Skoda Fabia review - Interior, design and technology
Plain interior design is nevertheless well built and includes some standout technology
The latest Fabia sports a sharper-edged design than its predecessor, more in keeping with the Mk1. The large Octavia-style chrome grille is distinctive and the deep, crisp side featureline is smart. We also like the ‘kick’ at the base of the rear side window, a feature seen on other Skodas. The changes to the design in 2018 are subtle to even the keenest Fabia fan: the front grille became wider, the lights slimmer, and the back bumper features some extra reflectors.
Inside, the dashboard design changed little in the 2018 round of updates. A couple of new interior trims and colours were added, the dials feature revised graphics, while those sat in the back benefit from a couple of extra USB ports. The desin itself is a little bland: Skoda chooses to focus on simple, user-friendly designs, so swoopy style is substituted for plain layout and coherency. Straightforward heater controls and big, chunky switchgear familiar from other Volkswagen Group models ensures it’s fuss-free to use, if not as interesting as some rivals. It’s well built but the solid, sturdy plastics aren’t as rich as in a Polo.
Neat features such as a rear courtesy light and front reading lights are standard on all. SE models have a standard speed limiter; another convenience feature is standard rear parking sensors.
The SE L ups the technology count further still with LED running lights, climate control air con, cruise control, KESSY GO keyless start and an auto-dip rear view mirror.
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In Monte Carlo trim, the Skoda gets some sporty styling additions, including black 16-inch alloys (although 17-inch wheels are an option costing about £350), while inside there are some more supportive sports seats and a panoramic roof. From 2018 onwards, the top spec car gained LED brake lights (they're optional on other Fabias) and both 18-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights became optional extras.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
From 2018 onwards, the S gained a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen. Bluetooth and a digital radio are included, and although the S lacks a built-in navigation system, it gets both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Every other model in the range gets satellite navigation on a system, which adds useful features like a visual representation of the car to help when parking, and efficiency displays.
The system itself is very straightfoward to use. The home page presents eight shortcut tiles to the main functions, and physical shortcut buttons surround the screen so it's always simple to navigate sub menus. Navigating the road itself is made easy by the slick navigation system, which offers the driver the choice between the fastest, shortest and most fuel-efficient options. The graphics are clear and bright, too, and loading times are more than good enough.
SE cars and above also have an upgraded six-speaker surround sound system from Arkamys. For about £30 you can add voice control to make using the system on the move easier, too, while the £100 SmartGate option sends driving data such as speed and efficiency to an app on the user’s smartphone.
In this review
- 1Skoda Fabia reviewIt might be showing its age ever so slightly, but the comfortable, practical Fabia remains hard to fault
- 2Engines, performance and driveNon-turbo entry-level engines can struggle, but the 1.0 TSI petrol is surprisingly strong
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsVery fuel-efficient range of engines ensure CO2 is competitive and running costs are low
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingPlain interior design is nevertheless well built and includes some standout technology
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceVery roomy and practical, the comfortable Fabia also boasts one of the biggest boots in the supermini sector
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe previous Fabia had a middling reputation for reliability but the latest one should be much better – it’s safer too