- Looks sharper
- Drives better
- More equipment
- Extra space
- Interior plastics
- Still slightly staid styling
- Poor performance from base engines
Bigger, loaded with more equipment and better to drive, the new Skoda Fabia is also a few kilos lighter. While that’s normally a statement more pertinent to Supercars than Superminis, it makes the baby Skoda even more efficient. Perfect for the newly cost-conscious world we live in.
With a wide range of engines, VW Group quality and sharp new styling, the Czech firm is hoping its new car will finally be able to topple the popular Ford Fiesta or new Vauxhall Corsa from the top of buyers’ wish lists.
The exterior dimensions of this new Skoda Fabia haven’t altered dramatically, and in fact nose-to-tail it’s now 8mm shorter than before. However there’s an extra 90mm in its width, while the roof sits 31mm closer to the ground. The result is a car that looks squatter and wider, and much more purposeful than the slim-hipped previous model.
Inside is where the largest impact of these changes occur though, as the cabin space is now 8mm longer, while the most noticeable difference is in width, with enough room for full-size adults to avoid rubbing shoulders up front. The rear bench is usefully accommodating too, with plenty of headroom and good legroom available.
Behind you’ll discover the 330-litre boot, which is almost as large as that found in cars from a sector above, which can be easily converted into a 1,150-litre space. It’s usefully shaped too, with a wider hatch opening than before, helping with larger items.
Diesel and Petrol engines
For the new Fabia Skoda has introduced an all-new line up of engines, with four petrol engines and two diesels (with a revised diesel Greenline model to come later in 2015) to choose from.
Starting the list is the basic 1.0-litre MPI three-cylinder with 59bhp , which promises 60.1mpg and just 106g/km of CO2 emissions. It’s full of character, but woefully slow and only really suited to light loads or inner-city use, as out of town it soon struggles to keep pace with the rest of traffic. You’ll need to choose this model though if you feel compelled to boast about the Fabia’s sub one-tonne kerbweight, as all other models tip the scales at slightly more.
The more powerful 74bhp version of this same engine drops the 0-62mph by one second, and manages 58.9mpg. It’s the 1.2-litre TSI four cylinder with 88bhp that is the sweetest of the lot though, with ample performance, great refinement and the ability to return over 60mpg as well as emitting less than 110g/km of CO2. The 1.2-litre TSI with 108bhp, also available with the DSG automatic gearbox, is just as sweet but more expensive and less efficient.
Diesel engines aren’t likely to make up much of the majority of Fabia hatch sales, but that’s not to say they should be dismissed – especially for those covering larger distances. Both are three-cylinder 1.4-litre engines, with a characterful thrum throughout the experience and either 88bhp or 108bhp. They feel pleasantly willing, though some may find them a little vocal, and both return over 80mpg and emit the same 109g/km. Only the least powerful comes with the DSG ‘box option though.
By adding more standard equipment to the Fabia’s arsenal, Skoda is hoping to tempt even more buyers into the brand. Even the base-model S comes well equipped with Bluetooth, DAB radio, electric front windows, Stop/Start, heated door mirrors and six airbags all fitted as standard. In fact the only item missing off the essential list is air-conditioning, which you’ll need the SE trim for.
In a bid to snare younger buyers than would traditionally purchase a Fabia, the firm is offering a range of personalisation options, including the Colour Concept system which offers 15 different body colours mixed with three choices for the wheels, rood and exterior mirrors (with more hues on the way). The interior offers a similar mixture of material, colour and trim choices.
Available from dealers early in 2015 from £12,760, read the full Parkers Skoda Fabia review to find out just why it deserves your attention.