2017 Skoda Fabia Review

Introduction

The Fabia is Skoda’s entrant in the hotly-contested supermini sector, where buyers are looking for compact, practical cars with low running costs that are easy to drive. In other words, cars that can cope with a variety of roles, from the school run to long motorway trips. Available as a hatchback and estate, and with a range of economical petrol and diesel engines, the Skoda Fabia is stylish, spacious and well-equipped.

 

Body Style: Hatchback             Seats: 5                                MRP from £11,155 - £18,430

 

Did you know? In 2015, the Skoda Fabia lifted one of the most prestigious motoring awards in the UK when it was crowned What Car? Car of the Year.

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Verdict: ★★★★★★★★☆☆(8.3/10)

The Skoda Fabia is a good looking and practical car, available as a five-door hatchback and estate. It can be distinctive, too – if you opt for a funky colour or contrasting roof and door mirrors. What it lacks in driver engagement, it gains in value for money, equipment and Skoda’s dependable badge appeal. It’s worth paying extra for an SE model or above for the best all-round package.

Design & Exterior

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Interior & Comfort

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Technology & Connectivity

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Performance & Handling

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Safety Features

★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Spec & Trim Levels

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Running Costs & Fuel Economy

★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Pricing

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

 

Skoda Fabia

We Like

Stylish looks

Personalisation options

Spacious interior

We Don't Like

Dull handling

Meagre S trim

Hard interior plastics

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Design & Exterior:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Skoda Fabia

Launched in the UK in January 2015, the third-generation Skoda Fabia is the most stylish yet. A combination of clean-cut lines and good proportions give the car a sporty, dynamic look. Closely related to its VW Group cousin, the Volkswagen Polo, the Fabia is arguably the better-looking car. From its smart corporate nose to its sharply contoured bonnet and clean-cut profile, it's a class act.

Skoda jokes are history and the Czech company cars offer a combination of good value, style and space, so the Fabia is right up there with the best of them in its class. The Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa dominate the market in terms of sales, while the Audi A1, Renault Clio and Volkswagen Polo are top when it comes to perceived quality. But the Fabia isn't far behind.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Interior & Comfort:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Skoda Fabia

The cabin of the Skoda Fabia is spacious, cleanly designed and well put-together. The layout is nothing fancy, but makes absolute sense with a nice combination of clearly marked buttons, knobs and switches, with deeper settings found within the infotainment system. Every Fabia has a touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard, which grows in size to a reasonable 6.5 inches on SE models and above. However, this is an interior that is more durable than plush, with plenty of hard plastics on show.

Practicality

The Skoda Fabia’s seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of room up-front, although taller passengers in the rear may struggle for legroom if the driver and front-seat passenger are above average height.

The hatchback’s boot is one of the most spacious in its class: 330 litres of capacity with the rear seats (which split 60/40) in place and 1150 litres with them folded. The estate is even better with 530 litres of space – or an impressive 1395 litres with the back seats down. There are plenty of storage spaces in the cabin, plus a handy ice scraper hidden under the car’s fuel cap.

Boot space

Hatchback

Min: 330 litres
Max: 1150 litres 

Estate

Min: 530 litres
Max: 1395 litres 

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Technology & Connectivity:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Skoda Fabia
Skoda Fabia

All but entry-level S versions receive a sharp 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s intuitive and responsive. Standard equipment for the S includes heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth.

Skoda’s Smartlink technology, which allows you to use mobile phone apps such as sat-nav via the touchscreen, is also standard on SE trim and above. This works with both Apple and Android devices.

SE models and above also get a multi-function steering wheel, a six-speaker stereo and air conditioning. The audio system in the Fabia was highly commended in the Best Audio System category for cars under £25,000 at the Alphr and Carbuyer Car Tech Awards 2016. 'To say we were impressed with it is an understatement,' the judges remarked.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Performance & Handling:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Skoda Fabia

Because it’s set up more for comfort than driving dynamics, the Fabia has a soft ride that’s best suited to leisurely drives and cruising. Body-lean when cornering is apparent during spirited driving, but the steering is light, which is great for urban manoeuvrability. Take it easy and the ride is generally smooth, and the cabin refined. Overall, the Ford Fiesta is still the benchmark in this class for driving enjoyment.

The Fabia is available with a selection of petrol and diesel engines. There are four petrol units: a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder MPI with 60 or 75hp (the former offered only in the base S model) mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, a 1.2-litre four-cylinder 90hp TSI with five-speed manual gearbox and a 1.2-litre 110hp four-cylinder with six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG semi-automatic gearbox. 'T', as with all Volkswagen Group cars be they petrol or diesel, indicates turbocharging.

There are also two TDI diesels: a 1.4-litre, three-cylinder unit with either 90hp or 105hp. Both come solely with a five-speed manual gearbox. Your choice of engine depends very much on whether your tootle around or spend hours on longer journeys.

The 1.4-litre diesels offer a good balance of performance and low running costs, and may appeal most to company-car buyers. For instance, the range-topping 105hp unit is capable of 0-62mph in just 10.1 seconds, up to 76.4mpg and low CO2 emissions of 95g/km.

The 60hp 1.0-litre petrol is fine for zipping around town,but a bit breathless on longer runs, which makes the punchy 1.2 TSI petrol engines the best all-rounders, thanks to a good blend of refinement, power and economy.

Recommended engine: 1.2 TSI 90

0-62mph

10.9 seconds

Fuel economy

60.1mpg

Emissions

107g/km

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Safety Features: ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Skoda Fabia

A standard six airbags (front, curtain and side), two rear Isofix fittings, three rear three-point seatbelts, four head restraints, electronic stability control and a tyre pressure warning system all helped the Fabia achieve a maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating when it was tested in November 2014.

