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New Skoda Fabia Test Drive Review

Date: 30 October 2014   |   Author:

Skoda is expecting a boost in fleet volumes for its cleaner and more practical new Fabia, with the third-generation model arriving at the beginning of next year in hatchback form before an estate, likely to be the more popular corporate model, arrives half a year later.

The Fabia is a fine example of why drivers need to consider which model they pick, because the 90hp diesel in top-spec SE-L will cost £5 per month more in benefit-in-kind than the 90hp petrol model. This is because of the way the BIK bands are now working, the lower purchase price of petrol models and their increased efficiency.

That's enhanced by the cost of diesel models rising by more than petrols compared to the previous Fabia, due to the cost of meeting Euro6 emissions legislation.

The 1.0-litre 75hp engine driven here is likely to be the most popular one, and is 20g/km more efficient than the 69hp 1.2 it replaces. The improvements across the line-up range between 14g/km and 22g/km, while fuel economy improves by 5.6 to 15.8mpg on the 90hp manual diesel, which tops the current line-up at 83.1mpg.

That will be beaten next year when the low-emission Greenline version arrives with 82g/km and 91.1mpg.
Though Skoda claims the styling is striking and bold, with the new model lower and wider than its slightly ungainly predecessor, it's not (to our eyes) the most exciting look in the sector. And that sets a trend for a model that's short on weaknesses but doesn't dazzle in any particular area.

On the inside, the cabin is well put together and looks of decent quality, though the main dashboard expanse turns out to be a harder plastic than it initially appears. But the all-pervading use of regular VW Group switchgear is an example of quality improving at the expense of Skoda's individuality. Though how many Skoda drivers will notice, let alone care, is open to question.

Equipment is improved, with all cars now getting DAB radio and Bluetooth, while keyless entry and start is standard on the top spec model, the first time it's been offered on the Fabia. Front and rear parking sensors and auto lights and wipers also debut on the Fabia via the options list.

Boot space is up with the class best at 330 litres, 40 more than a Ford Fiesta and a Kia Rio.
The 75hp petrol is refined and offers enough for most situations, though longer drags uphill are something of a struggle, while everything else about the driving experience, from ride and handling to gear change and refinement, can be filed under decent.

Which sums up the car. Though we're still waiting for confirmed whole-life costs, it probably ranks in the top five under any criteria you're judging by, but doesn't sparkle or offer enough character to lead in any.A decent and solid all-rounder then.

P11D price £13,610
Model price range £10,600-£16,840
Fuel consumption 58.8mpg
CO2 (tax) 108g/km (14%)
BIK 20/40% per month £32/£64
Service interval Variable or 10,000 mile options
Insurance (1-50) group 13 (est.)
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 330/1150 litres
Engine size/power 999cc/75hp
Top speed/0-60mph 107mph/14.7secs
On sale January 2015

Verdict


Not class-leading in any area but good across the board
8/10

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