The Fabia may be moderately nippy, but moderately exciting it isn’t. Skoda’s intention, as clear as those new creases in the bonnet, has been to make the car comfortable, stable, predictable and easy-handling – a small car that you can drive without investing much or thinking about it too hard, one that’ll ease your passage rather than pique your interest.
It isn’t the toughest of dynamic briefs and doesn’t make the Fabia the most broadly talented car in its class, but Skoda has nonetheless delivered on it well. The car rides relatively gently and calmly, the suspension doing a respectable job of soaking up disturbances, although it isn’t as sophisticated or quiet as that of the Polo or Ford Fiesta at low speeds.
The steering is only averagely incisive and low on feedback, but it’s faithful, consistently paced and free of interference.
The Fabia doesn’t exactly dart into bends, its directional responses being quite sedate for something so small and its body movements fairly languid. It contains roll well, though, and is perfectly reasonable at the kind of speeds at which Fabias will routinely be driven. Grip levels, while overtly configured for unfalteringly benign cornering, are good.
At higher out-of-town speeds and on turbulent country roads, the Fabia’s bias towards comfort and security rather than outright body control and handling precision becomes apparent, although never truly problematic.
A testing sequence of lumps and dips tackled fairly hard will bring out more exaggerated body movement than in the best-handling small cars, since the chassis lacks the deft, close primary ride control of the likes of the Fiesta and Renault Clio.
But ultimately, the Fabia is sufficiently well damped that it still feels like a well rounded, sophisticated customer, and its suspension seldom fails to take the edge off the sharpest, nastiest intrusions that you come across.