Skoda Fabia hatchback review (2015-2021)
"The Skoda Fabia was replaced in 2021 but it still has plenty to offer supermini buyers"
- Great interior space
- Cheapest engines underpowered
- Not as sharp to drive as rivals
- Some rivals offer better value
A good supermini must be spaciours, 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 a subtle redesign and the addition of extra practical touches. However, with an all-new model arriving in 2021, it’s not surprising that the current Fabia’s star is gently fading, opening up opportunities for some serious haggling as dealers attempt to sell their stock.
The Fabia is 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 just under £15,000 (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 since the 2018 facelift, Skoda has concentrated on petrol engines, discontinuing the 1.4-litre diesel. There are two 1.0-litre petrol options remaining: the entry-level MPI has 59bhp but the 94bhp 1.0 TSI is both faster and more economical. The latter will return up to 53mpg, while cutting the Fabia's 0-62mph acceleration from a lethargic 16.4 seconds in the MPI version to 10.7 seconds. If you’re looking for a nearly new Fabia, you can keep an eye out for a 108bhp variant of the 1.0 TSI engine that’s even quicker, offering you a 9.7-second 0-62mph time.
Cars with the MPI engine are only available with a five-speed manual transmission but TSI-powered cars can be had with a manual or a DSG automatic.
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 SE Drive trim introduced in 2020 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.