Skoda Fabia How very sen­si­ble

CAR (UK) - - Contents -

EVEN IN A SEC­TOR burst­ing with com­mon sense, neatly squared-away flair and ev­ery­day func­tion­al­ity, the Skoda Fabia is more sen­si­ble than most su­per­mi­nis.

No sur­prise that the recipe hasn’t changed much for this mi­nor facelift: it’s still a ra­tio­nal choice, ap­peal­ing for its space, proven VW un­der­pin­nings and sub-£13k en­try price un­der­cut­ting its clos­est in-house rel­a­tives, the VW Polo and Seat Ibiza. That it can of­fer this cost ad­van­tage is be­cause the Fabia is based on older VW bits and bobs. But you’d barely know it from the drive – it still rides and steers with a pleas­ing ma­tu­rity that be­lies its mod­est sta­tus.

The re­fresh has con­cen­trated on de­tails rather than en­gi­neer­ing, though the up-to-date TSI three-cylin­der en­gines gain a par­tic­u­late fil­ter. Diesels have been dumped in this poste­mis­sions-cri­sis age, as only six per cent of Fabia buy­ers in the UK bought them any­way. We can see why: the petrol triples are well man­nered and still re­turn 50mpg-plus.

The two most pow­er­ful op­tions, with 94bhp and 109bhp, both give ad­e­quate per­for­mance and there’s a re­fined three-cylin­der thrum to pro­ceed­ings. Gear­ing is long-legged, to the ben­e­fit of peace, fru­gal­ity and blood pres­sure.

In­side, mod­est up­grad­ing con­tin­ues, with fresh in­stru­ment graph­ics, new safety tech in­clud­ing blindspot de­tec­tion, re­versible boot lin­ers and suede-ef­fect seat up­hol­stery. It’s roomy, with de­cent space front and back, and the boot’s an im­pres­sive 330 litres. The high­light of the range? The es­tate, with an echo­ing 530 litres of load­bay – in a car just four me­tres long. What a very sen­si­ble choice, just like most Fabias. TIM POLLARD

Still very sen­si­ble, still very Skoda

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