Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • Petrol engines only
  • Some with turbos, some without
  • Manual and auto gearbox options

Petrol engines

Less choice here than before (and compared to rivals) with just a simple range of non-hybrid petrol engines. In addition, the Skoda has an option that in-house rivals the SEAT Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo do not. The Fabia’s range starts with naturally-aspirated 65hp and 80hp three-cylinder engines, adds a turbo for 95hp and 110hp, and tops out with the Monte Carlo’s 1.5-litre four-cylinder.

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.

The 95hp manual and 110 automatic are quieter than before, with plenty of sound deadening to ensure low noise levels. 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. It’s the one to go for, in short.

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 seem 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.

If you seek more power, the 1.5-litre Monte Carlo version will be right up your street. We can confirm that if you’re looking for a grown-up small car, you could do worse than 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. And yet, it still averages 50.4mpg.

What’s it like to drive?

  • Very comfortable ride for a small car
  • Handling is accurate and safe
  • Lacks the fun factor of a Renault Clio

Comfort has always been the name of the game for the Skoda Fabia but much like the latest generation Octavia it feels like this car has been given a somewhat firmer ride. That’s not strictly a negative thing, we found it rolled around less when cornering, which can be a conversely uncomfortable feature on a car with soft suspension.

It’s still good around town when dealing with tarmac defects and speed bumps, but there’s a bit of fidgetiness on the motorway. Then again, that might be down to the Colour Edition trim’s 16-inch wheels (lower spec cars get 15s) so that’s something to consider if you do a lot of miles.

Larger still are the 17-inch rims on the Monte Carlo and the 18-inch options – good-looking alloys but no doubt at the cost of comfort.