- Excellent to drive
- Cheap to run
- Great value
- More interior space
- Highly practical
- Cheap interior plastics
- Reserved design
- Diesel clatters
- 1-litre lacks power
It’s difficult to imagine a better car for a young family than the Skoda Fabia Estate. It’s practical, cheap to run, easy to drive and crammed full of useful features that are sure to make life easier. Skoda’s mantra – ‘Simply Clever’ – is brilliantly applied here, and it’s difficult to argue with the value for money on offer either. The car is actually wider and longer than before, yet is also up to 65kg lighter depending on trim and engine.
We’re also very impressed with the way this car drives. It’s not a sporty car, but it’s characterful, fun, refined and feels very well put together. It’s so good, in fact that we’re struggling to think of a reason not to recommend it to anyone who needs a car with a small footprint and acres of space inside.
Rivals are a little thin on the ground. The SEAT Ibiza ST is about the only genuine competition in this sector, but we’d suggest cars like the Kia Soul or Nissan Note might appeal to the same demographic too.
Loads of kit and engine options
There’s a trio of trim levels available and even base-spec S models get an impressive array of attributes such as DAB digital radio, electric front windows, air-conditioning and Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity as standard.
You’ve a choice of four engine options and a range of gearboxes – both five- and six-speed manuals along with a seven-speed DSG automatic.
Check the Performance section to find out in detail why we prefer the engine that’s expected to be most popular - the 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine in its lower 88bhp guise. Capable of seriously reasonable running costs yet not feeling short-changed for performance, it’s a peach of a powertrain but the beauty of it is you’re also going to reap the benefits of low CO2 emissions (107g/km) and high fuel economy, since its claimed figure is a whisker over 60mpg. That’s impressive indeed for a petrol engine.
For the lowest running costs the diesel is probably a better bet, but only if you’re doing serious mileage. In any other situation the petrol engines will probably work better.
Safe as houses
As well as a huge amount of equipment for your pleasure, Skoda has also gone to town on the safety aspects of the new car’s design, with the net result being a five-star EuroNCAP crash safety rating. There are six airbags on all Fabia Estates, two ISOFIX child seat lashing points in the rear along with a range of more advanced systems on SE and SE-L models including a driver fatigue warning system, a speed limiter and a low-speed automatic braking system.
Deliveries begin in March, but for the inside line on what this car is really like, read on for our full Skoda Fabia Estate review.