Other safety systems available include driver fatigue detection, Front Assist (which warns drivers if the car detects a possible collision), driver fatigue detection and cornering fog lights.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Specs and Trim Levels:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Skoda Fabia

Colours

The Skoda Fabia is available in 15 body colours, including Race Blue, Rally Green, Moon White and Topaz Brown. Skoda’s ‘Colour Concept’ option allows varying combinations for the roof, A-pillars, side mirrors and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Altogether, 124 combinations are available, including a choice of four interior colour schemes. Corrida Red with a white roof and white alloys looks especially good.

Trim Levels

The Skoda Fabia is available in four trim levels: S, SE, SE L and Monte Carlo. In addition there’s a Fabia Colour Edition hatchback, giving you all the specification available on the SE trim (and more) from £13,915. Features include alloy wheels, coloured mirrors and roof, LED daytime running lights, cruise control and four paint colours to choose from.

Standard equipment for the S includes DAB digital radio and Bluetooth, but you’ll have to move up to a SE or above for options such as a larger 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, air conditioning, alloy wheels, acoustic rear parking sensors and Front Assist with automatic emergency braking.

Available as either a hatchback or estate, the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo builds on the already comprehensive standard equipment of the SE, adding 16-inch black alloy wheels, a black radiator grille, black mirror caps, a body-coloured rear spoiler, front fog lights, LED daytime running lights and ‘sunset’ tinted glass.

Inside, additional equipment includes bespoke front sports seats, front and rear floor mats with red stitching, a cherry red centre console, Monte Carlo pedals, a multi-function sports steering wheel, pearl grey roof lining and carpet, plus Monte Carlo badging on the front door inserts. The Fabia Monte Carlo Estate also comes with black roof rails. The range is priced from £15,830.

Size and Dimensions

The Fabia hatchback drops in below the supermini-standard four-metre length, but the estate is a fair bit longer, at 4.25 metres. Both models are the same width, and the estate is a little taller due to its roof rails.

Length

3992 mm / 4257mm

Width

1732mm

Height

1467 mm / 1488mm

Max towing weight without brake

From 520kg (1.0 MPI 60) to 600kg (1.4 TDI)

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Running Costs & Fuel Economy: ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Skoda Fabia

If economy is your main priority, then look no further than the 90hp 1.4 TDI, which offers official average fuel economy of 78.6mpg while emitting just 93g/km of CO2. Driving through a five-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG auto, it makes sense if your regular driving involves long distances on motorways.

However, if a diesel is not for you, you’ll need to choose between the three-cylinder 1.0 turbo petrol or four-cylinder 1.2 TSI petrol units. Both offer lively performance and good economy.

The entry-level Fabia fitted with the 60hp 1.0 turbo petrol engine offers the best economy of 60.1mpg, while emitting 106g/km of CO2. However, it will take 15.7 seconds to reach 62mph from standstill and tops out at 99mph. The best all-rounder is the 90hp 1.2 TSI, which is capable of 60.1mpg, 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds and emits a low 107g/km of CO2.

Start-stop technology is standard on all Fabia models, along with battery energy recuperation, which recharges the battery during engine braking, saving on fuel.

Reliability and servicing

Skoda has a good reputation when it comes to reliability, regularly topping league tables such as the annual JD Power survey.

The Fabia comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, while one- or two-year warranty extensions are available. You can also opt for a service plan for £279, or £15.40 per month, which offers two fixed-price services.

Minor

12 months or 12,500 miles - £195 est.

Major

24 months or 25,000 miles - £265 est. (£340 est. for cars with CVT)

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Pricing:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Skoda Fabia

The Skoda Fabia is available in four trim levels: S, SE, SE L and Monte Carlo. Prices start from £11,155, while the estate version starts at £13,035. A MirrorLink system is standard from SE trim upwards. It allows owners of selected Android handsets to integrate and interact with functions and apps via the Fabia’s touchscreen display.

All models are fitted with six airbags as standard. Air conditioning, alloy wheels, acoustic rear parking sensors and Front Assist with City Emergency Braking are fitted on SE models and above.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Recommendations

New Parents

Estate – With a wide loading floor, there's plenty of room for a pushchair and baby paraphernalia thanks to 530 litres of space (1395 litres with the back seats down)

First Time Driver

1.0MPI 60  S – great value, coupled with a lively three-cylinder petrol engine that’s capable of 60.1mpg

Company Car Buyer

1.4 TDI 90 SE – powerful diesel can deliver 78.6mpg, coupled with CO2 emissions of just 93g/km

Rivals

Volkswagen Polo

Slightly conservative perhaps, but the well-equipped Polo is a classy choice, plus it’s available with a great range of engines.

Citroën C3

Great reliability combined with intelligent technology, a cosseting ride, lively engines and highly individual looks.

Kia Rio

It may not be the most exciting car on the road, but the new Rio is quite good to drive, well-equipped and surprisingly roomy.

Ford Fiesta

Britain’s best-selling car for eight years, the Fiesta is still the benchmark for driver enjoyment in the supermini sector.

Vauxhall Corsa

Practical and affordable, the Corsa goes especially well when fitted with the punchy 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine.

What others say

Auto Express

“The Skoda Fabia is a well-proven supermini contender that’s perhaps not the best option for thrill-seekers, but is a superb car for long-term satisfaction.”

Carbuyer

“The Skoda Fabia is a competent, practical and spacious supermini that prioritises comfort over driver involvement.”

 

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