Skoda Fabia review

As small hatchbacks go, the Skoda Fabia is a very solid option. But it doesn’t feel as nice as alternatives, or offer an electric version.

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wowscore
7/10
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • All-round practicality
  • Very comfortable
  • Smart design

What's not so good

  • No electric version
  • Cabin quality isn’t the best
  • Not that exciting

Find out more about the Skoda Fabia

Is the Skoda Fabia a good car?

The Skoda Fabia is a small hatchback that shares its mechanical bits with the Volkswagen Polo and Seat Ibiza, but it has always been the most sensible option of the trio. It’s the most practical and usually the cheapest, but has never been the most exciting or upmarket version.

That direction has been continued here on the design front, with the new Fabia featuring Skoda’s recognisable Ned Flanders moustache-like grille, simple but effective creases and smart alloy wheels – nothing to set the heart ablaze, but completely inoffensive.

Inside it’s a similar story. It’s been smartened up compared to its predecessor, but it’s relatively simple. Dashes of colour, a large enough infotainment screen and enough space help this cabin do the job, but you’ll find a fair amount of scratchy plastics.

You’ll be able to get comfortable very quickly though, as the Fabia has plenty of adjustment so you can find the right position. Add to that the comfort seats, which are excellent on longer journeys, and you’ve got an interior that definitely ranks function over form.

Passengers will also be pretty happy as rear space is good. There’s plenty of head and legroom, while there’s easy access to Isofix points for child seats.

The Fabia’s boot is also very practical. This class-leading one has 380 litres on hand, which is very impressive for a car of this size. It beats the Volkswagen Polo by around 30 litres, but it smashes the Ford Fiesta by almost 90 litres. That’s extended to 1,190 litres when folding the rear seats down – but you’ll need to buy the optional variable boot floor for a flat space.

It’s a shame there’s no electric version, but the Fabia is a small hatchback worthy of your consideration.

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

Under the bonnet, you get the choice of three petrol power options. The entry, 1.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol develops 80hp, while the 95hp and 110hp versions are offered from a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol. The two least powerful engines get a five-speed manual, while the 110hp can be paired to a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic transmission.

One thing that’s certainly missed is an electric or hybrid option. In this day and age, small hatchbacks are the perfect type of car for zero-emission power as they’re in and around towns the most, so it’s a shame Skoda has suffered from a bit of oversight here.

Although performance isn’t too important with the Fabia, the 110hp option is the only one to go sub-10 seconds for its 0-60mph time – while it can reach a top speed of 125mph.

Where it performs well is in town, as the short wheelbase helps make manoeuvring easy. Its turning circle is under 11 metres, making turning in and out of junctions and tight spaces simple. Although the engines aren’t the most powerful, the turbo options are pretty peppy – making getting in and out traffic a breeze.

On the motorway, you won’t be complaining too much either. It feels stable and refined, with limited wind and tyre noise getting into the cabin. The suspension also soaks up almost any bumps you come into contact with – making this a great small car to take you long distances. Just don’t expect lots of fun when you reach a twisty back road.

The Skoda Fabia is definitely worth having in your small hatchback considerations and should be in your final selections. It may fall down on some plush materials and excitement, but it won’t disappoint for practicality.

If you want to see how much you could save on a new Skoda Fabia, check our deals page and configure your own model too.

How practical is it?

Skoda models have been consistently the most practical cars in each segment. The Fabia is no different and bests plenty of small hatchbacks. 

Boot (seats up)
380 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,190 litres

The Fabia manages to fit almost all people in comfort, as the space between the front and rear wheels has been extended. That means plenty of legroom in the front and – even with a panoramic sunroof that you get on higher spec versions – decent levels of headroom.

In the back it’s much the same story. Compared to alternatives, it’s really impressive and you can fit child seats without any hassle at all – as the Isofix points are easily accessible.

The Skoda streaks ahead of its alternatives  here too. The door bins are huge, so you can fit most large water bottles and there are decent cubby holes in the centre console. That being said, the arm rest only has a small space underneath – and you can’t move it either.

