From £12,30510
Improvements abound in Skoda’s new, third-generation Fabia estate
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.

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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

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Jimbbobw1977 22 January 2015

Recently needed to transport

Recently needed to transport a large freezer, had a choice to use the current Skoda Superb estate or my MK3 Focus estate.

I chose the Superb, however it would not fit in with the boot closed and sloping tailgate design. Thought I would try the Focus, went in no problems at all.

It's not all about the amount of litres of space more the design of it.

bowsersheepdog 11 February 2015

Broken record....broken Fords

Jimbbob sounds like a desperate Ford salesman whose customers have finally realized that they're all rubbish, so he's trolling a review of a decent car, trying to make out like a Focus has any merit whatsoever in comparison.
scotty5 11 July 2015

Size doesn't matter.

Probably the most sensible comment I've read in years. As I've been trying to tell my partner for years, size doesn't matter. I can't tell you how brilliant the design of my V70 was, just little things that never get reported in reviews. I really didn't require that amount of space therefore I bought the V50 assuming Volvo knew what it was doing. On the practicality front it was a disaster, designed by some kid straight out of college. You're absolutely right, every reviewer marks the Focus estate down for space, but stats are useless when it comes to estates.
fadyady 21 January 2015

Dacia Logan beats it for space

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.
skorob 21 January 2015

The Logan beats nothing, only

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.
skorob 21 January 2015

Fabialous

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.