Czech out Fabia
Practical supermini now has a sharper modern look to tempt buyers
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