Rear storage space is also great, with the seat pockets getting two sections – the larger one you’d normally find and a small one that you can snuggly fit your smartphone in. Door bins are also great, while there are cupholders in the centre armrest.

In terms of boot space, the Fabia is impressive for a small cars. The 380-litre boot has a good shape and the lip isn’t too large either, while there are plenty of Skoda’s ‘Simply Clever’ features, such as hooks for bags and a hammock for your shopping – all very sensible and helpful.

Folding the rear seats down opens up a 1,190-litre space, but unless you spend a little extra, you don’t get a flat floor. The variable floor alongside other helpful storage upgrades is a £185 extra, so well worth it.

What's it like to drive?

Although it may not excite, the Fabia is comfortable and perfectly capable. It’s just a shame there’s no electric version.

You get the choice of three three-cylinder petrol options. The entry level naturally-aspirated option develops 80hp and 93Nm, which is only worth thinking about if you stay in town or need low insurance. . Skoda claims it’ll do 56.5mpg and emit 114g/km CO2.

The best choices lie between the 95hp and 110hp turbocharged engines, which offer enough performance and are just as economical as the smallest unit. The 95hp is teamed with a five-speed manual, while you get the choice of a six-speed manual and a seven-speed automatic with the 110hp.

Weirdly, the higher-powered option paired to the manual is the marginally more economical of the two. Skoda claims it’ll do 57.6mpg, while the 95hp does 56.5mpg – so it’s not a huge difference.

In terms of performance, the 110hp engine is the fastest from 0-60mph. It does the sprint in 9.6 seconds paired to the automatic transmission and is 0.1 seconds slower with the manual. Top speed is 125mph.

Currently there isn’t an electric version in the near-future, which is a real shame. Cars of this size are built for being EVs and it’s a shame there isn’t one here.

Skodas have never been the most exciting to drive and have focused more on comfort. That continues in this Fabia, but there is a little bit of fun to be had. It grips well through the corners when you push it on a back road and drives well enough when you push it. For excitement out of a small hatchback though, you’re better off with a Ford Fiesta or Mini.

That being said, the Fabia offers a fuss-free driving experience and it’s perfectly capable around town. It’s also really comfortable, with the suspension soaking up almost all bumps and imperfections. The large windows also provide good visibility , and although the mirrors have shrunk to make the Fabia more aerodynamic, you can see more than enough with them.

The steering doesn’t offer the most feel, but it’s light and you can easily get this in and out of small streets and spaces thanks to its small turning circle. It’s also accurate, so placing it won’t be a hassle.

Behind the wheel of the 110hp version, you’ll find that it has more than enough power to overtake, keep up in traffic and get you up to speed on the motorway without many issues. Where it can be a let down is refinement, as when you’re accelerating it can be quite rough and there’s a bit of vibration.

The DSG Automatic gearbox can be rather jerky at low speeds and it’s not as frugal on fuel compared to the manual. The shifts in the manual aren’t the smoothest, but it’s definitely the one we’d go for. If you really don’t want a manual, the DSG Auto does the job, but it’s only available on the 110hp engine.

Where the Fabia really impresses is the overall refinement. With additional sound-deadening, noise from outside is very minimal and when you’re cruising, tyre and wind noise doesn’t make a real impression.

What's it like inside?

Skoda doesn’t make the most exciting cabins, but the Fabia’s is smart enough. It lacks quality materials though.

Skoda Fabia colours

Metallic - Brilliant silver
Free
Metallic - Graphite grey
Free
Metallic - Moon white
Free
Metallic - Race blue
Free
Pearl - Black magic
Free
Solid - Energy blue
Free
Special solid - Candy white
Free
Exclusive paint - Phoenix orange
From £390
Exclusive paint - Velvet red
From £390
Next Read full interior review
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RRP £17,800 - £23,775 Avg. carwow saving £1,042 off RRP
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Monthly
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