Skoda has boosted the Fabia line-up with a new variant, the Colour Edition. Is it worth the premium over SE spec? We drive it on UK roads

What is it?

This Skoda Fabia's Colour Edition designation sits it above SE trim level, offering a slightly more youthful appearance as well as more equipment for a small premium. It’s available with either the 74bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine or the turbocharged 1.2-litre unit with 89bhp.

For the extra £540 this Colour Edition costs to buy over SE, you get a contrasting colour for the roof, mirrors and 16in alloy wheels. Also on the list are LED daytime running lights and cruise control.

The rest of the package is exactly the same as before. That shouldn't be a bad thing, however; the Fabia is still spacious and frugal, if not the most exciting thing in the world to drive compared with its supermini rivals. 

What's it like?

You can’t spec this Colour Edition model with the most powerful 108bhp version of Skoda's 1.2 turbocharged petrol engine, but the 89bhp lump is still plenty quick enough in most situations. Sure, it can feel a little strained if you ask it to perform a high-speed overtake, but there’s enough poke to get it up to motorway speeds painlessly.

In town, the engine is torquey enough to make easy progress from low revs. Should you need a bit more pace, changing down a gear in search of its sweet spot is no hardship; the gearbox is precise if light in its action. The Fabia's five ratios are spread far apart, true, but there’s enough grunt to avoid this being an issue.

As for the handling, there’s plenty of grip, but it’s unlikely you’ll have much in the way of fun. The steering is precise but fails to inform you of what the front tyres are doing, while it never feels agile in the same way a Fiesta does. It doesn’t turn in as keenly, and you’ll never feel the rear of the car helping it around corners. The ride remains well damped but noisy at times. 

But fun has never been the Fabia’s forté. Instead, practicality is where the Skoda really scores. The boot is much bigger than those you get in a Ford Fiesta or Volkswagen Polo, while it’s also wider than many rivals. This makes squeezing three adults onto the rear bench an easier prospect, if not ultimately an outright comfortable one. 

Those up front will also appreciate the quality - albeit rather utilitarian - feel to the interior. Yes, there’s a generous helping of hard plastics, but that's to be expected from a car costing this amount of money. More importantly, all the controls work with precision and everything is laid out in a sensible manner.

As for the Colour Edition goodies, you'd really have to love a two-tone paint job and colour-coded wheels to opt for this trim level. The additional £540 seems reasonable if you factor in the styling changes but looks quite expensive if you’re only bothered by the cruise control and running lights.

Should I buy one?

As before, there are a lot of reasons to recommend the Fabia. There’s loads of room inside, it feels well put together and you get plenty of equipment for your money. As with other Skoda models, it isn’t the last word in excitement but it handles tidily enough.

If we’re being sensible, the extra cost of the Colour Edition doesn’t seem worth it. SE models already get the kit you need, so you end up paying for the individuality the two-tone colour scheme and bigger wheels bring.

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Of course, there's no doubt that the changes will make the Fabia look more stylish to plenty of eyes. With similar customisation so popular with the likes of Mini, we can see it being a popular choice, but it isn’t enough to persuade us to pick one over the better-handling Ford Fiesta.

2016 Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI Colour Edition

Location Oxfordshire; On sale Now; Price £13,990; Engine 4 cyls, 1197cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 89bhp at 4400-5400rpm; Torque 118lb ft at 1400-3500rpm; Gearbox 5-spd manual; Kerb weight 1034kg; Top speed 113mph; 0-62mph 10.9sec; Economy 60.1mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 107g/km, 18%

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TegTypeR 4 April 2016

There is a market for this

There is a market for this car and Skoda UK have hit the nail on the head perfectly with it. No it's not exciting but if you are a canny buyer and don't want the default VW option this is the car for you.

Dare I say it - it shouts middle aged / older buyer wanting something a little funky.

xxxx 1 April 2016

A few dollars more

For 8%'ish more you could have a 5 door Audi A1, for £705 more you could get a 5dr Polo Match both which would depreciate less. For the same money you could get a Vitara with a more powerful 1.6 engine, cruise control and climate control
xxxx 31 March 2016

why not take

£14,000 and flush it down the toilet, you'd get more enjoyment.
Mini2 1 April 2016

You driven one?

xxxx wrote:

£14,000 and flush it down the toilet, you'd get more enjoyment.

I suspect not. I test drove a Fabia the other week and was honestly pleasantly surprised. If you genuinely love driving, I think you can have fun in anything.