In-depth reviews

Skoda Fabia hatchback review

"The Skoda Fabia is a supermini, but it has lots of interior space and luggage room for a car in this class"

Carbuyer Rating

4.4 out of 5

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Owners Rating

4.2 out of 5

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Pros

  • Great interior space
  • Comfortable
  • Practical

Cons

  • Cheapest engines underpowered
  • Not as sharp to drive as rivals
  • Some rivals offer better value

A good supermini must be roomy, practical and comfortable. The Skoda Fabia is all three. It’s simply a very usable car that doesn't force any compromises on owners by trying to be sporty or fashionable. Accept it on these terms and it makes a great buy. A mid-2018 facelift for the Fabia built on these strengths, with just a subtle redesign but even more practical touches being added.

It’s up against some first-rate competition, of course, including the Ford Fiesta, SEAT Ibiza and Vauxhall Corsa. Skoda used to battle for sales by being the cheapest on the block, but that honour now goes to the Dacia Sandero hatchback. Today, prices for the Fabia start at around £12,500 (still several grand cheaper than some rivals), so it helps that it’s such an accomplished all-rounder and still undercuts the Volkswagen Polo. It has an ace up its sleeve, too, in the shape of the Skoda Fabia Estate, one of the few cars of its type in this class – which we’ve reviewed separately.

As part of VW Group, Skoda has access to a wide range of engines for the Fabia but for the facelift, Skoda concentrated on petrol engines, discontinuing the 1.4-litre diesel. There are three 1.0-litre petrols: the entry-level MPI has 59bhp, or there are two turbocharged engines (badged TSI) with 94 or 108bhp, and these are actually just as economical. The latter will return up to 52.3mpg. The TSI engines are also much quicker, cutting the Fabia's 0-62mph acceleration from a lethargic 16.4 seconds in the MPI models to 10.7 seconds with the 94bhp engine and 9.7 seconds for the 108bhp model.

There are currently six trim levels, spanning basic S to top-of-the range Monte Carlo. We say ‘basic’, but the S does have a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth phone connectivity, DAB radio and LED daytime running lights. For air-conditioning, you need to move up to SE, where you also get alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and SmartLink+ to make the Fabia compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

SE offers the best mix of value and functionality, although the new-for-2020 SE Drive trim is good-value too, adding bigger wheels, sat nav and front parking sensors. The Colour Edition costs the same as SE Drive for several body panels painted in a contrasting colour. SE L adds items like cruise control, climate control, keyless ignition and an auto-dimming rear mirror, but costs quite a bit extra. The Monte Carlo looks stylish thanks to black alloy wheels, a bodykit, a black roof and privacy glass, while its suspension is also firmer.

The Skoda Fabia didn’t feature in our 2020 Driver Power , with its last appearance being a 64th place finish out of 100 cars in 2019. It matches several superminis on safety, too, receiving a five-star rating from Euro NCAP after crash-testing.

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