Reviewed by Matt Robinson
What Is It?
Skoda’s supermini, the Fabia, one of the best cars in its class if what you need is some classy, understated practicality and pragmatism. One of a host of models built off similar chassis and the same engines in the Volkswagen Group, the Fabia is the equivalent of the VW Polo, the SEAT Ibiza and even the Audi A1, yet it manages to offer more interior room than any of them. It’s also a strong contender in a class replete with talent, if you’re after something that will slot effortlessly into your life with the minimum of fuss.
Our 3 Favourite Things
· Practical and spacious cabin.
· Lovely, smooth 1.0-litre TSI engine.
· Comfortable ride quality.
Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI 95 DSG SE Vanarama Lease Rates: from c.£152pcm CO2 And Economy: 129g/km, 49.6mpg
What Does It Look Like?
Skoda’s current design language involves lots of straight lines and crisp design details, and the same treatment is applied to the Fabia. It’s not as curvy as some other cars in this class, although that doesn’t mean it’s ugly to look at – indeed, there’s a nice, reserved air to the Skoda’s appearance which suits it well. Take note of its boxier, more upright proportions, as they are the reason the interior is so spacious.
Inside the 5-door Fabia, not only is there plenty of room for 4 adults – and maybe even 5, at a push – to get comfy, there’s also a sensibly laid-out dashboard and some useful ‘Simply Clever’ touches from Skoda, such as an umbrella stashed under the passenger seat. The dashboard is focused around a 6.5-inch touchscreen but on this SE model, it doesn’t come with satnav. Instead, Smartlink+ incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to easily hook your smartphone up to the display.
How Does It Drive?
The Skoda Fabia isn’t particularly thrilling in the corners, but that’s about its only shortcoming in the dynamic department. Otherwise, it’s excellent to drive – the charismatic 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine makes an appealing noise and is smooth when delivering its power. With 95hp and 160Nm, the Fabia 1.0 DSG isn’t hugely quick with an 11.1-second 0-62mph time and a 115mph top speed, but it’s a perfectly muscular drivetrain in a car this light. Around town and on the motorways, there’s enough torque to make good progress along with traffic flow, without having to mercilessly rev the Skoda right out in order to keep up.
It’s the ride quality and noise suppression in the cabin which mark this out as a great supermini, though. Bigger Skoda models are normally always relaxing to travel in for long distances and the company has managed to distil some of that welcome character into the smaller Fabia hatchback. Driven steadily, the turbocharged engine is very quiet and docile, while the 7-speed DSG automatic transmission makes imperceptible gear shifts and manages the 1.0-litre’s output well.
Another plus point of the Skoda’s taller shape – the glasshouse is large and pillars are relatively thin, so visibility out in all directions is excellent. This, along with light and accurate steering, makes the 4-metre-long Fabia a breeze to manoeuvre in urban areas.
Is It A Practical And Well-Equipped Car?
It’s a very practical car, because not only is it roomy inside and dotted with the useful simply clever features Skoda specialises in – things like a credit card holder clip on the windscreen and moulded cupholders in which you can open a PET bottle 1-handed – it also has a big boot for this class of car. There’s 330 litres of space with all the seats in play, rising to 1150 litres with the second row folded down.
The SE model is not bursting with equipment, but it has most of the essentials covered. It comes with items like 15-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, LED daytime running lights, a 2-spoke multifunction leather steering wheel, front foglights, a multifunction trip computer, the 6.5-inch Swing Radio touchscreen with DAB, Bluetooth and Smartlink+ (incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), a surround-sound 6-speaker stereo system, electric front windows, manual air conditioning and Front Assist, among more.
As a final tempter, lease with Vanarama and we’ll throw in 1 year’s free insurance, as well as our usual low monthly leasing rates – the Fabia 1.0 DSG SE could be yours for not much more than £150 per month.