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 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.
The cheapest 75hp petrol model is slow at best - you’re better off paying a bit more for one of the perkier turbocharged versions
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.