Engine - 1.2 PetrolBody Type - HatchbackTransmission - Manual |
Some quick motors
Small item storage
Lots of safety kit
Cheap to buy & run
Great dash, ride, running costs
Why so tall?
No hot hatch
A/C is expensive
Dour looks, tight back, drab handling
The original Fabia and robust chunkiness to it that we quite liked but the new car has lots all its muscle and has gotten rounder, softer and inexplicably taller. The detailing, too, is overwrought, with too many clashing shapes and dreary metal work. Tiny wheels don't help.
If performance is your thing, then forget the two 1.2-litre engines and both 1.4-litre diesels too. The 1.4 is merely adequately quick so you're looking at the 1.6-litre before you can actually make real progress. The 1.9 TDi is quick-ish but loud.
The Fabia has lost some of the handling brio of the old model and isn't as much fun anymore. The too-tall cabin and the overworked engines don't help, while the skinny tyres don't bite the road as well either. Ride quality is improved slightly.
The Fabia's cabin has finally lost that eastern-bloc look and is superbly laid out and arranged. The driving position is excellent, even for tall drivers, and visibility is excellent. Getting in and out is a lot easier, too, thanks to the huge doors.
While the layout and plastics used are much improved, we were disappointed with the quality of construction and the fit and finish of our admittedly early test cars. The ride quality and can quietness are no improvement over the old car either.
The old model scored four NCAP stars so there's no reason the new car won't achieve the same or better. Four airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounts, seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters are all standard but ESP and curtain airbags are options on most models.
The interior might be a lot taller but rear legroom actually decreases and it's noticeable when you sit in there. The boot isn't as big as we'd expected either, although storage areas for phones and wallets in the dash improves no end, especially with its new 2-tier glovebox.
The Fabia offers a lot for the money at all levels, comparing favourably in terms of spec and price with its rivals. Running costs will be low, regardless of engine, and residual values should be on a par with the class average since Skoda's image is so strong these days.
As you'd expect, four airbags, electric front windows, remote locks, power steering, a CD player and steel wheels adorn the €14k base model but you need to be spending around €18,000 to get air conditioning and alloy wheels.
The 3-cylinder 1.2 engines (60hp/70hp) sound interesting but they are a little coarse. The 70hp engine is worth the extra. The 85hp 4-cylinder 1.4 is better while the 115hp 1.6 is quick, clean and frugal. The 3-cylinder 1.4 TDI (70hp/80hp) and 109hp 1.9 TDI make no sense here.