Skoda Fabia Estate review
The Skoda Fabia Estate is one of the roomiest small estate cars you can buy, but it’s far from exciting to look at and many conventional hatchbacks are more fun to drive
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The Skoda Fabia Estate is one of the smallest estate cars you can buy but it still comes packed with lots of clever features designed to make it easy to live with. If you don’t need such a big boot in your new small car, you can also get it as a conventional five-door hatchback.
The current Skoda Fabia Estate was launched in 2014 but received a few choice updates to keep it looking fresh in 2018. The latest model comes with some restyled bumpers, brighter LED headlights and an upgraded 6.5-inch infotainment display instead of the old car’s standard 5.0-inch screen.
Unchanged for this new Skoda Fabia Estate is how robust its cabin feels. The plastic door and dashboard trims feel sturdier than in alternatives and you can get high-spec models with some brushed metal or textured red plastic inserts to brighten things up a bit.
Sadly none of these features come in the most basic Skoda Fabia Estates – which look pretty drab as a result. Thankfully, you do at least get a 6.5-inch infotainment display and Bluetooth connectivity as standard.
Pick a mid-range Skoda Fabia Estate with the upgraded Swing Plus infotainment system and you get smartphone mirroring, while cars with the top-spec Amundsen system get a portable wifi hotspot for two phones or tablets. Each system is intuitive to use and features clear – if not particularly high-resolution – graphics.
You don’t just get a decent amount of kit as standard – the Skoda Fabia Estate’s practicality outstrips that of many much larger cars. There’s plenty of space for very tall drivers to stretch out in the front and enough space in the back for six-foot-tall passengers to get comfy, too. Three kids will fit with room to spare and lifting in a bulky child seat is a doddle thanks to the Skoda Fabia Estate’s wide rear door openings.
Thankfully, the roominess of the Skoda Fabia Estate’s cabin is matched by its pretty capacious boot – for such a small car, at least. It even comes with a plethora of handy hooks, tether points and nets to stop things rolling around when you’re driving.
The Skoda Fabia Estate takes a pragmatic approach to being a small car – it doesn’t come with any frills, just a spacious cabin and a whopping great boot
Not that you’ll be driving particularly fast in the Skoda Fabia Estate, mind you – especially in the 75hp petrol model. Go for a more powerful turbocharged version, however, and it’ll cruise along quite happily on an occasional motorway jaunt.
Sadly, you can’t get it with a diesel engine, but the most powerful 110hp petrol models come with the option of an automatic gearbox to help make driving the Skoda Fabia Estate in heavy traffic that bit less stressful.
At slow speeds, the Skoda Fabia Estate’s fairly soft suspension helps to absorb most bumps, but large potholes still send a thud through your seat. It leans more than most small cars in tight corners, too.
Thankfully, things get smoother at speed, and you can rest assured knowing that the Fabia hatchback – on which the Fabia Estate’s based – earned a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2014. The crash-tests have been made much stricter since then, however, but the Skoda Fabia Estate’s still well worth considering if you’re looking for a compact car that’s easy to drive and very practical.
The Skoda Fabia Estate’s a small, yet surprisingly spacious, car. There’s loads of room in the back seats and the boot, but the sports seats in Monte Carlo versions eat into rear passenger legroom
The Skoda Fabia Estate comes packed with plenty of neat features designed to make your life easier – including a hidden umbrella and a removable waste bin that clips into the front door pocket
You won’t have any trouble getting comfortable in the Skoda Fabia Estate – even if you’re very tall. There’s plenty of head and legroom in the front and you get seat-height adjustment as standard to help you find your ideal seating position – unlike in the Dacia Logan MCV. Go for an SE model or above, and you get this feature for the front passenger’s seat, too.
Both front seats come with a decent amount of back support, but you can upgrade to more heavily bolstered sports seats in SE L cars. These come as standard in Monte Carlo versions, but no Skoda Fabia Estate comes with the option of adjustable lumbar support to help reduce back ache on long journeys.
It’s a doddle for your passengers to climb in the back seats thanks to the Skoda Fabia Estate’s large rear doors and relatively flat roofline. Once they’re onboard, they’ll find there’s a good amount of space to stretch out, too. There’s easily enough head and legroom to carry two six-footers, but sitting three tall adults side-by-side is a tighter squeeze. It’s no more cramped than in the Dacia Logan MCV, however.
Three kids will fit with room to spare and you get two sets of Isofix anchor points as standard which make it simple to attach a pair of child seats. The wide rear door openings and taller roofline make lifting a child seat in easier than in the Skoda Fabia hatchback, too.
The Skoda Fabia isn’t just great at carrying passengers, there’s room inside for a wide assortment of family bits and bobs, too. The door bins can easily hold a large bottle of water and you also get a pair of cupholders in the centre console. Under the dashboard you’ll find a storage tray that’s perfect for holding your mobile phone – go for a Monte Carlo model and this comes with a light to help you find things at night, too.
