Skoda Fabia Estate (2015-2017) review
The Skoda Fabia estate is a well-built supermini, with a much bigger boot than the hatchback it is based upon. Small estate cars are few and far between so the Fabia’s only direct rival is the SEAT Ibiza ST estate, although buyers should also consider the budget Dacia Logan and the roomy Nissan Note.
What's not so good
Find out more about the Skoda Fabia Estate (2015-2017)
The best fuel economy in the range goes to the 1.4-litre diesel, which gets more than 80mpg, but unless you cover a huge mileage the spritely (and cheaper to buy) 89hp 1.2-litre TSI petrol is a better bet. All are easy to drive and have reassuring handling but won’t provide much driver excitement.
If you’re not familiar with the Fabia range, you may be surprised to find just how much you get for your money – even basic S versions boast electric front windows, tyre pressure monitoring and DAB radio. We would spend a little extra on SE trim, though, which comes with air conditioning as standard.
Effectively a cut-price VW Polo, the Skoda Fabia estate is nicely built and has a huge boot
Have a look at our colour guide for help on choosing the right shade for your new Fabia and check a look at our size and dimensions guide too. Or, to add a little extra vibrancy to your one, check out the Skoda Fabia Colour Edition with some extra kit and great two-tone paint schemes.
If you want plenty of boot space, but don’t want a big car, the Skoda Fabia estate could well be the car for you. It has smart looks, a well-built interior, decent levels of standard equipment, cheap running costs and (ignoring the 1.0-litre petrol) peppy performance.
The Skoda Fabia estate can fit a remarkable amount of people and luggage inside, but it’s a bit of a squeeze if you want to get three passengers across the rear bench
You can't help but like something that gives you so much space for so little money
As well as the boot being bigger than the hatchback’s, the Fabia estate also offers more cabin space all around. There’s a good amount of room in the front, and passengers of six-foot or more are well catered for in the back seats, too. At a bit of a squeeze, you can even get three adults in the back without too much discomfort.
Even basic Fabia’s come with lots of interior storage that includes front door pockets big enough to take a large bottle of water and a glovebox that can also swallow a 1.5-litre bottle. The rear doors can take a small bottle of water, while SE and SE L models get pockets on the sides of the front seats that are ideal for a wallet or phone. If that lot isn’t enough, there’s always the Simply Clever Package (£65) that adds a wastebasket, a phone holder and a variety of nets for safely securing luggage in the boot. Standard kit includes a two-position parcel shelf, folding shopping hooks and 60:40 split rear seats.
That the Fabia has almost as much boot space as a Ford Mondeo does, but for a fraction of the price, shows where this car’s emphasis sits. The Fabia estate gives you a whopping 530-litres of boot space, and if you need to transport even bigger items you can fold the back seats down for even more room – 1,395 litres of it in total! A wide opening and small boot lip mean the Fabia’s boot is also easy to load. The £110 variable boot floor is a worthy addition because it means you can either have a deep load area or a completely flat floor that makes loading really easy. It’s difficult to imagine a better car for a young family than the Skoda Fabia estate
Although the manufacturer claims that 44 per cent of the new Fabia estate is based on VW’s high-tech MQB platform, the car is really a substantially re-worked version of the old model.
The 1.2-litre petrol blends zippy performance with penny-pinching fuel economy
The huge range of VW Group engines available with the Fabia serve as the proverbial feather in the little Skoda’s cap. The diesels return startling economy figures – nearly 80mpg in some models, but for most people the cheaper petrols make more sense.
The petrol engines offered here are a pair of 1.2-litre offerings and a 1.0-litre entry level unit. The two 1.2s have power ratings of 89 and 108hp.
The 1.0-litre unit isn’t exactly terrible, but it’s usually found in the smaller Skoda Citigo and feels a little overawed by the Fabia’s weight. Unless it’s really beyond your budget and you just need the Fabia’s practical spaciousness, skip the 1.0 and go for something bigger.
The less-powerful of the two 1.2-litre petrols is likely to be the most popular and its 89hp is enough to get the car from 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 113mph.
But if you regularly load your car up with people and their belongings – something that’s likely if you buying the estate – you’ll certainly feel the benefit of going for the 108hp version.
It completes the benchmark sprint in 9.6 seconds, while its top speed of 122mph means its has plenty of power in reserve for safe A-road overtakes.
As you would expect, none of the petrols are particularly expensive to run. All get fuel economy of around 60mpg.
The five-speed manual gearbox works extremely well with all engines, while the DSG auto on the bigger unit delivers lightning-fast gear changes, with no drawbacks in terms of performance or economy.
The diesel engines follow a similar format to the petrols, with what are effectively two different powered versions of the same unit. Both are 1.4-litres in capacity, with 89hp and 103hp. The slower model gets from 0-62mph in about a 11 seconds, while the more powerful car shaves a seconds off that. Both models can be specified with a DSG gearbox.
Although the smaller diesel still has adequate power, it’s a lot noisier than the 1.2-litre petrol. The diesels aren’t as fun or responsive as the petrols, although the better fuel economy (no worse that 74.3mpg) could win you over if you are doing a lot of miles per year and like driving at higher speeds.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing as it turns out, because this Fabia estate is lower and wider than the previous version. That means it’s a small car that is nippy and agile around town and a good car to drive on long journeys as well.
The biggest compliment you can give to the car is that you forget you are driving an estate when you are in it – you could just as easily be driving the hatchback. The car responds well to instructions, turns into corners quickly and with plenty of grip, and the steering is positive and well-weighted. There is a degree of body roll, but it is not excessive.
Sadly, the extra weight of the estate (compared to the hatchback) does become apparent on more challenging roads, with bumps being a little more noticeable than they are in some of the estate’s rivals.
What Skoda has done with the Fabia estate is really quite clever, as it delivers more space than just about anything else of its size.