The Skoda Fabia’s cheap to run, very easy to drive and fairly comfortable, but if it’s fun on an empty country road you’re after, you’d be better off with something else
You can get the Fabia with three petrol engines and with either a manual gearbox or a DSG dual-clutch automatic. All models are designed to be efficient and easy to drive rather than sporty, however, so don’t expect them to be particularly exciting to drive.
The most affordable 1.0-litre MPI model with 75hp is worth considering if you’re on a strict budget and spend most of your time pottering around town. It feels pretty slow when you accelerate hard, but it’s relatively smooth and fairly cheap to run. Go easy on the accelerator and it’ll return around 45mpg.
The entry-level 75hp petrol is best avoided if you ever venture near motorways
Pick a 1.0-litre TSI petrol model if you do a broader mix of town and country driving. It’s available with either 95hp or 110hp and both versions feel far perkier than the sluggish 75hp MPI model. These turbocharged engines will both return around 55mpg in normal driving conditions.
All Fabias come with a manual gearbox as standard, but you can upgrade to a DSG automatic in 110hp versions to help take the stress out of long journeys and long traffic jams. It’s a little jerky at slow speeds, however, and often changes up a gear too quickly when you accelerate out of a junction which can make the automatic Skoda Fabia feel a little sluggish.
The Skoda Fabia’s boxy body makes it easy to see out of and a breeze to thread through tight city streets. Its light steering and rear parking sensors – standard on SE models and above – help make it easy to park, too.
The Skoda’s suspension does its best to soften the blow of large potholes but it still fidgets slightly over poorly maintained roads – especially at slow speeds. Head out of town and the Fabia settles down into a fairly comfy cruise. It’s smoothest on the motorway and you don’t hear too much wind or tyre noise.
Unfortunately, the Fabia leans quite a lot in tight corners – your passengers in the back may start to feel a little car sick as a result. This is less of an issue in sportier Monte Carlo model with their lowered suspension. Speaking of Monte Carlo versions, the larger 18-inch alloy wheels you can get on these range-topping cars are best avoided – they look great but they’ll make the Skoda Fabia less comfortable to drive.
Euro NCAP awarded the Skoda Fabia a five-star safety rating in 2014. The tests have been made significantly stricter since then, however, so newer five-star-rated models – such as the Nissan Micra – will offer extra protection in a crash.
SE models and above come with a speed limiter and automatic emergency braking features while SE L, Colour Edition and Monte Carlo models get cruise control as standard. You can also pay extra to get blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert systems to help prevent avoidable collisions on motorways and when you’re pulling out of parking spaces.