SE cars and above come with a folding umbrella tucked under the front passenger seat, but only SE L and Monte Carlo versions come with a front armrest and an extra storage tray as standard. You can get this feature fitted to other models, however, but it’ll cost you extra.
Another option that’s well worth paying for is the Simply Clever pack. This comes with a luggage net, a phone holder and a small removable bin that slots neatly into the front door pocket.
The Skoda Fabia Estate’s 530-litre boot is a whopping 200 litre larger than the Skoda Fabia hatchback’s, but it lags slightly behind the even more capacious Dacia Logan MCV’s boot. There’s still absolutely loads of space in the boot to carry a bulky baby buggy, some large suitcases or a set of golf clubs, however.
The boot’s pretty easy to load thanks to its wide opening and square shape, but there is a slight load lip that can get in the way when you’re loading very large, bulky items. If you need to carry very long luggage and a back-seat passenger at once, you can fold the back seats down in a two-way (60:40) split in all Skoda Fabia Estates.
With both back seats folded down, the Skoda Fabia Estate’s boot grows to a massive 1,395 litres. That’s more than big enough to carry a bike with both its wheels attached, but still not quite as spacious as the loadbay you get in the Dacia Logan MCV. There’s also a slight step in the floor behind the back seats that can make sliding very heavy boxes onboard a bit of a pain.
You get a couple of luggage hooks in the boot to stop your shopping rolling around and there’s also an optional adjustable boot floor that makes it easier to load and unload heavy luggage. With this raised, there’s also just enough space under the boot floor to hide away a few soft bags. Pay extra for the Simply Clever pack and you also get a luggage net and movable divider to help stop small items rolling around as you drive along.
The Skoda Fabia Estate’s easy to drive and pretty economical, but some conventional family hatchbacks are more comfortable and significantly more fun to drive
The cheapest 75hp petrol model is slow at best - you’re better off paying a bit more for one of the perkier turbocharged versions
The Skoda Fabia Estate comes with three petrol engines and the option of a manual or automatic gearbox. Whichever combination you go for, you’ll find the Fabia focusses on being easy to drive and efficient rather than fun and sporty.
The 1.0-litre MPI version with just 75hp is only worth considering if you rarely venture out of town. It struggles under hard acceleration and takes a very leisurely 15.2 seconds to reach 62mph from rest – pack the back seats with passengers and the boot with luggage and it’ll take significantly longer. It’s not all bad news, however – it’s relatively smooth once you’re up to speed and it’ll return around 45mpg in normal driving conditions.
One of the 1.0-litre turbocharged TSI models will be a much better bet if you do a mix of city and motorway journeys. These come with 95hp and 110hp outputs, so they feel much perkier than the sedate 75hp model – they’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds and 9.7 seconds respectively and return around 55mpg in normal driving conditions.
Whichever model you choose, you get a manual gearbox as standard. Pick a 110hp version, however, and you can get it with a DSG automatic instead. It helps take some of the stress out of long traffic jams, but can be a little jerky at slow speeds and occasionally changes up too soon when you accelerate hard which makes the Skoda Fabia Estate feel a bit lethargic.
The Skoda Fabia Estate’s large windows mean you get a very good view out and its light steering makes it a doddle to navigate through tight city streets. You get rear parking sensors as standard in SE models and above, too, so you won’t have any trouble squeezing it into small parking spaces.
The Skoda Fabia Estate’s reasonably soft suspension does a pretty good job ironing out potholes, but it still bounces slightly over particularly rough roads – most noticeably when you’re driving slowly. When you’re cruising along the motorway, however, it’s more relaxing and you won’t hear too much wind or tyre noise.
Head off the motorway and onto a country lane, and you’ll find that the Skoda Fabia Estate leans quite a lot in corners. As a result, your passengers in the back may start to feel a little car sick on long drives. This is less apparent in sportier Monte Carlo versions with their lowered suspension.
The Skoda Fabia hatchback – on which this estate model is based – earned a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP back in 2014. These crash-tests have been made significantly stricter since then, however, but the Fabia Estate will still offer more protection in a crash than the three-star-rated Dacia Logan MCV.
Go for an SE model or above and you get automatic emergency braking and a speed limiter as standard, while high-spec Monte Carlo versions come with cruise control, too. For extra peace of mind you can pay extra for cross-traffic-alert systems and blind-spot monitoring to help prevent avoidable collisions.
Everything in the Skoda Fabia Estate’s cabin is easy to use and you get plenty of equipment as standard, but some of its hard-wearing plastics aren’t as posh as in alternatives
Skoda Fabia Estate colours
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