Dad dot info
DAD.info form. Ask questions, get answers

DRIVEN: Skoda Fabia

The Skoda Fabia has grown up, but so have the prices. Is it still a bargain buy in a busy market?

Skoda's Fabia is a grown-up supermini.

What is it?

Skoda Fabia SE L 1.2 TSI 90PS
Price£14,240
Top speed113 mph
0-62 mph10.9 seconds
Combined fuel economy60.1 mpg
CO2 emissions107 g/km
VED bandB / £20
Insurance group8E
Engine1.2-litre petrol
Power90 PS (89 bhp)
Torque160 Nm (ft-lb)

It’s the third generation of Skoda’s ever-popular small hatchback, hoping to win sales in an overcrowded sector that includes rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo, Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta. That means it’s got to be better than just ok, otherwise it’ll get lost in a sea of similar cars.

The new Fabia retains the good levels of space and practicality of the outgoing model, and adds a whole heap of new equipment, but gone is the distinctive styling and up have gone the prices.

Prices now start at £10,600 for the entry-level 1.0-litre S, with its efficient three-cylinder engine, and rising to £17,240 for a top-spec 1.4-litre diesel with an automatic gearbox. Right in the middle is a sweet spot, the 1.2 petrol in SE spec at £13,390, but I’ve got the keys to a model with a few extra toys.

Shorter and lower than the old model, the new Fabia is still bigger inside.

What’s it like?

Step up to the Fabia and you can’t help but be taken by its really quite grown up styling. It may not be quite as funky as the old model, but it’s styled sharply and looks as though it would be as happy wearing a Volkswagen or even Audi badge.

Move inside and you’ll find an exceptionally clear dashboard, although it lacks some of the soft-touch plastics of its rivals, instead feeling a bit scratchy in places. Still, the equipment on offer will keep you distracted, with every model getting six airbags, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth and USB sockets, while only the base model misses out on air-conditioning, parking sensors and city emergency braking.

If you’re off the brakes and on the throttle, the 1.2-litre engine performs reasonably well. With 90PS to play with, it won’t set any performance records. Sixty comes up in 10.9 seconds, and it copes with motorway speeds reasonably well, but steeper hills will need a change of gear.

Find some twisty roads and the light steering reveals that there’s very little feel, making it a little difficult to place accurately, but the body is controlled well with little. It’s competent enough, but not very interesting.

Ride quality remains good at all times though, allowing you to relax a little, something that is particularly important when you hit urban areas. This reveals the Fabia’s natural habitat, where the large windows, easy steering, peppy engine and slick gear change all combine to make city driving a piece of cake.

A large boot makes the Fabia a practical proposition.

Is it practical?

While the Fabia is marginally smaller than its predecessor (it’s less than 1cm shorter and sports a lower roofline) Skoda has managed, much like the TARDIS, to make it bigger on the inside.

There’s a good deal of space for adults up front, with a front armrest helping keep driver and passenger separated. In the rear there is plenty of headroom for all but the very tallest of people, while legroom is perfectly acceptable and two Isofix points make light work of putting in a child seat. Elbow room has, according to Skoda, increased by 2mm too. You can judge that one.

Boot space is roomy 330 litres, extending to 1,150 litres with the seats down, more than you’ll find in the Fiesta or Corsa. Spend £100 on the optional spare wheel though and you’ll lose some storage space.

The interior is smart and stylish, but the Fabia lacks some quality plastics.

Should I buy one?

The new Fabia is a large step forward from the old model, brining more style and more space to the car while reducing emissions and improving fuel economy. It feels incredibly grown up too, something that will appeal to many.

While prices have crept up, they still undercut those of its rivals, so it’s still offering plenty of value for money.

With all that’s going for it, and very little going against it, the Skoda Fabia would make an ideal small family car for many. Don’t hesitate.

No badge snob; the new Skoda Fabia is an excellent small family hatchback.

Related entries

Driving lessons for teenagers – How to book

Driving lessons for teenagers – How to book

It doesn't feel like a moment since I was teaching them to ride a bike and now I'm meant to trust my kid behind the wheel of a car! But where to start - should I just jump in the car with them? What options are there for driving lessons for teenagers? Young Driver...

FIRST DRIVE: Honda CR-V Hybrid

FIRST DRIVE: Honda CR-V Hybrid

Standfirst There’s been a lot of diesel difficulties over recent months, and that’s had quite an impact on Honda’s CR-V range. While the petrol engines remain, downsized to 1.5-litres, the diesel versions have been dropped entirely and replaced with a petrol-electric...

FIRST DRIVE: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

FIRST DRIVE: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Refreshed for 2019, Phil Huff finds out if the hybrid-powered Outlander is still the green SUV of choice... Who’d have thought that the best-selling plug-in hybrid car would be a sizeable SUV? Mitsubishi understood the market when the Outlander first appeared in...

Latest entries

The Best Family Walks in Britain

The Best Family Walks in Britain

We could all do with exercise, fresh air and some lovely low-cost days out, not to mention some beautiful scenery. Charles Clinkard have put together a list of the 40 greatest walks for families in Britain, taking into account a number of helpful amenities such as...

How To Keep Your Child Safe Online

How To Keep Your Child Safe Online

As a parent of a 10 year old who is rapidly approaching the age where he will be getting his own phone, I’m concerned about ensuring he isn’t exposed to a cavalcade of disturbing things online. I’m worrying about bullying, about him being contacted or making friends...

21 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

21 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

The Olympics have started! Despite a lack of fans (crowd noise will be piped into the stadiums instead) the event is still as important as ever and makes for great summer viewing. So at Dad.Info we have rounded up 21 interesting facts about Japan to both liberally...

Pin It on Pinterest