Skoda Fabia hatchback - Interior & comfort
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
As you’d expect from a Volkswagen Group car, the new Skoda Fabia is a high-quality product both inside and out. There are some scratchy plastics on the dashboard, but everything is logically placed and the touchscreen infotainment system is easy to use.
Skoda Fabia dashboard
A number of the touch points – such as the indicator stalks and light switches – feel really nice. But those accustomed to the current Volkswagen Polo will be disappointed to note that none of that car’s soft-touch dashboard plastics have been transferred to the Fabia, and features like its digital instruments are also missing.
Everything still looks smart, though, and the buttons are clearly and logically laid-out. It’s just a shame that the VW Group feels the need to differentiate its superminis with a noticeable gap in quality.
The infotainment system works well, with clear buttons and a nicely sized screen. It's an affordable option and easy to use, as well as being compatible with both Apple and Android phones from SE trim.
Equipment is generous across the Fabia range, but it’s worth avoiding the entry-level S model if your budget allows, particularly as it doesn't have air-conditioning. All cars come with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and DAB digital radio, a Bluetooth phone connection and power-adjustable, body-coloured and heated door mirrors. None of that was standard on the old Fabia, making this car even more attractive than before.
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Also included on the S model are LED daytime running lights, curtain airbags, electric front windows and remote central locking.
Upgrading to the SE gets you rear parking sensors, a leather multifunction steering wheel, a six-speaker stereo, 15-inch alloy wheels and all-important air-conditioning. You also benefit from chrome detailing and Skoda’s Smartlink system, which can project your mobile phone’s display onto the car’s touchscreen. The SE is the one we recommend, as it has all the equipment you could realistically want in a small family car and there's even an umbrella under the front seat.
SE Drive, a new trim level for 2020, costs slightly more than SE but adds bigger alloy wheels, sat nav, front parking sensors, floor mats and exclusive interior trim. There’s also the Colour Edition trim for the same price, which gives you a contrast-coloured roof, door mirror caps and alloys, plus cruise control.
The SE L model has sat nav, model-specific alloy wheels, climate-control air-conditioning and a front central armrest. An auto-dimming rear-view mirror and keyless go are also included.
The range-topping Monte Carlo edition has the same equipment as the SE, but adds 16-inch black alloy wheels, a black radiator grille and door mirror caps, a body-coloured rear spoiler, rear electric windows, privacy glass and a black roof. Inside there's climate control, front sports seats, some red trim and a sports steering wheel.
A wide range of options are available for the Skoda Fabia, including a full-length panoramic sunroof, which isn’t too expensive at £640. You can choose from extras such as bigger alloy wheels, LED headlights (£975), privacy glass (£225), an armrest (£105) and a rear-view camera (£275). As with many small cars and superminis these days, the Fabia is available with a series of personalisation options, allowing buyers to put their own stamp on the car.
The Skoda Fabia may sit reasonably low within the Volkswagen Group, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer when it comes to technology. The infotainment system isn't quite as impressive as the Polo's, but you still get a clear, logical and easy-to-use setup.
Although the system takes about 30 seconds to initially boot up, once this is done switching between menus and setting sat nav directions is impressively quick, aided by the supplementary physical buttons and rotary control knob to the side of the screen. The only blot in the Fabia’s copybook is that the map’s zoom feels a little slow and jerky compared to some sat navs.