The Skoda Fabia’s sensibly laid out cabin comes with a decent amount of standard equipment, but its numerous black plastic trims don’t feel particularly upmarket
The Skoda Fabia’s cabin isn’t particularly exciting to look at, but at least everything’s easy to use and the heating and ventilation controls are sensibly laid out.
There are fewer expensive-feeling soft-touch plastics dotted around the Skoda Fabia’s interior than you’ll find in a VW Polo or even a Ford Fiesta, however, and you have to pay extra for a high-spec car if you want some colourful plastic or cool brushed-metal effect dashboard trims.
That isn’t to say the Skoda Fabia feels cheap and flimsy – the dashboard and door trims feel like they’ll stand up to years of abuse and the various cubbyholes and door bins are equally sturdy.
Sporty Monte Carlo models inject a little more character into the Fabia’s slightly forgettable cabin. Eye-catching red contrast stitching is scattered about and you get a leather-trimmed steering wheel and stainless steel pedal trims as standard. Unfortunately, the carbon-fibre-effect trim on its more supportive sports seats looks and feels pretty tacky.
Rather than impress with flashy colours, fancy gadgets and posh materials, the Skoda Fabia brings loads of neat, genuinely useful family-oriented features to the small car party
All Fabias come with at least a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system built into the dashboard. Entry-level cars come with the Swing system, which features Bluetooth connectivity and DAB digital radio while mid-range versions get a much improved Swing Plus system with DAB digital radio and built-in smartphone mirroring.
The latter lets you use a selection of your phone’s apps – including navigation and music-streaming services – through the Skoda Fabia’s screen. They’re a doddle to use, work with both Apple and Android devices, and mean you needn’t worry about paying extra for Skoda’s own built-in sat nav.
If you do fork out for the upgraded system, you’ll find that Skoda’s own satellite navigation system is easy to program, and displays sharp, colourful maps. It’s a doddle to add a waypoint such as a petrol station, but the screen doesn’t respond quite as quickly as a SEAT Ibiza’s when you swipe to preview your route.
All the Fabia’s menus are logically laid out and have a nice big font so they’re easy to read on the move. The display isn’t quite as big or as bright as those in a VW Polo or Ford Fiesta, but switching between the system’s key features is just as easy thanks to eight handy shortcut buttons on the dashboard.
You can upgrade the Skoda Fabia’s standard six-speaker stereo system to a punchier Arkamys unit, but don’t expect it to rattle your passengers’ fillings – even with the volume cranked all the way up.
Speaking of passengers, the latest Fabia also comes with two USB ports between the front seats so those in the back can keep their phones topped up with juice.