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Skoda Fabia Estate vs Nissan Note

Skoda’s new Fabia Estate meets Nissan’s Note in practical small car battle

A decade ago, most manufacturers had a supermini estate in their price lists, but in recent years these practical models have gradually been phased out in favour of more fashionable crossovers. However, Skoda has remained committed to the spacious small car concept, and has just pulled the wraps off its new Fabia Estate.

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Now in its third generation, the versatile supermini delivers a vast 530-litre load bay and a whole host of family friendly features. It also incorporates the same sharp styling cues as its hatchback cousins, plus it promises to be every bit as good to drive and cost effective to run. Prices start at £12,460, and here we test the 89bhp 1.4-litre TDI diesel in top-of-the-range £17,385 SE L guise.

So what other options are there if you want to maximise space and minimise running costs? With its blend of compact dimensions and MPV-inspired versatility, the Nissan Note has always stood out. Clever packaging means the British-built model can combine big saloon-rivalling rear legroom with more boot space than many family hatchbacks. And in £17,370 1.5 dCi Tekna trim, it’ll cost very little to run. So which of our contenders wins this space race?

Skoda Fabia Estate review

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Nissan Note review

Click on the links above to read each review, then read on for our verdict.


Space race

The Skoda looks to have a decisive advantage in this encounter. With the rear seats in place there’s a 530-litre load bay – that’s 119 litres more than in Nissan, even with its siding bench pushed far forward.

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However, fold the seats flat and the Note holds 1,495 litres, while the Fabia accommodates only 1,395 litres. Plus, the Nissan’s false floorcreates a flat load area (below); to get the same effect in the Fabia, you pay £110 for the variable boot floor.


All Fabias get a slick touchscreen infotainment system. However, there’s no sat-nav option; instead you use MirrorLink software to beam route-finding instructions and maps from your Android phone. The Note’s NissanConnect screen is smaller and looks dated, but does feature sat-nav as standard.


Skoda and Nissan have taken different approaches with their diesel engines. The Fabia’s 1.4-litre TDI features three cylinders and twin overhead camshafts, and meets Euro 6 emissions standards. The Note’s 1.5-litre four-cylinder from Renault features a single cam and only meets Euro 5 levels.


1st: Skoda Fabia Estate

If you’re looking for the greatest carrying capacity for your cash, then the Fabia Estate takes some beating. Its 530-litre boot shames models from the class above, plus it’s packed with neat storage solutions. The Skoda is also good to drive, while its no nonsense cabin is well equipped and feels a cut above the Nissan’s for quality. The three-cylinder diesel is noisy, but it’s a punchy performer and costs peanuts to run.

2nd: Nissan Note

If you frequently carry rear seat passengers, then the spacious Note deserves a second look. At the heart of the Nissan’s appeal is its brilliantly packaged interior that allows you to choose between extra legroom in the back or a bigger boot. There’s also plenty of standard kit. Unfortunately, the Note doesn’t feel as grown-up to drive as its rival – although its diesel engine is more refined.


 Skoda Fabia 1.4 TDI SE L EstateNissan Note 1.5 dCi Tekna
On-the-road price/total as tested£17,385/£18,780£17,370/£17,370
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£8,119/46.7%£7,886/45.4%
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£485/£971£485/£970
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,145/£1,908£937/£1,561
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost11/£314/A/£09/£288/A/£0
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£479 (3yrs/30k miles)£159/£249/£159
Engine3cyl in-line/1,422cc4cyl in-line/1,461cc
Peak power89/3,000 bhp/rpm89/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque230/1,750 Nm/rpm200/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission5-spd man/fwd5-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel45 litres/foam41 litres/foam
Boot capacity (seats up/down)530/1,395 litres325-411/1,495 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,105/530/1,100kg1,132/415/450kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient9.8 metres/0.31Cd10.7 metres/0.30Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealersVariable/13518,000 miles (1yr)/225
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.1st/4th22nd/25th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars81/81/69/69/5*86/82/58/70/4
0-60/30-70mph11.7/12.8 secs11.4/11.7 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th4.7/8.2 secs4.9/7.2 secs
50-70mph in 5th11.9 secs12.3 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph114mph/2,100rpm111mph/2,100rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph48.3/35.2/9.0m50.4/36.5/9.1m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph77/60/67/72dB77/55/54/74dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range56.4/12.5/558 miles68.9/15.3/621 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined70.6/91.1/83.1 mpg67.3/88.3/80.7mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined15.5/20.0/18.3mpl14.8/19.4/17.8mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket134/88g/km/14%110/90g/km/14%
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/noSix/yes/no/yes
Auto gearbox/stability/cruise control£1,000/yes/yesNo/no/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/no/£180Yes/part/no
Met paint/xenon lights/keyless entry£535/no/£160£500/no/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothNo/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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