4.2 out of 5 4.2
Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

It's bigger, more refined and still up there with the best

Skoda Fabia Hatchback (21 on) - rated 4.2 out of 5
Enlarge 17 photos

At a glance

New price £15,305 - £20,730
Lease from new From £245 p/m View lease deals
Used price £11,545 - £17,270
Used monthly cost From £288 per month
Fuel Economy 47.1 - 55.4 mpg
Road tax cost £155
Insurance group 2 - 13 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Roomy interior and boot
  • Competitive entry-level prices
  • Wide range of engines

CONS

  • No plug-in or mild hybrid tech expected
  • No diesel either, but will you miss it?
  • Unlikely to be a vRS version

Skoda Fabia Hatchback rivals

Written by Lawrence Cheung on

Is the Skoda Fabia any good?

This is the all-new 2021 Fabia supermini. Yes, really – it is all-new to Skoda. Despite looking like an updated version of the last-generation Fabia, this one sits on an all-new platform that's shared with the Volkswagen Polo and SEAT Ibiza, being 111mm longer front to rear than before and is 48mm wider.

It's longer and wider than before, boasts a much sleeker new body, comes with the same engines as the Polo and Ibiza and introduces some tech and equipment new to Skoda's popular small car. It's a grown-up choice in the small car market – comfortable and efficient.

The outgoing model is still on sale and represents a solid small-car buy, especially if you can secure a competitive deal – although Skoda dealers report that stock levels are already running down.

Prices for the Fabia range start from £14,905 and you can order one now.

What's new about the 2021 Fabia?

Although the styling is familiar and slightly predictable, from what we've seen so far, it shares many styling themes with the larger Octavia hatchback front to back, with a stubby frontal area and LED headlights that look almost like a straight carry-over from the bigger model.

It also features clever new fuel-saving technology, such as active cooling shutters in the front grille to help reduce the Fabia's wind resistance at speed. There are also fresh new colours and alloy wheel options available and LED headlight technology comes as standard now, too.

What's it like inside?

The new cockpit is a significant overhaul over the old model. It has an entirely new layout, and features details introduced in other recent Skoda models – such as its two-spoke steering wheel, fully-digital instruments and optional digital climate control.

You can also spec the new Fabia with a connected navigation set-up that receives real-time traffic data and modifies your driving route depending on how busy the roads are. There's also an Amundsen audio upgrade for a more premium sound experience, as well as VW Group's Travel Assist (which bundles lane keep, traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise into one system).

There's wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a selection of USB-C sockets for charging. There’s one on the rear view mirror for powering up a dash-cam, just like you'll find in the Octavia. We like that. Look out, too, for a heated windscreen and steering wheel – an essential for winter – and a panoramic glass roof.

The interior also continues the Czech firm's tradition of offering size and space akin to that of cars in the class above – the Octavia, for instance, is as roomy as a BMW 3 Series, and the Superb is up there with the Audi A6.

In the case of the Fabia, there's 94mm more space between the front and rear wheels, which translates into a larger interior. The seats-up boot volume of 380 litres is up by 50 litres over the outgoing Fabia, meaning it's now almost identical to the Volkswagen Golf. Seats down you get 1,190 litres to play with.

What's it like to drive?

Interestingly, there is more contrast here when compared to the Ibiza and Polo. The range starts with naturally-aspirated 65hp and 80hp three-cylinder engines, moves on to a 110hp turbocharged three-cylinder and tops out with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder making 150hp. That last engine option is unavailable to those wanting a new Ibiza or Polo, at least in the UK.

Lower-powered models come with a five-speed manual transmission as standard, while the 110hp gets the six-speed 'box and the option of a seven-speed automatic. The automatic otherwise comes as standard on Fabias fitted with the 150hp 1.5-litre petrol engine.

We’ve driven left-hand drive versions of the 1.0-litre TSI in the UK so far: the 95hp manual and 110 automatic. Both engines are quieter than before, with plenty of sound deadening to filter out noises from entering the cabin.

The 95hp engine always felt eager to perform in the outgoing model and we’re pleased to say it’s retained that level of urgency. This continues to feel like the sweet spot in the range, balancing usable performance with low running costs.

The 110hp engine with the seven-speed automatic gearbox responds to throttle inputs well enough from stationary, but takes a long time to shift down. You can select manual mode using the gearlever, while Sport mode will hold onto gears longer but the delayed response means it's not as spirited to drive as the manual.

As a result, this 110 automatic doesn’t feel that much quicker than the 95hp manual, feeling a little laboured in comparison. If you drive in a relaxed manner, it’s fine, but ask for more and you may be left a little disappointed. Stick with the manual if you can.

If you seek more power, we drove the range-topping 1.5-litre version in Poland, and can confirm that if you're looking for a grown-up small car, you could do worse with this one. With 150hp and 250Nm to play with, and that standard-fit automatic transmission, it's unsurprisingly rapid and effortless to drive.

The 0-62mph time comes in at 8.0 seconds and the maximum speed is 141mph – impressive for a hot hatch not that long ago. And yet, it still averages 50.4mpg, making it faster than the old vRS diesel Fabia. Not that this version will be called that, instead being known as the Monte Carlo.

Of note are the Fabia's stabilty in all weather, with safe handling and responsive controls. If we were nitpicking, we'd say that it could do with more road feel and weight from its steering. Although the manual gearbox is light and precise, it's geared for the motorway to keep revs as low as possible when cruising – the downside of this is you'll be changing gear more often than you might expect when driving around town.

The ride quality feels a little firmer than before, but this allows the Fabia to deal with and isolate occupants from bumps better. This also helps the little Skoda feel a little more composed, without pitching or rolling as much into corners. Make no mistake, this is still very much a comfort-biased supermini that won’t trouble a Ford Fiesta, but feels tidier overall.

What engines and trims are available?

There are S, SE Comfort, SE L and Colour Edition trim levels to choose from, with sportier Monte Carlo versions arriving in 2022.

There are nine colours to choose from, with all models coming with LED headlights, air-conditioning and lane assist as standard.

Skoda Fabia Hatchback rivals

Other Skoda Fabia models: