In around 12 months’ time, the all-new Fabia will arrive in Skoda showrooms. About time, too, since the current, third-generation model under discussion here will, by then, be six years old. Still, it has done a great job of connecting Skoda’s supermini with a younger audience.
Being a Skoda, it’s a sturdy rather than plush motor but practical with a large boot and good rear cabin space; reliable, too, as its strong showing in surveys attests. It’s also great value. Prices start from around £4500 for a 2015-reg 1.0 MPI 60 S, the entry-level model. This version is okay for scooting around town, but the engine is underpowered and hobbled by being paired with a tallish five-speed gearbox. That didn’t stop it selling well from new, though, and there are lots to choose from all the way to 2018 when it was dropped at the facelift.
There’s a punchier 74bhp version badged 1.0 MPI 75 (it survived the facelift), but it’s rare, presumably because the 1.2 TSI, with 89bhp or 108bhp, was only a bit more expensive per month on a PCP finance deal. Whatever the reason, these two 1.2 TSI engines are the ones to aim for, especially the 108bhp (badged 110) that comes with a sixspeed gearbox. A 2016-reg 1.2 TSI 110 SE with 50,000 miles costs around £6500 and the lower-powered but more plentiful 90 SE about £500 less.
Which leaves the diesels. There are three, all 1.4s and producing 74bhp, 89bhp and 104bhp. We found a privately advertised 2015-reg 1.4 TDI SE 90 with 43,000 miles for just £4000 but, generally speaking, dealers ask from around £5500. It goes without saying that the diesels are best if your mileage is on the high side (they’ll do around 60mpg), but you’ll need to look hard for one, because they’re easily outnumbered by the petrols and were dropped with the 2018 facelift.
You want an automatic gearbox? The Volkswagen Group’s excellent DSG dual-clutch is available with the 108bhp 1.2 TSI and 89bhp 1.4 TDI. They’re reasonably plentiful and a 2015-reg 1.2 TSI 110 DSG with 30,000 miles costs around £7600 at a Skoda dealer. In 2017, just before the facelift, the 1.2 TSI petrols were replaced by torquier and more efficient 1.0 TSI units making 94bhp and 108bhp. As before, the more powerful engine has a six-speed gearbox and is our favourite for its better all-round performance. Pay from £7000 for an approved used 2017-reg 1.0 TSI 95 with 26,000 miles.
When it finally came, the facelift signalled the end of the 1.0 MPI 60 as well as both the diesel engines. The 1.0 MPI 75 was spared along with the new 1.0 TSI units. Meanwhile, the styling was tweaked and daytime running lights were added. SE-L trim was the biggest winner, gaining sat-nav and 16in alloys.