Skoda Fabia vs VW Polo & Vauxhall Corsa
Is Skoda’s new Fabia a contender in the fiercely contested supermini class?
It’s judgement day for the third-generation Skoda Fabia. The all-new model promises more space than ever, greater efficiency and sharp looks, which are designed to come together and make the car a front-runner in the supermini class.
However, this sector is home to some of the most talented new models on the market, and the Fabia will need to be really special to make an impact. For this first test, we’ve lined up two petrol-powered contenders that will put the car through its paces.
First up is the Volkswagen Polo. It’s powered by the same 1.2 TSI petrol engine as the Skoda, but it sets the benchmark for refinement and quality in the supermini sector, and it’s pretty fun to drive, too.
Our second rival is the heavily revised Vauxhall Corsa, which now combines great value and modern technology with a good-quality finish and decent space.
So how will the new Fabia fare? Can it topple its VW Group cousin? And does it offer a better mix of talents than the Corsa?
More reviews for Fabia
Car group tests
Used car tests
Click the links above to read full individual reviews, and scroll down to find out which car comes out on top in this supermini shoot-out...
All three contenders are roomy for superminis. However, the new Fabia takes some beating for boot space. With the seats in place it’ll hold 330 litres, and when you fold them this grows to 1,150 litres.
The Polo trails, on 952 litres, but the standard false boot floor creates a flat load area. While the Corsa falls between its rivals for carrying capacity, it has more rear legroom due its longer wheelbase.
Vauxhall’s IntelliLink system lets you download various apps, like the BringGo nav. But the infotainment touchscreen isn’t as easy to use as the set-up in the Fabia and Polo. The Skoda gets MirrorLink as standard (it’s £160 extra in the VW), so you can beam your smartphone screen on to its display to use apps like the performance monitor.
In the small car market, safety is crucial. The Polo and Fabia feature low-speed collision avoidance as standard, while the VW has a driver fatigue monitor, and adaptive cruise is £500 extra. Corsa buyers can get lane departure, forward collision alert and traffic sign recognition as part of the £1,300 Technical Pack.
1st place: Volkswagen Polo
Another road test win for the Polo, but it’s a photo finish. As ever, the car’s class shines through – no other supermini delivers the same blend of refinement, comfort, quality and low running costs. The VW is also good to drive and offers plenty of big car kit. Yes, it’s a little bit pricier to buy than the new Fabia, but it feels far more upmarket and desirable while still being practical and cheap to run.
2nd place: Skoda Fabia
The Fabia misses out on victory by a narrow margin. Sharper looks, a more composed driving experience and excellent practicality are highlights, as is the top-value price. We also love the eager 1.2-litre petrol engine and low running costs. Yet as with the bigger Octavia, it feels as if Skoda’s pegged back its car so it doesn’t drive over the toes of models from parent firm VW.
3rd place: Vauxhall Corsa
Vauxhall has worked wonders with the Corsa, transforming it from an also ran to a class contender. The new three-cylinder turbo is a strong performer, refinement is excellent and it’s now good to drive. It’s also roomy, well equipped and comfortable. Yet in the face of such stiff competition, it’s hard to ignore this Excite model’s higher price tag and weak residuals.
Skoda Fabia vs VW Polo & Vauxhall Corsa: key specs
|VW Polo 1.2 TSI SE||Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI SE||Vauxhall Corsa 1.0T Excite|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£14,210/£15,665||£13,390/£13,390||£14,695/£15,240|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)||£6,934/48.8%||N/A||£5,746/39.1%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£400/£801||£373/£747||£468/£937|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,537/£2,561||£1,519/£2,532||£1,591/£2,652|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||15/£273/B/£20||10/TBC/B/£20||12/£243/C/£30|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£288 (2yrs)||£479 (3yrs/30k)||TBC|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,197cc||4cyl in-line/1,197cc||3cyl in-line/988cc|
|Peak power||89/4,400 bhp/rpm||89/4,400 bhp/rpm||113/5,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque||160/1,400 Nm/rpm||160/1,400 Nm/rpm||170/1,800 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||5-spd man/fwd||5-spd man/fwd||6-spd man/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||45 litres/space saver||45 litres/foam||45 litres/foam|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||280/952 litres||330/1,150 litres||285/1,120 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||10.6 metres/N/A||9.8 metres/0.32Cd||10.6 metres/0.33Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (60,000)/1yr||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs||3yrs (60,000)/1yr|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||Variable (1yr)/223||10,000 miles (1yr)/135||20,000 (1yr)/404|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||19th/31st||1st/4th||29th/20th|
|0-60/30-70mph||9.9/10.2 secs||10.3/10.8 secs||10.4/9.6 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||5.0/7.2 secs||5.3/7.5 secs||4.8/6.2 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th||10.9 secs/N/A||11.6 secs/N/A||9.1/12.4 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||114mph/2,600rpm||113mph/2,500rpm||121mph/2,700rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||62/40/58/64dB||56/41/63/67dB||62/42/61/67dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||43.6/9.7/432 miles||44.1/9.8/437 miles||42.1/9.4/417 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||150/107g/km/14%||148/107g/km/14%||155/115g/km/16%|
|Automatic box/stability/cruise control||£1,375/yes/£400*||£1,650/yes/£180||No/yes/yes|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||£380/no/£360*||£300/no/£180||£395/no/yes|
|Met paint/xenon lights/keyless go||£540/£900^/no||£535/no/£320||£545/no/no|
|Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth||£700/yes/yes/yes||No/yes/yes/yes||£50 (app)/yes/yes/yes|