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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The Fabia has a surprisingly large boot, and it's as good to drive as the hatchback

Against It's too small to be a serious workhorse, and the smaller engines struggle

Verdict One of the best supermini-based estate cars

Go for… 1.9 TDI

Avoid… 1.9 SDi

Skoda Fabia Estate
  • 1. Ensure coolant hoses are all properly connected - if they come off, the engine can overheat
  • 2. The 75bhp 1.4-litre engine is prone to cylinder-head gasket failure
  • 3. Check the front footwell carpets for damp - if they're wet, the vents may be clogged with leaves
  • 4. The boot capacity is excellent considering the small size of the car
  • 5. The cabin isn't especially exciting to look at, but it will seat five adults
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Skoda Fabia Estate full review with expert trade views

We love the Fabia hatchback. It was our Supermini of the Year not long ago, and even now it’s still an excellent car.

However, estate car buyers who haven’t been put off by the badge may be put off by the car’s tiny dimensions. They shouldn’t be. The estate is every bit as well built and good to drive as the hatchback, but it doubles the capacity for luggage. It’s not the biggest in its class, but you’ll be surprised how much it can carry.

As well as that, there’s enough room to seat five adults in comfort. Some may accuse the cabin of being dull, but it’s easy to use and, like the rest of the car, it’s sturdily built.

The drive is good, too. The Fabia strikes an excellent balance between ride and handling, with refinement that puts many bigger cars to shame.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Small and practical. Elegance good spec and drives well. Looks okay, too

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

Leave the smallest engines alone, because they can’t cope with the estate’s weight. The 75bhp 16-valve 1.4 is the smallest to provide decent performance, but another version of the same unit with 100bhp is much better. There’s also a 2.0-litre petrol, but it’s more expensive to run and insure.

Our favourite is the 1.9 TDI, which has fine performance because you get more pulling muscle than with the petrol engines, and excellent fuel economy. It’s pricey in comparison with the smaller engines, but it’s worth it. The other diesel, the 1.9 SDi, isn’t. It doesn't have a turbo, so it’s really sluggish.

Base Classic and Comfort trims do without air-conditioning, so we’d pay the extra and go for Elegance, which also gives you alloy wheels and four electric windows. However, if you can find Classic or Comfort models with chilled air fitted as an option, it may save you a bit of cash.

Trade view

John Owen

Superb build, slow depreciation makes late used cars look pricey compared to new

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The Fabia was great value for money when it was new, and it’s just as good as a used buy, because it doesn’t hold its value as well as other Volkswagen Group cars. The estate will cost you more than the hatch, but how much more depends on the age.

Although none of the petrol engines can better 40mpg in this estate, most of them get close, so fuel economy isn’t bad. The diesel cars will both better 55mpg, though, and with its excellent performance the 1.9 TDI is definitely the one to go for.

This engine won’t cost too much to insure, either, because it has a group 6 classification. The rest of the range sits in groups 4 and 5, with the exception of the 2.0 petrol in group 8.

Servicing costs will be the same as for the hatch, so you’ll pay slightly less than owners of the VW Polo and Seat Ibiza, which are basically the same car.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Small and practical. Elegance good spec and drives well. Looks okay, too

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

As our most recent reliability survey found out, Skodas are the most reliable European cars you can buy.

If problems do occur, repair costs are usually fairly cheap. Parts aren’t expensive, and Skoda mechanics will do a reasonable job at a fair price.

One of the few things to keep an eye on is the coolant levels. One of the hoses can dislodge and the resulting leak can wreck the engine if left untreated.

The 75bhp version of the 1.4 is also quite prone to head gasket failure, and this is very costly to repair. Check the coolant for oil, and for water under the oil filler cap. These are both signs of trouble.

Water can leak into the footwells through the air vent intakes when they get clogged with fallen leaves, so check the carpets in the front for signs of dampness. However, the problem is easily fixed: clearing the blockage and ensuring that the filter is properly sealed should do the job.

Trade view

John Owen

Superb build, slow depreciation makes late used cars look pricey compared to new

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford
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