- Dynamic new styling and drives beautifully
- Larger than average boot
- Excellent safety package
- No electric or hybrid options
- Three-pot engine gets a little noisy under heavy acceleration
- Some rivals are more fun to drive
The popularity of the Skoda Fabia has never been in question with more than 4.5 million models sold globally since it first arrived on the scene back in 1991.
The launch of the fourth-generation car sees a bold new design, a choice of punchy, yet efficient engines, along with a good selection of trim levels with a sporty Monte Carlo trim being introduced later this year.
Skoda sticks by its ‘value-for-money’ strategy that has served it so well over the years and these days incorporates outstanding connectivity and technology functions, excellent safety systems, along with all the Simply Clever touches we have come to admire over the years.
On The Road
The all-new fourth generation Skoda Fabia is available in trim grades called S, SE Comfort, SE L and a special Colour Edition. Customers can select from five powerful petrol engines that are more efficient than those driving the outgoing car and range of manual and automatic transmissions are available.
There are four three-cylinder 1.0-litre units with power outputs of 65PS, 80PS, 95PS and 110PS, along with a four-cylinder 1.5-litre option with 150PS.
We opted for the Fabia in the Colour Edition trim powered by a three-cylinder turbocharged 1.0-litre TSI 95PS engine with 175Nm of torque and matched to a five-speed manual gearbox. This firecracker of a car can reach from 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds and tops out at 119mph.
Don’t be fooled into thinking a three-pot engine would struggle to power the five-door Fabia, because it has ample zip to fire it through the country lanes. You will hear a little more engine protest under heavy acceleration, but generally the Fabia is nice and refined.
With its light steering and good sub-11 metres turning lock, the Fabia is ideal for weaving through busy town centres and the all-round visibility also impresses.
When it comes to ride and handling, the Fabia is never going to compete with hot hatches out there, but it was never designed to do so either. This is a family-friendly car that does everything really well.
It is nicely grounded into and out of tight bends on B roads and body sway is virtually non-existent. The Fabia is the first Skoda to be built on Volkswagen Group’s MQB-A0 platform, but don’t expect Golf-like performance. It’s no slouch, simply not the most exhilarating to drive.
It quickly reaches 70mph on motorways and can cruise with ease at that speed, but it does get quite buffeted when exposed to strong cross winds.
The suspension system does a brilliant job of soaking up the bumps and dips along the way and the cabin is well protected against outside noise intrusion. The road rumble does get more noticeable at higher speeds, but that is mainly because the engine ticks away so quietly in the background.
Acceleration through the five-speed gearbox is smooth and responsive, although I did go in search (in vain) for a sixth gear on more than one occasion.
New Fabia has grown in stature and for the first time, it has stretched beyond four metres in length which results in extra interior space. But it also wider and that helps give the vehicle a more dynamic appearance with a lot more road presence than its predecessor.
It boasts crisp lines, razor-sharp narrow headlights extending to the hexagonal grille that is black, LED front lights with optional LED taillights, privacy glass, front fog lights, a sculpted bonnet, black pillars and 16-inch black metallic painted allow wheels.
Colour Edition models, such as our test car, allow the owner to focus on personalising their vehicle with contrast paintwork shades for the roof, wing mirror caps and alloy wheels. Our car also featured a panoramic roof costing an extra £730
Move inside the five-door supermini and the interior is ultra-modern with a clutter-free, feature rich cabin.
The seats are upholstered in a stylish grey fabric with contrast stitching and there is a two-spoke multi-function, leather-wrapped steering wheel, plus leather-trimmed handbrake and gear shift lever. Our Colour Edition also featured a digital instrument display which is new to Fabia.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Getting a comfortable driving position is easy enough with plenty of manual seat and steering wheel adjustment available. The all-round visibility is good with nice thin pillars and the cockpit is very driver-focused with clear readouts and physical buttons for functions such as the climate control.
It’s a well-equipped car with a six-speaker Bolero radio along with free-standing eight-inch colour display, Bluetooth connection, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, air conditioning and that digital driver display.
This 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit display can be personalised to taste with four basic layouts called Classic, Modern, Reduced and Extended. It can also show maps, including close-up views of junctions, radio stations, music album covers and caller profile photos.
