In this review of the Skoda Fabia, we will examine how the small car from the Czech Republic is more than a match for the Volkswagen Polo. Having been in Australia for about ten years now, the Skoda Fabia has a lot to offer and compares very favourably to the better known Polo and other small cars in its class. And after all, the Skoda Fabia hasn’t been awarded the Best First Car for no good reason.
Price and Performance
There are two turbocharged petrol engines used in the Skoda Fabia range. The first is the 1.0-litre 70TSI, a 70kW engine paired to 5 speed manual transmission, for all the old-school drivers. And the other engine is the 80TSI, with 80kW of output and a 7 speed DSG automatic transmission.
Fuel economy is great, even for small cars, at 4.5L per 100km and 4.7L per 100km for the 70TSI and 80TSI respectively. This is better when compared to the thirstier Polo, with the fuel consumption of its engines starting at 5.0L per 100km.
The performance of the engines stacks up well against other small cars, offering a steady and comparatively quiet driving experience. Off the mark, it takes just under 11 seconds to go from 0 – 100 km/h. The Skoda Fabia is stable, even at higher speeds, with excellent steering response and handling enough to give you confidence behind the wheel.
You also get into a Fabia with a smaller budget. For example, when looking at the entry level models of the Skoda Fabia and VW Polo, you can save a cool grand with the Fabia starting from $18,290 while the Polo goes from $19,290.
Space and practicality
Space inside the Skoda Fabia for the driver and passengers front and rear is good all round. And with Skoda’s Simply Clever design elements, there is a place for everything in the cabin.
The Fabia Hatchback also has generous boot space for a small car, being 330L with the rear seats upright, enough for about 3 medium to large suitcases. This expands to 1150L when you fold the rear seats down (a little bigger than that of the VW Polo).
The Skoda Fabia boasts an infotainment system with a 6.5-inch colour touch-screen display, USB and SD card slots, and the Skoda Surround Sound comes with Swing Plus radio as standard. Stay connected to your smartphone through Bluetooth, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, and controlling the radio and phone can be done using the multifunctional leather steering wheel, allowing you to keep your hands safely on the wheel and in control.
Finding your way around town is simple using either your smartphone map app or the onboard Amundsen navigation system. Choosing to opt for Climatronic Air Conditioning provides you with an electronic air conditioning system that will ensure maximum comfort all year round and, thanks to the humidity sensor, will even deal with a steamed-up windscreen.
Safety systems include such features as front and rear parking sensors. A whole range of smart automatic braking systems such as City Emergency Brake and Front Assist help you to avoid collisions with other cars or other objects in different driving situations, as does the Electronic Stability Control with multi-collision brake. The Adaptive Cruise Control system (standard across the Fabia range) uses a radar device in the front bumper to help you maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
Trim Levels and Options
There is more to choose from when it comes to buying the Skoda Fabia. It comes in two body types, namely the Fabia hatchback and wagon, and with each type you also get the choice of either the 70TSI or 80TSI turbocharged petrol engine.
There is also a special Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo edition, with a striking design inspired by Skoda’s success on the rally stage, specifically at the Monte Carlo. What you get is a perfect blend of sporty aesthetics, with the look and feel of a car that is built for performance.
As mentioned, the Skoda Fabia is also available as a wagon, something that many other automakers do not offer, including the Volkswagen Polo. The longer form of the wagon body type allows for a much larger space in the back. At a large 530L with the rear seats up, it is over 1.5 times roomier than the boot of the hatchback version. This makes it an ideal option for the family with all the extra gear that comes with it, or simply for anyone who needs that extra space in a small car size.
The Skoda Fabia is a small car ideally suited for inner city and urban driving, where you can zip in and out of traffic on your way to work or school, and navigate the narrow streets with ease. Although you wouldn’t really expect to take any small car on a big road trip, the Skoda Fabia would still be up to the task for that occasional long drive on the highway down to Albany.
Being easy to handle and packed with safety features and modern infotainment technology, it also makes for a great first car and for new or inexperienced drivers. And you don’t have to take our word for it, as the Fabia has been awarded the Best First Car award for three years running.
The Skoda Fabia is definitely not to be missed when you’re looking to buy a small car.