The Ford Fiesta as we know it, is dead. Whilst that’s bad news for the old traditionalists amongst us who cherish the memories such an established name brings, it leaves a rather gaping B-segment shaped hole in the car market that cars like this Skoda Fabia would just love to fill.
The Fabia isn’t exactly wet behind the ears either, though. This is the fourth generation of the Polo based supermini, the first Fabia was launched way back in 1999. Like the Polo, Arona & A1, the new Fabia is based on the VW group’s MQB A0 platform. Perhaps unsurprisingly it’s longer and wider than the MK3 Fabia, it’s also slightly lower to help with aerodynamics.
Looks-wise, the Fabia toes the Skoda party line and has become sharper, more serious looking than ever. Not only that, it’s just more interesting to look at, with sharp lines and creases breaking up the bodywork. Is it too busy? – possibly. The moustachioed grille and I really mean business headlights set the tone for the rest of the car and it could maybe do with lightening up a tad. One of the optional colours like Phoenix Orange or Velvet Red lift the general mood well.
Once lovers of diesel engines, even in performance cars and smaller models like this Fabia, Skoda, like the majority of the industry have turned their back on heavy oil. There’s no electric or even hybrid Fabia, which is odd since the demise of the Citigo left a gap in the Skoda range the Fabia would have slotted into nicely. They’re apparently working on an electric model to replace the Fabia completely but it won’t be for the foreseeable.
Four specs, three engines
In the meantime the Fabia is left with a choice of three petrol units; two 1.0 litre, 3-cylinder engines and one 1.5 litre that has four cylinders. The lesser powered 1.0 litre MPI engine (79bhp) comes with a 5 speed manual and is only available on the entry level SE Comfort spec Fabia. The 1.5 litre, 148bhp TSI comes with DSG only and that’s only an option on the most expensive Fabia – the Monte Carlo.
Our test car is the base-model SE Comfort spec but it’s powered by the 94bhp TSI engine, not the entry level 79bhp MPI unit. As with most 3-cylinder engines it’s got character in abundance and it just feels right with a user-friendly 5-speed manual that matches it perfectly. Its 175Nm torque gets the Fabia from 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds and that’s about as slow as driving in modern traffic will tolerate before frustration sets in.
How clean is the Fabia?
All of the Fabia’s engines manage over 50mpg, most of them including this TSI return over 55mpg with a manual gearbox. Adding the DSG transmission also takes CO2 emissions up from 116g/km to 126g/km.
Inside the Fabia could be looked at in a couple of ways. One way to describe it is am object lesson in understated, effortless class with no need for flashy bits because class shines through. The other way is a sea of black plastic with nothing to inspire, except perhaps for the driver’s binnacle pod with its Fabia script highlighted. Go for either SE L or Monte Carlo spec and you get either copper or red highlights to add a splash of colour. Comfort and, ironically Colour Edition grades are stuck with plain black plastic and cloth.
The driving position is excellent, thanks in no small part to the supportive seats and steering wheel that adjusts for both rake and reach. Skoda do love putting a few little extras around, they remind you it’s a Skoda and not a Polo, and in the case of the Fabia you get an ice-scraper in the fuel filler flap and a mini waste bin in the…….erm……..door bin.
More room in boot and rear seats
The Fabia’s extended length means the boot has grown to a whopping 380 litres with the rear seats up. That’s a 50 litre advantage over the last Fabia and is very impressive for a super-mini. Rear seat passengers also get more room but anyone over six-feet tall may prefer the front. Anyone sat in the rear will also have to wind down their own windows which is a bit odd for a brand with more premium aspirations in 2022.
Should I buy a Skoda Fabia?
With the Fiesta’s days numbered, the competition will be scrambling to fill the void. The Fabia starts at £17,990; less than the £19,030 Polo but significantly more than the £16,150 Kia Rio. The Skoda badge is held in higher esteem than ever at the moment, though, and the Fabia is quirky, well equipped and its engines are clean and modern. With the cost of living soaring, it’s pitched as the perfect blend of quality and thrift.
By Ben Harrington
Skoda Fabia SE Comfort Specifications:
Engine – 1.0-l, 3-cylinder TSI petrol, Transmission – 5-Speed manual, Layout – Front engine, FWD, Power – 94bhp, Emissions – 115g/km CO2, Economy – 55.4mpg, Maximum Speed – 119mph, Acceleration – 10.6-s 0-62 mph, Price – £18,359 OTR, £19,250 as tested
The 2022 Skoda Fabia is available now. For full details go to: www.skoda.co.uk