Three out of four of the Volkswagen Group superminis have received refreshes in the past year – the Volkswagen Polo, Seat Ibiza and Audi A1 – all of which are based on the new MQB A0 platform.
The fourth of these is the Skoda Fabia, although for the time being the Czech firm is making do with the old underpinnings, although it’s been given a minor refresh.
It’s certainly a facelift by definition, and you’d be hard-pressed to spot major differences between it and the model it replaces.
There are a few notable changes – including new headlights, standard fit LED daytime running lights, a larger grille and a fettled bumper.
The 1.4-litre engine has also been axed, leaving just petrol engines to choose from, while improved equipment levels and further safety assistance technology will be welcomed by customers.
Currently there’s just one engine available in three states of tune – a turbocharged three-cylinder petrol unit, with either 74bhp, 94bhp or 108bhp.
We got behind the wheel of the estate version with the mid-range 94bhp engine. It’s capable of a 0-60mph time of 10.7 seconds and a top speed of 115mph.
It’s not particularly fast, but there’s just enough grunt to have fun with it, although it’s an engine that’s ideally suited to town, rather than motorways.Enquire Now on a New Skoda Fabia
Ride and handling
The Fabia has barely changed when it comes to the way it drives, which means it’s still pleasing behind the wheel. The steering is fairly light, although that’s best for urban driving, while it’s very easy to manoeuvre thanks to its excellent visibility – even more so on the estate.
On the open road, it’s hardly the last word in sportiness, and it’s not as good to drive as the Ford Fiesta or Suzuki Swift, but it handles well and there’s little roll in corners.
Interior and equipment
The interior has benefited from a refresh, and features new dashboard trim options.
The updates have kept it up to date against more rivals, and despite the Fabia being one of the cheapest superminis available, the cabin feels well-built, with very few cheap plastics in sight. The Monte Carlo trim we got behind the wheel of is seen as the sportiest trim in the line-up, and includes racy touches such as sports seats, carbon-effect dashboard trim and sporty exterior styling. It certainly makes the Monte Carlo look sporty, and helps to fill the gap in the range left by the VRs hot hatch.
The Skoda Fabia hatch’s boot offers 355 litres, which is more than the Ford Fiesta, but less than Seat’s Ibiza. The Estate is the one to go for if you value that extra practicality, with an additional 200 litres on offer. The Estate will only make up a small percentage of sales, but for those needing that extra space, it’s a worthy choice.
All Fabias now come with more equipment as standard, with models now boasting LED daytime running lights and automatic emergency braking.
The top-end Monte Carlo trim comes with climate control, electric rear windows and LED rear lights as well as styling upgrades, such as a black front spoiler, a black roof and matching floor mats.
The Fabia undercuts many of its supermini rivals, with prices starting from £12,840 for the hatchback, and £13,860 for the estate, with even top-spec versions not costing much more than £18,000.
It undercuts many of its key rivals, while the additional standard kit makes the Fabia seem even more attractively priced.
All the petrol engines are excellent on fuel, too, with Skoda claiming the 94bhp version can achieve 63mpg, with low CO2 emissions of 103g/km.
The updated Fabia isn’t much more than a facelift, but small changes and revised equipment have kept the Fabia competitive against arguably more modern rivals.
It’s not the most engaging car in its class to drive, but as a town hatchback or estate, it’s ideal and fantastic value for money as well.Test drive a new Skoda Fabia