The Skoda Fabia is a small car with a decent amount of space in the back and a fairly roomy boot, but alternatives are more exciting to look at and to drive
The Skoda Fabia is a small but practical small car that’s available with a selection of frugal engines and loads of clever interior features to make it easy to live with. You can also get it as an even more practical estate if you need to carry lots of bulky luggage.
The Skoda Fabia was introduced in 2014 and received a few subtle revisions in 2018. You can now get it with brighter LED headlights, and all models come with a 6.5-inch infotainment display instead of the old car’s smaller 5.0-inch unit.
What hasn’t changed is how robust the Skoda Fabia’s interior feels. The plastics on the doors and dashboard are more solid than in many alternatives and high-spec cars come with the option of some brighter red or posh-looking brushed-metal effect dashboard inserts. Unfortunately, entry-level models look comparatively dull with their plain black design, but at least they come with a 6.5-inch infotainment display and Bluetooth connectivity as standard.
Go for a mid-range Skoda Fabia with the upgraded Swing Plus infotainment option and you get smartphone mirroring while the range-topping Amundsen system comes with a portable wifi hotspot for up to two devices. Each system is easy to use, thanks to a selection of physical shortcut buttons and bright, clear menu graphics.
It doesn’t just come with a decent amount of equipment as standard, however – the Skoda Fabia’s an impressively practical little car, too. There’s more than enough space in the front for tall drivers to stretch out and there’s still enough room left over in the back for two six-foot-tall passengers to get comfy. Three kids have more than enough room to get comfortable and it’s a doddle to fit a pair of child seats using the standard Isofix points.
Don’t think this generous cabin has come at the expense of boot space. Sure, it’s not quite as roomy as a VW Polo or SEAT Ibiza, but the Fabia has a fairly big load bay which comes with numerous handy hooks, partitions and straps to hold your luggage securely. With the back seats folded there’s even room for a bike with one of its wheels attached.
Some small cars trade on their fancy looks and entertaining handling – not so the Skoda Fabia. Instead, this compact hatchback comes with loads of family-friendly features that help make it a doddle to live with
Unfortunately, driving the Skoda Fabia can feel a little like riding a bike – if you go for the rather sluggish 75hp petrol engine, that is. Pick one of the perkier turbocharged petrols and it feels perfectly happy pottering around town or cruising along on the odd motorway journey.
Unfortunately, while you can get a seven-speed automatic gearbox, you can’t get the Skoda Fabia with a diesel engine. As a result, you’ll be better off with a diesel-powered alternative if you regularly do lots of long motorway journeys.
Around town, the Skoda Fabia’s relatively soft suspension does a fairly decent job ironing out bumps, but very large potholes still send a rather unpleasant thud through the cabin. On a twisty country road, it doesn’t feel anywhere near as nimble as a Ford Fiesta, either.
Reassuringly, Euro NCAP awarded the Fabia a five-star safety rating in 2014 – it’s worth noting the tests have been made significantly stricter since then, however. That said, the Fabia’s still a safe small family car that’s well worth considering if you’re looking for something frugal and very practical considering its size.