Skoda Fabia (2018) facelift first drive review

PROS

  • Impressive interior space
  • More tech than before
  • Extremely practical car
  • Cheap to run and finance

CONS

  • Not the wildest update ever
  • Engines not hugely powerful
  • No hybrid, electric or diesel versions
  • Fiesta more fun to drive

Skoda Fabia review summary

Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

The Skoda Fabia is a solid, sensible choice in the supermini sector: one of those small hatchbacks that could suit many buyers looking for an affordable five-door compact car. Especially if you value functionality over fashion.

Also read: Skoa Fabia Estate (2018) review

It’s a rival to popular small models such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa, not to mention in-house rivals the Volkswagen Polo and SEAT Ibiza with whom it shares many of its oily bits.

Skoda Fabia 2018 side profile

You might consider the Fabia ahead of the competition on account of its roominess and a plethora of clever touches that abound in its cabin. Along with the Honda Jazz, it’s one of the most practical superminis on sale today. It was updated in summer 2018 and you can read on for our full Skoda Fabia review.

Which Skoda Fabia models can I choose from?

Here we’re focusing on the Fabia hatchback, available solely with a more practical five-door bodystyle (no three-door is offered). If you want even more space you should head over to our Skoda Fabia Estate review, which extols the virtue of this unusual small wagon’s even bigger boot.

The Czechs used to offer diesel engines in the Fabia but these were dropped halfway through 2018 as the range was consolidated into petrol-only engines. Blame the backlash against diesel and the fact that just 6% of Brits were ordering their Fabias as an oil-burner.

Engines and specs

So there is now only one engine available, although it comes in three states of tune: the 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine is commonplace across the VW Group and here it can be ordered with power outputs of 75, 95 or 110hp.

If three cylinders sounds like not enough, fret not: this is a well mannered engine and it’s remarkably well refined for one so small. It’s bang on trend, as most compact cars are now downsizing to this type of smaller engine.

Parkers has tested the two more powerful outputs and found both to offer more than adequate performance. The 110hp model, expected to be the joint bestseller in the UK, is a lively accomplice even on a demanding back road.

Skoda Fabia 2018 interior front seats

The long gearing is set up for economy, however, so you might find yourself having to stir the gearlever a lot to keep the engine on the boil. Most buyers pick the manual transmission, which has a nice, clean action; 15% upgrade to the DSG automatic gearbox, available only on the most powerful range-topper.

The 110hp model is capable of 0-62mph in 9.6sec, falling to 10.8sec and 14.9sec for the less muscular models in the range. The even feebler 60hp model available on the Continent isn’t offered in the UK.

Skoda Fabia running costs and economy

One advantage of the smaller, 999cc engines is reduced running costs. Mechanically, little changed in the 2018 Fabia facelift and Skoda quotes CO2 figures as low as 104g/km which will keep your tax bills usefully modest.

Skoda Fabia 2018 wheel

Because every Fabia is powered by essentially the same engine, just in a different state of turbocharged tune, quoted fuel economy figures are remarkably similar: the two more powerful models both achieve 61mpg on the combined cycle while the less powerful 75hp model (badged MPI) is actually thirstier despite having less grunt, averaging 59mpg.

Save up for the one of the pricier, particulate-filter-equipped TSI-badged petrol engines, is our advice.

What else is new for 2018?

You can tell the Fabia facelift that arrived in summer 2018 is incredibly modest, since Skoda makes great play of details such as how all four electric windows are now one-touch (lowering at a single press of a button; you no longer have to keep the switch held open). Yes, this is a minor facelift, alright.

Skoda Fabia 2018 facelift grille and headlights

Exterior design is only modestly upgraded by the addition of LED lights front and rear (spec dependent), a bigger Skoda grille, the arrival of 18-inch wheels on the options menu and the choice of personalised colours for windscreen pillars, door mirrors and alloy wheels.

Inside you’ll notice revised instrument graphics, the option of a larger 6.5-inch colour display in the dashboard and new practical touches such as twin USB charging points in the rear and an ice-scraper-cum-tyre-tread-depth-gauge hidden in the fuel filler flap.

Skoda Fabia 2018 digital dials

There’s even a rubbish bin in the door pockets. We love these clever touches that make Skodas stand out from the crowd.

How does the Skoda Fabia drive?

It feels like a bigger car: this is one of the more mature superminis on sale today, with a pleasing solidity to its controls and the quality of construction. Keen drivers may prefer the sharper responses of the fizzier Ford Fiesta, but the stolid Fabia steers, stops and goes like a car from the class above.

It rides pretty well, although broken surfaces can crash through into the cabin. It’s spacious, too, with plenty of room up front and the boot is especially large for a car in this category, at 330 litres (rising to 1,150 if you flop the rear seats forward).

Also new from 2018 onwards is the arrival of a double-sided boot liner: choose from a wipe-clean plastic surface for when you’re slinging wellington boots in the back or flip it over for a comfier carpet when transporting Fido or furry friends.


The Parkers VerdictThe Parkers Verdict

The all-round quality of the Skoda Fabia makes it a very convincing supermini for sensible types. Those wanting more flair may prefer to shop elsewhere and the pricier Polo may appease those wanting plusher interior plastics, but this is a highly practical, well priced alternative for those wanting a supermini with a little bit of maxi.

Skoda Fabia 2018 rear driving shot

Keep an eye out for the full Skoda Fabia 2018 facelift review once we've driven the car in the UK