From £10,51010
Improvements abound in Skoda’s new, third-generation Fabia estate

Our Verdict

Skoda Fabia

The new Fabia takes the old pragmatism upmarket. Does it work?

Nic Cackett
20 January 2015

What is it?

This is the latest version of Skoda’s Fabia estate, a car that is designed to offer a spacious and practical interior in conjunction with affordable running costs and a compact footprint.

It’s based on the recently launched third-generation Fabia hatchback, so uses elements of the previous Fabia’s platform and some from the more modern MQB platform used in a number of Volkswagen Group cars including the current VW Golf.

As well as more modern underpinnings, the new Fabia estate also benefits from a wider range of equipment, a new-generation engine line-up, improved aerodynamics, slightly improved interior space and reduced weight.

What's it like?

We tested an 89bhp four-cylinder 1.2-litre TSI turbocharged petrol version, with a manual gearbox and in flagship SE-L specification – which includes niceties such as climate control – and it quickly transpired that it was a very likeable car. For one thing, it’s a delight to drive thanks to its fine road manners and eager yet refined turbocharged engine.

Its steering may be a little light but it’s fast acting, precise and delivers just enough feedback let you know what’s happening up front. Traction and grip are rarely an issue, partly thanks to a standard XDS+ electronic differential system which, pleasingly, feels like an aid that works with you, rather than harshly adjusting your inputs to keep things in check.

The ride quality is acceptable, and body roll minimal in general driving, while the rest of the controls are easily judged and their responses prompt. It’s easy to drive, competent and safe, yet not entirely devoid of interest, in part thanks to the car's light-footed nature and eager TSI engine.

It’s this engine that Skoda expects to be one of the most popular. It delivers adequate punch in a smooth fashion and has enough mid-range torque to prevent you from having to change gears all the time. During hard acceleration it even emits a purposeful growl, adding to the Fabia’s endearing nature.

In the cabin you’ll find that there’s plenty of space up front and a decent range of adjustments for both the seats and steering column, making it easy to find a comfortable driving position. Visibility is good all round and about the only minor point is that the front seats could do with some additional side support. Sure, some of the materials used aren’t particularly tactile, but the flipside is that they should last well. Regardless, the cabin is smartly styled and neatly detailed for a small hatchback.

Even in the back there’s still a sensible amount of room, with just enough headroom for those up to six feet tall and, equally, acceptable leg room if you’ve a six-foot-tall driver in the front. You can just about sit three adults abreast, too, if the need arises.

There’s a vast amount of storage space on offer. The Fabia estate offers a 530-litre boot with the rear seats up, or 1395 litres with the seats folded down. For comparison, a larger Ford Focus estate offers 476 and 1502 litres respectively. There are myriad other practical touches around, such as a load bay cover, a parking ticket holder and numerous storage points.

Should I buy one?

Ultimately there’s very little in the way of direct competition for the Skoda Fabia Estate, outside of the Seat Ibiza ST – a car launched some five years ago, and one that feels predictably dated alongside the new Skoda.

So if you’re looking for a new and eminently practical small estate car, it’s well worth considering this new Fabia, and particularly with this powertrain. It may even be worthy of consideration by those looking at larger estates, such as the aforementioned Focus, thanks to its comparable load bay volume.

Skoda Fabia Estate 1.2 TSI 90 SE L

Price £15,385; Engine 4 cyls, 1197cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 89bhp at 4400-5400rpm; Torque 118lb ft at 1400-3500rpm; Gearbox 5-spd manual; Kerb weight 1109kg; Top speed 115mph; 0-62mph 11.0sec; Economy 60.1mpg; CO2/tax band 107g/km, 14 per cent

Join the debate

Comments
13

20 January 2015
Seats not folding completely flat is annoying in a hatchback, unforgivable in an estate!
Is it me, are all VAG cars looking more and more alike, despite the number of badges and models, features, shapes, detailing all the same.

20 January 2015
..with the false floor in it's highest position the boot will be flat or almost? I totally agree with your point tho, as a dog owner I have to have a flat floor and on recently looking at new possibilities, discovered some of the apertures/cup holders etc that are open or proud on the seat backs could literally break a dogs leg when the boot is extended - as in the new Mondeo estate. And it's not the only one, most car interior designers obviously not animal owners...

20 January 2015
The Focus may not have the biggest boot, but due to its suspension design it has no intrusion, the boot floor is level with the bumper meaning their is no lip to contend with. Perfect for my dog

A34

21 January 2015
Notwithstanding dog owners (mine goes in the boot with rear seats up - if you need more space for bigger doggies maybe get a vanalike like a Torneo), the Fabia estate looks like a winner, subject to pricing (i.e. list is highish but I'd be looking for up to 20% discounts coming). Good engine: check. Reasonable space: check. OK looks: check. Handles OK: check. Now Skoda needs to put in the 1.4 ACT and 150bhp to make a VRs-go-alike...

11 July 2015
nivison wrote:

most car interior designers obviously not animal owners...

Such a silly comment. I think the aim is designing cars for people, not animals. As for dog lovers... ever heard of dog car harnesses or do not care about your animal being thrown around? Or I supposed you could always stick wheels on the dog kennel and tow it, saves the dog listening to folk moaning for the sake of it.

20 January 2015
Further more, the price of this Skoda 1.2 brand new, is not far off what I paid for a year old 9k miles Focus Tiatnium X 2.0tdci 163 with a full spec. I know which gives me the best value for money....

A34

21 January 2015
... with a year old Fabia estate too (ie its a pretty daft comment on a new car review to say a second hand one would be better value for you - thats true for pretty much any car, including your Focus when IT was new!).

21 January 2015
It's a testament to Skoda designers that a supermini estate like this new Fabia has more bootspace than the Ford from the next sector up. Great looking, very keenly priced and should sell like hotcakes.

21 January 2015
Britain's cheapest estate Dacia Logan beats this Skoda for space and value two to one. But Lewis Kingston has carefully avoided mentioning that. Won't be able to justify 5 stars if he did.

21 January 2015
The Logan beats nothing, only rustiest car of the year award. Dacia have nowhere near the build quality, the specification or the looks of the Fabia. Dacia are just where Skoda was 20 years ago with the Felicia. Every single Skoda in their line-up has 5-star crash safety rating, top safety features etc. Put your kids in a new Dacia and their safety would be the same as that of a 15 year old car - poor. Skoda Fabia is the What Car COTY for a reason.

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