Skoda Fabia hatchback
Price £10,600 - £18,275
- More space than most rivals
- Good standard equipment, especially safety
- Strong, efficient engines, including economical GreenLine
- Not as good value compared to rivals as before
- Sluggish 1.0-litre engine is disappointing
- Volkswagen Polo feels more upmarket
At a glance
"The new Skoda Fabia offers loads of kit and plenty of space, but isn’t quite as cheap to buy as the old model."
The Skoda Fabia is a five-door supermini with many rivals, including the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and Hyundai i20. It's based on the Volkswagen Polo, which means it should be well built and reliable. In fact, it's better than the Polo on these two measures. It's slightly cheaper, too, while its resale value (the money you can expect to get for it when you sell it) is equally strong.
In a class that can sometimes put style ahead of substance, the Fabia has carved out a reputation as a no-nonsense, practical yet comfortable choice. Prices are a little higher than before, but perhaps that's inevitable given Skoda's improving image and the current Fabia's extensive standard equipment and technology.
There's a wide range of very efficient petrol and diesel engines to choose from, some of them paired with the VW Group's equally efficient DSG automatic gearbox. The two 1.0-litre petrols that open the line-up are frugal enough, but it's the more rounded 1.2-litre petrols that we prefer. They’re economical and nippy around town but the more powerful 108bhp version has enough performance in reserve for longer journeys with a full load of passengers and luggage on board.
Of the two 1.4-litre diesels on offer, our vote goes to the 104bhp. It's sprightly enough but will return 80mpg. It's certainly the right choice for high-mileage drivers. All the engines are generally smooth and refined, while the car itself is comfortable and feels sure-footed in corners, although it's not what you’d call exciting.
Cabin space is excellent, with plenty of head and shoulder room for all occupants and easily enough space for two six-foot adults in the back. The boot is the biggest in the class, too.
The Fabia is available in three trim levels: S, SE and SE L. The model's hard plastics can make the car feel a little basic inside, so spoil yourself by choosing our recommended trim level: the mid-range SE. To the height-adjustable driver's seat, electric mirrors and DAB digital radio you get in the S, it adds alloy wheels, a multifunction leather steering wheel and manual air-conditioning. It also has a surround-sound system, rear parking sensors and a system that can project your phone's display onto the car's touchscreen. SE L adds more luxuries, but SE gets it just about right.
The Fabia is a safe car with the maximum five-star score from Euro NCAP to prove it. It packs a lot of safety technology, including curtain airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, braking assistance and tyre pressure monitoring.
Every Skoda Fabia model is cheap to run, with the fuel-efficient GreenLine returning more than 90mpg
The Skoda Fabia still trails the Ford Fiesta for outright driver enjoyment, but it feels stable at high speeds and quiet around town
There’s no denying the new Skoda Fabia is a step up from its predecessor, but it lacks some of the soft-touch plastic seen in rivals
The Skoda Fabia is an extremely practical supermini, offering more boot space than a Ford Focus
The new Skoda Fabia should follow in the footsteps of the rest of the range, with top-notch owner satisfaction and a five-star safety rating