Skoda Fabia Scout (2010-2014) review
The Skoda Fabia Scout adds rugged body panels to the standard supermini estate, giving it the look of a 4x4
Supermini estates usually sacrifice style for practicality, but the Skoda Fabia Scout is a much more visually appealing choice than its Renault Clio Sport Tourer, Peugeot 207 SW and SEAT Ibiza ST rivals. This is because Skoda has fitted it with chunky plastic cladding, so it resembles a rugged 4x4. It’s all for show, because the Scout is strictly front-wheel drive, and feels exactly the same as the regular Skoda estate on the road. The cabin is also standard Fabia fare, which means solid construction and a practical layout, while the 505-litre boot can be expanded to 1,485 litres if you fold the rear seats – much more than its rivals offer.
Engines, performance and drive
Buyers can choose from a 1.2-litre petrol engine or three versions of Skoda’s 1.6-litre common-rail diesel in the Fabia Scout. The TDI models promise identical efficiency, but the 74bhp version feels underpowered, and takes a glacial 14.8 seconds to cover 0-62mph. So don’t discount the punchy 1.2 TSI turbo petrol model. Driving thrills are in short supply whatever the engine, though, as the Fabia’s tall body rolls excessively in corners. The gearshift could be more precise, too. But the soft suspension provides a composed ride – certainly better than the firmly sprung SEAT Ibiza ST – and the widely adjustable driving position makes it easy to get comfortable. Just don’t take this car off-road, as its 4x4 pretensions are strictly cosmetic.
MPG, CO2 and Running Costs
The Fabia Scout costs more to buy than regular versions of the Skoda supermini estate, but it does come generously equipped as standard, with cruise control, MP3 connectivity and electric windows all round. Plus, the car is likely to hold on to its value much better than rivals like the Peugeot 207 SW, Renault Clio Sport Tourer and SEAT Ibiza ST. CO2 emissions are impressively low on all models – at 109g/km for the three diesels and 121g/km for the turbocharged petrol version – which means competitive road tax and company car tax bills, while fuel economy should also be impressive.
Interior, design and technology
The 4x4-style body protection, silver roof rails and unique alloy wheels give the Skoda Fabia Scout a welcome boost in style. Like most supermini estates, it’s still not the most attractive choice – the regular car’s dumpy dimensions remain – but the additions do a good job of hiding them, and provide the car with a chunky, rugged look that will appeal to many buyers. The design of the cabin isn’t as modern as newer rivals’ like the Clio Sport Tourer and Ibiza ST, yet everything feels very well put together, as you expect from a Skoda, and Scout spec brings sporty touches like stainless steel pedals and a three-spoke leather steering wheel.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
People buy supermini estates like the Fabia Scout for their practicality and versatility, and the car doesn’t disappoint. Its 505-litre boot is one of the biggest in the class, and if you fold the rear seats the capacity increases to a massive 1,485 litres. The Ibiza ST, Clio Sport Tourer and 207 SW simply can’t compete with that. Skoda has also fitted a host of neat features to make the load area even more usable, including hooks to hold shopping bags in place, a retractable load cover and a separate 12-volt socket. The Fabia Scout provides impressive leg and headroom for rear passengers, too. It’s just a shame rear parking sensors are an optional extra.
Reliability and Safety
Skoda has a reputation for strong reliability, and the Fabia Scout is likely to uphold that. Although the chunky estate hasn’t featured in our Driver Power satisfaction survey in its own right, the standard Fabia has impressed over the years. And you only have to look at how the company’s other cars – like the Octavia, Superb and Yeti – have dominated our surveys to see that Skodas are great to own. The estate hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP, either, but the hatchback scored four stars for occupant protection, and stability control is standard on all versions of the Scout.