Czech out Fabia

Prac­ti­cal su­per­mini now has a sharper mod­ern look to tempt buy­ers

Rutherglen Reformer - - Motors -

Skoda’s popular Fabia re­cently en­tered its third gen­er­a­tion.

The new model re­tains all of the good points of the old model but adds a touch of style that was lack­ing in its boxy pre­de­ces­sor.

It still of­fers bags of space, com­fort and a wide choice of en­gines but prices have taken a leap, although the Fabia now boasts higher lev­els of stan­dard equip­ment.

To give the new car a sharper more mod­ern look, the de­sign­ers have in­tro­duced the large grille and head­lamp de­sign from its larger sib­lings and low­ered its height.

It now has a sportier look and as a re­sult could ap­peal to younger driv­ers.

Buy­ers can also per­son­alise their cars buy opt­ing for a £250 Colour Con­cept op­tion which al­lows them to se­lect a con­trast­ing colour for the roof, wind­screen pil­lars and wheels.

In­side the Fabia’s roomy cabin has also been im­proved. The switchgear is bor­rowed from the lat­est Polo and there is a large colour touch­screen which is easy to use.

The in­stru­ments are clear and sim­ple and the com­fort­able seat is easy to ad­just to find a good driv­ing po­si­tion.

It all feels well screwed to­gether and built to last but too much hard plas­tic lets it down.

The new Fabia of­fers bags of space, with a 330-litre boot which in­creases to 1,150 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded flat.

Th­ese fig­ures are re­duced slightly should you opt to spec­ify the £100 space saver spare wheel.

Head, shoul­der and legroom are all good and three adults can fit in the back for short jour­neys.

The cabin also boasts use­ful stor­age ar­eas, with hid­den draw­ers un­der the front seats, cup-hold­ers and large door bins.

The test car came with the 1.2 TSI 89bhp unit and it is a sweet lit­tle en­gine.

It is smooth and will­ing and de­liv­ers its power through a nice five-speed man­ual gear­box. Helped by the fact that the new Fabia is 65kg lighter, the 1.2 is good for 113mph and reaches 62mph in 10.9 sec­onds.

Emis­sions are 107g/km and the claimed com­bined fig­ure is 60.1 mpg. In mixed real-world driv­ing, I av­er­aged a frac­tion over 50mpg.

The Fabia can’t match some of its ri­vals for han­dling but it does re­spond much bet­ter than the old model and benefits from lots of grip.

The steer­ing is pos­i­tive and nicely weighted and the car is now much more fun to drive.

The new car has al­ready been awarded a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rat­ing and all ver­sions get six airbags, sta­bil­ity con­trol, seat­belt re­minders and low-speed col­li­sion avoid­ance kit, while the flag­ship SE L tested adds au­to­matic lights and wipers.

The SE L also fea­tures a huge amount of kit as stan­dard but it is no longer a cheap op­tion. I en­joyed the Fabia which costs £14,420 in this form, add metal­lic paint at £535 and a few other ex­tras and the to­tal came to £15,025.

This means it now costs as much as many of its ri­vals and that will be its big­gest chal­lenge.

Model looks new­comer is much bet­ter look­ing than its

pre­de­ces­sor

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