- Huge 530-litre boot
- More tech than ever
- Loads of clever touches
- Cheap to run and finance
- Rear seats don't fold completely flat
- Just one engine in range
- Long gearing means frequent ratio changes
- Not the most exciting drive
The Skoda Fabia Estate is an unusual thing: a roomy estate car based on a small supermini. It seems like a tautology, but it works well in practice, surprising you with just how much space can be squeezed into such a small footprint.
It’s rare indeed, since almost all rival mini estates have dried up from the UK market, save the Dacia Logan MCV. Brits can no longer buy competitors such as the Renault Clio Sport Tourer or SEAT Ibiza ST wagons. The closest you’ll get otherwise is the versatile Honda Jazz hatchback or the swelling ranks of baby SUVs and crossovers.
The range was facelifted in summer 2018 and you can see our latest Skoda Fabia hatchback review here or read on to find out what we made of its more practical, bigger-booted estate version.
What makes the Skoda Fabia Estate so practical?
The estate version adds a more practical rear end and the car is around 20cm, or eight inches, longer than its hatchback brethren. The result is spectacular boot space for such a small car: it can swallow 530 litres of luggage with the rear seats in place.
Fold them down (a slightly fiddly process; they don’t easily fold completely flat) and bootspace expands to an impressive 1,395 litres. Small cars simply don’t come any more capacious than this.
Engines and specs
Diesel engines used to be offered in the Skoda Fabia range but were dropped in summer 2018 as part of the mid-life facelift. Too few buyers were picking the option, so it’s petrol or nothing now.
There’s just one engine available, but the diminutive 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol comes in three states of tune: 75, 95 or 110hp. It has a unique three-cylinder noise, but is more refined than many downsized engines we’ve encountered.
Performance and economy
The Fabia Estate is a little heavier than its hatchback sibling, and performance is blunted a little as a result. You may notice this if you regularly carry lots of bodies and bags. But the more powerful outputs have perfectly acceptable acceleration and the 110hp engine is especially lively with 0-62mph in 9.7sec. That’s not quite hot hatch fast, but performance is well judged.
We have yet to try the least powerful engine in the new Skoda Fabia Estate. We suspect the 75hp model may feel a little weedy; it’s telling that Skoda UK isn’t offering the 60hp model that Continental buyers can pick.
Long gearing is designed to boost economy and you often find yourself having to stir the gearlever of manual models to keep the engine stoked up. The pay-off is decent economy and the most frugal models will average 63mpg. This will be a cheap car to fuel and run.
The Skoda Fabia is missing some of the bells and whistles of newer rivals, but there’s still a smattering of clever touches in the cabin. It now comes with blindspot detection to flash up a warning light in your mirrors if a car is lurking over your shoulder and there’s a bigger 6.5-inch colour display available on models with uprated sat-nav.
But we’re more interested in Skoda’s famous practical touches: there’s a clever ice scraper built into the fuel filler flap, you can order a dustbin in your door pocket and the Fabia Estate has a rechargeable torch built into the tailgate (it’s magnetic and can be attached to the bodywork to help with nighttime manoeuvres or a flat tyre repair).
Also new from 2018 onwards is a double-sided boot liner that can flip from wipe-clean plastic surface for carrying muddy or wet items to a comfier carpet when transporting shopping or animals. Rear-seat passengers benefit from twin USB chargers too.
What’s the 2018 Skoda Fabia Estate like to drive?
Very grown up. It rides well, absorbing all but the worst road scars, and it steers, stops and goes with a real maturity. It might be based on older VW Group oily bits, but this is a remarkably rounded car to drive.
If you want thrills and dynamic fizz, look elsewhere, but the Skoda Fabia Estate is a very sensible family option, especially if you need a little more space for the clutter of daily life.
The Parkers Verdict
The Skoda Fabia Estate is an impressive - and distinctive - small estate car. Now that rivals have withdrawn their compact wagons from UK sale, it is effectively in a class of one. And the fact it offers Mondeo space in a Focus-sized footprint at Fiesta money makes it something of a steal. There’s little flair here, but plenty of functional appeal.