The Fabia is still the most affordable of the Volkswagen Group supermini quadruplets and nowhere are you reminded more clearly of that fact than in the interior. The only soft-touch materials in our mid-range SE Comfort test car are the seats, carpets, gearlever, steering wheel and little patch of fabric on the door card arm rest. The £2000-more-expensive SE L does add some more decorative fabric to the dashboard.
It’s not a plush cabin by any means, but it manages to feel cohesive. The design is modern, everything feels solidly put together and it appears the stylists were let off the leash a little bit with the plastics’ textures, whose geometric Saffiano style is an interesting change from the usual fossilised elephant skin.
The usability is almost beyond reproach, too. All the major controls are adjusted by using chunky physical buttons and dials. A digital gauge cluster is available on some versions, but the beautifully clear analogue gauges fit in perfectly with the back-to-basics theme. The small black and white screen between the dials is the only thing here that feels outdated, but at least it’s easy to navigate. In all, the Fabia will appeal to those irritated by all the – occasionally frivolous – tech that’s becoming common even in small cars.
Whether the Fabia still counts as a small car is debatable, though. The current generation’s growth spurt is particularly evident in the interior. The old Fabia was already one of the roomiest superminis and the new one successfully defends that title. In fact, it’s spacious enough to trouble the smaller end of the segment above, offering more leg room and boot space than the Renault Mégane.