Skoda Fabia hatchback review
"A size increase serves the Skoda Fabia well, making it an ideal supermini for families"
- Very practical
- Great value for money
- No hybrid model
- Not much fun to drive
- Some bland interior trim
The Skoda Fabia has been a huge success, with more than 4.5 million finding homes around the world since it launched around two decades ago. Customers appreciated the affordable running costs, space and sturdy build quality.
Introduced in 2021, the latest Fabia shares its underpinnings with the sporty SEAT Ibiza, as well as the more-premium Volkswagen Polo. The result is a significant size increase over the outgoing model, and access to much more modern infotainment and safety technology.
Skoda has become synonymous with practicality, and the new Fabia is a key example of why. The supermini now boasts a class-leading 380 litre boot, which is way bigger than the Ford Fiesta and comes close to matching cars from the class above. Not only that, but there's also more space for passengers and child seats, giving the supermini more versatility than ever.
As features continue to trickle down from bigger models, the Fabia feels increasingly upmarket. Four trim levels are currently available called S, SE Comfort, Colour Edition and the SE L, and a sporty Monte Carlo model. Every version of the Fabia is well equipped with standard LED headlights and tail lights, while the higher models get ‘big car’ features such as a heated steering wheel and a panoramic sunroof. Infotainment is taken care of by a central touchscreen measuring up to 9.2-inches in size, while digital instruments can also be chosen to replace the standard analogue gauges.
One area where the Fabia perhaps isn't quite as advanced as rivals is under the bonnet. Most buyers will get a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that can manage around 50mpg but there's no hybrid or even mild-hybrid assistance. Buyers can spec this engine in a variety of power outputs from the basic MPI versions with 64bhp to 84bhp, or a more powerful TSI variant with either 94bhp or 108bhp. Entry-level engines get a five-speed manual gearbox, with the most potent getting a choice of a six-speed manual or a DSG automatic. A more powerful 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is available in the range-topping Monte Carlo model; this produces 148bhp, making it the fastest version of the Fabia currently on sale.
None of that means the Fabia will be expensive to run, but those seeking innovation or a cheap company-car might prefer the Toyota Yaris, Renault Clio E-Tech or Honda Jazz, which can run on electric power for at least some of the time.
On a more positive note, the new Fabia is better to drive than the old one. Skoda engineers have chosen to make the new car’s suspension softer than the Fiesta or Ibiza; it's not as sporty as a result but it rides very well and feels relaxed over long distances.
The Fabia was awarded five stars by Euro NCAP, a score that will reassure owners. The Fabia uses a number of tried and tested engines shared with other models, so it should generally prove reliable. However, in our Driver Power brand satisfaction survey, Skoda fell to a concerning 20th place out of 29 manufacturers. Owners weren’t all too enamoured by Skoda’s technology systems, but praised the brand’s undeniable value-for-money.