Review

Skoda Fabia hatchback

Price  £10,750 - £18,025

Skoda Fabia hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Generous standard equipment
  • Very spacious for a supermini
  • Large, well-shaped boot
Cons
  • No longer as good value as it was
  • 1.0-litre engine not strong enough
  • Some rivals are better to drive

At a glance

The greenest
SE L 1.4 TDI 90PS 5dr £16,390
The cheapest
S 1.0 MPI 60PS 5dr £10,750
The fastest
SE L 1.2 TSI 110PS 5dr £15,040
Top of the range
Monte Carlo 1.4 TDI 105PS 5dr £18,025

“The Skoda Fabia is a competent, practical and spacious supermini that prioritises comfort over driver involvement.”

Since the first generation went on sale in 1999, the Skoda Fabia has been quietly carving out a niche for itself as a spacious, practical and comfortable supermini, and has attracted a loyal following as a result. While the Fabia doesn’t do anything spectacularly well, it's a nicely rounded car that's competent in every area.

While the Kia Rio has a longer warranty and the Ford Fiesta is better to drive, the Fabia's focus on day-to-day usability means it's an easy car to recommend – although if you want more style, a Renault Clio may suit you better, while the Audi A1 is a more desirable car.

Because Skoda has continued to improve its image over the years, the Fabia isn’t quite the bargain it once was. It's still competitively priced, though, and offers a decent amount of standard equipment, particularly if you avoid the entry-level S version. The Fabia also benefits from an excellent range of modern, efficient engines that also feature in the Volkswagen Polo and SEAT Ibiza – superminis you may also want to consider if you’re thinking of a Fabia. Skoda also makes the Fabia Estate, which we’ve reviewed separately.

If you mainly do short journeys or don’t cover a huge number of miles annually, we recommend a petrol-powered Fabia. While the 59 and 73bhp 1.0-litre engines are best avoided due to their relative lack of power, the turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol is much better, and can be ordered with either 89 or 108bhp.

The 89bhp model returns 60.1mpg and costs just £20 a year to tax thanks to its low CO2 emissions, while the 108bhp 1.2-litre petrol is only about £600 more than the 89bhp model. We recommend the more powerful petrol, as it costs the same to tax and still manages 58.9mpg, while its 0-62mph time of 9.4 seconds means it's considerably nippier than the less powerful option.

If you cover more than about 12,000 miles a year, a diesel Fabia makes more sense. The 1.4-litre diesel is available with either 89 or 104bhp, and again we’d recommend the more powerful model – although it's only available on the higher trim levels. Both diesels return 78.5mpg and are road-tax-exempt, thanks to their low CO2 emissions, while the 104bhp model is liable for just 17% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax – good news for company car drivers.

Aside from the limited-edition Colour model, the Fabia comes in four trim levels, starting with S and rising through SE, SE L and Monte Carlo. The entry-level S model has power-adjustable heated mirrors, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth phone connectivity. We recommend the SE model, as this adds an upgraded stereo, alloy wheels, air-conditioning and MirrorLink, which allows you to control your mobile phone's apps – including navigation – from the car's touchscreen.

SE L trim costs about £800 more than the SE, which seems quite a lot considering it only adds keyless ignition, cruise control and LED daytime running lights. The top-spec Monte Carlo edition comes with a panoramic roof and black alloy wheels, but we found its firm suspension makes the Fabia uncomfortable over poor road surfaces.

While the Fabia is too new a model to have featured in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, Skoda as a brand has an excellent reputation for reliability, with owners reporting their cars are reliable, cheap to run and easy to drive. The Fabia is also a very safe car, with all models getting a host of airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, two rear ISOFIX child-seat mounts and a tyre-pressure monitoring system. These safety features helped the Fabia score the full five stars in its Euro NCAP safety tests.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.2 / 5

Every Skoda Fabia model is cheap to run, with the diesel engines capable of almost 80mpg

Engines, drive & performance

3.4 / 5

The Skoda Fabia still trails the Ford Fiesta for outright driver enjoyment, but it feels stable at high speeds and quiet around town

Interior & comfort

3.6 / 5

There’s no denying this Skoda Fabia is a step up from its predecessor, but it lacks some of the soft-touch plastics seen in rivals

Practicality & boot space

4.4 / 5

The Skoda Fabia is an extremely practical supermini, offering more boot space than a Ford Focus

Reliability & safety

4.5 / 5

This Skoda Fabia should follow in the footsteps of the rest of the range, with top-notch owner satisfaction and a five-star safety rating

What the others say

4.4 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
"All-new Skoda Fabia cuts a dashing new look with sharper styling. It's more practical than ever, with more space and clever features."
8 / 10
"Highly commendable in nearly every way, but the lack of pizzazz means it's not our class leader."
5 / 5
"The Skoda Fabia is supremely spacious for a small car, plus it's well equipped, good to drive and undercuts its main rivals on price."
4.5 / 5
"Bigger, loaded with more equipment and better to drive, the new Skoda Fabia is also a few kilos lighter, making the baby Skoda even more efficient. Perfect for the newly cost-conscious world we live in."
What owners say 
5
5 /5 based on 1 reviews
100%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

Owner rating:

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Last updated 
24 Mar 2016
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