermini with a spacious cabin for your money.

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