More basic Fabia models get a 6.5-inch information screen as an alternative.
Our car was fitted with two USB-C ports in the front of the car.
Space & Practicality
New Skoda Fabia has had a bit of a growth spurt. It is 111mm longer at 4,108mm, 48mm wider at 1,780mm and the wheelbase has increased by 94mm to 2,564mm.
This all means extra space for occupants and more storage room too. Considering the outgoing Fabia had the largest boot in its sector, this is another positive selling point for Skoda. The boot on new Fabia can hold 380 litres of goodies, an increase of 50 litres. Drop the 60:40 split-folding rear seats and that capacity increases to 1,190 litres.
There are straps and hooks in the boot to secure shopping bags and stop items rolling around, along with plenty of storage options scattered throughout the cabin. These include a deep glovebox, door bins with a section for bottles, seat back pockets, rather narrow cup holders, non-slip trays and a secret compartment tucked away beside the driver’s right knee.
There is plenty of space for two adults to sit comfortably up front and a trio of youngsters will be fine in the back. A couple of adults will be okay if the front seats are not pushed too far back – add a third and it all gets a little cramped.
As is the Skoda way, the car has a number of Simply Clever features to make life on the road a little easier. For example, there is an umbrella stored in the driver’s door and ice scraper in the fuel filler cover.
New Simply Clever features that are optional include a USB-C port in the rear-view mirror which is ideal for dashcams, a removable sun visor for the panoramic roof, plus smartphone pockets in the front seatbacks.
With wide-opening doors, the Fabia offers easy access to fit a child seat and there are Isofix anchors and top tether anchor points on the outer rear seats as standard with the option of having them fitted to the front passenger seat too.
The Skoda Fabia has an entry-level S trim grade for anyone on a tight budget and at just £15,305 you still get plenty of kit, including LED headlights, a 6.5-inch colour screen infotainment system, DAB radio, plus a wealth of safety systems. The Fabia SE is priced from £17,195 and the range-topping SE L from £19,380.
Our Fabia Hatch Colour Edition cost £18,445, but there were a number of options fitted such as Phoenix Orange metallic paint (that looked stunning), a panoramic glass roof, a Convenience pack and lots more. This resulted in a final price-tag of £22,320.
According to WLTP testing the test car could deliver up to 55.4mpg on a combined run with carbon emissions from 116g/km. This CO2 figure would result in a first year road tax bill of £180 dropping to the standard fee of £155 after 12 months.
The insurance rating for the Fabia Hatch Colour Edition is group 10.
Quality & Reliability
Skoda has an enviable reputation within the industry for developing reliable cars that survive the test of time and the company always scores highly in customer satisfaction surveys. So, the new Fabia should live up to and excel all high expectations.
The car is the first Skoda to be built on the VW Group’s MQB-A0 platform and has been designed using more hot-formed and high-strength steel components than the previous model. In fact, more than 80 per cent of new Fabia’s body is made up of high-strength steel components and that helps with torsional stiffness, which improves handling and ensures exceptional durability.
With plenty of VW expertise to fall back on, Skoda engines and transmissions are renowned for their quality and all the fixtures and fittings feel sturdy and really well put together.
For added peace of mind, the Fabia hatchback comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.
Safety & Security
The latest fourth generation Skoda Fabia has just been tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and achieved the maximum five stars.
The vehicle was awarded 81 per cent for child safety, which is very good news for a car that will regularly be transporting children.
With up to nine airbags, Skoda claims the Fabia is one of the safest cars in its segment and the latest model boasts even more technology to help protect occupants and other road users.
There is front assist with predictive pedestrian and cyclist protection and manoeuvre assist, side assist, traffic sign recognition, lane assist, park assist, a driver alert system and lots more besides.
An eCall system is fitted as standard and it notifies the emergency services if the car is involved in an accident.
And an alarm system including with immobiliser is also fitted as standard to keep intruders at bay.
The Skoda Fabia has always been a great supermini and the impressive sales figures worldwide can vouch for that. But instead of resting on its laurels, Skoda has upped the stakes and developed a more dynamic, tech-savvy, safer model that is sure to draw even more attention to the brand.