What Car?’s car of the year is the best supermini currently on sale
When the Skoda Fabia was first introduced in 1999, it signalled a major change in the reputation of the Czech manufacturer. Prior to this, Skoda’s were widely mocked for their poor quality, and inefficient engines. With the Fabia, everything changed. From that day on, the Fabia has been one of the best value, most spacious, and impressively well-built superminis. Today, the Fabia has progressed even further, and it is, without doubt, the best supermini currently on sale. That’s why it was voted What Car?’s car of the year for 2016.
The third generation Fabia, introduced in late 2014, featured a complete redesign, with a new interior, new engines, and a new platform.
Not the most contemporary, but solid and spacious
Whereas some manufacturers focus on making their cabins look modern, Skoda values simplicity and build quality. There’s also plenty of space on offer in the Fabia, both inside, and in the boot, and equipment levels are generous.
The dashboard of the Fabia isn’t the prettiest design in the class, but it is extremely functional. Controls are well-damped, and exactly where you’d want them to be, and everything just feels solidly put together. It might not have the classy soft-touch materials that you’d find in a Volkswagen Polo, but the Fabia is without doubt better value.
The Skoda Fabia is one of the most spacious superminis currently on sale. Inside it’s incredibly roomy, whilst it also features a huge boot. With a 330-litre boot capacity, it easily beats the Ford Fiesta (276 litres), the Vauxhall Corsa (285 litres), and the VW Polo (280 litres). It’s also amazingly bigger than the Ford Focus, which has (316 litres), and that’s in the class above.
Equipment levels in the Fabia are impressive, so long as you avoid the entry-level S trim. The SE trim is only a little bit more expensive, and is well worth the money as you’ll get air-con, electric windows, alloy wheels, parking sensors, and an excellent touch-screen infotainment system that controls the DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity. It really is great value for money.
The inside of the Fabia is one of the best packages available in a supermini. It’s not as flashy as some rivals, but it’s well-built, spacious, easy to use, and features generous levels of equipment.
On The Road
Comfortable rather than fun
The Skoda Fabia is a car that places emphasis on everyday comfort, rather than sportiness. That means the Fabia isn’t as much fun to drive as a Ford Fiesta, but it’s still pretty rewarding. The steering offers plenty of feedback, and there’s plenty of grip going into the corner. It’s a car that fills you with confidence in any situation, so whilst it might not have you grinning from ear to ear like a hyped up teenager, it’s enough to provide entertainment on country roads.
Suspension and Chassis
Comfort levels in the Fabia are really impressive for a supermini. It’s easily on a par with the VW Polo, and the suspension and chassis iron out rough road surfaces and potholes with aplomb. Around town, it’s a little less settled than it is at speed, and there’s a fair bit of suspension noise, but overall it’s a comfortable, refined car to drive.
Gearbox options in the Fabia come in three guises. There are two manual transmissions in the range, with lower-powered Fabias coming with a 5-speed, and models further up the range featuring a 6-speed. Both are sharp and snappy, but drivers who do a lot of motorway miles will find the 6-speed more useful. There’s also a 7-speed DSG automatic available as an option, which is one of the most impressive automatics available in a supermini.
Efficient engines throughout the range
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Fabia, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. There’s no hatch version of the latest Fabia, so those looking for extreme thrills should consider the Ford Fiesta ST, or the VW Polo GTI.
If it is power that you want from your Fabia, the best engine to go for in the range is the petrol-powered 1.4 litre TSI vRS DSG. With 180bhp under the bonnet, you can get from 0-62mph in just 7.3 seconds. Considering that this isn’t a true hot hatch, it’s still mightily quick, and has plenty of oomph to put a smile on most drivers faces.
Eco-friendly buyers will be generally pleased with the Fabia range, but the standout option is, without doubt, the diesel-powered 1.2-litre TDI CR Greenline II. This engine produces just 88g/km of CO2 emissions, which is enough to give you free road tax, and peace of mind that you’re not killing the planet. This option also happens to be the best for money-savers. With up to 83.1mpg on offer, you can also save plenty of money at the fuel pumps each week.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your Fabia you’re going to get impressive fuel efficiency, and relatively low C02 emissions. There're options for those who focus primarily on city driving, those who want thrills, and for sensible, environmentally-conscious drivers.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, good standard safety kit
Like nearly every car in its class, the Fabia easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 81% in adult safety, 81% in child safety, and 69% in pedestrian safety, the Fabia isn’t quite as safe as a Honda Jazz, but it’s on par with most other rivals. There’s also lots of safety kit, with six airbags, electronic stability control, and a tyre-pressure monitoring system, all featuring as standard.
Value for money
Excellent value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Skoda Fabia represents superb value for money for drivers. This obviously varies from model to model, but the Skoda Fabia features impressively efficient engines, and admirably low CO2 emissions. That means it’s cheap to run day-to-day, and shouldn’t cost you too much in road tax costs each year. The gallons of diesels in the range, without doubt, offer the best value, as they feature the highest fuel efficiency and the lowest emissions.
Insurance costs in the Fabia are also pretty reasonable. This again depends on which engine and trim you choose to go for, but you won’t be paying any more than you would for an equivalent rival. The cheapest Fabia in the range is the 1.0 MPi, which way down in group 2, whilst the most expensive is the range-topping 1.2 TSI SE-L which is still only in group 12.
Depreciation is a factor with the Fabia, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Skoda Fabia is, without doubt, one of the finest superminis currently on sale. With a functional interior, excellent storage space, refined ride, and some impressively efficient engines, there’s very little wrong with the Skoda Fabia. It should be right at the top of every buyer's list.
Buying a used Skoda Fabia online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Skoda Fabia for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Fabia. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Skoda Fabia online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Skoda? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Skoda Fabia, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Fabia, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Skoda to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.