New Skoda Fabia vs used Audi A1: which is best?
You need to buy a small car – but should you choose something sensible and showroom-fresh, or something a little older with a touch of class about it?...
This is an area in which there’s an obvious winner. The Audi’s is one of the best small car interiors around, if not the best. You get wonderfully solid-feeling, tactile plastics that make it feel like a car from two classes above; these are also high-quality enough that they’re resistant to scratches and scuffs, meaning the A1’s interior should stay looking this way for a long time to come.
The Skoda’s interior feels pretty robust, too, to give it its due. However, the plastics used feel decidedly cheaper, lending the Fabia a rather more utilitarian feel. In its own right, it isn’t unpleasant, but compared with the Audi, it’s rather downmarket.
Equipment levels are all but identical between the two cars, with one important exception: the Fabia gets automatic emergency braking as standard, an effective bit of safety kit on which the A1 misses out. You also get a slightly newer and fresher menu system on the dashboard’s central display, and a result, the Fabia also allows you to mirror your smartphone display on the screen.
New Skoda Fabia vs used Audi A1 – space & practicality
Here’s where the Fabia pulls out its trump card. Those boxy looks are there for a reason – and that reason is the spacious interior it offers. Both front and rear seat passengers get far more room than they do in the A1, and they’ll also get more storage space for odds and ends to play with. Larger door apertures mean the Fabia’s easier to gain entry to, and that goes even for the five-door A1 Sportback we've used for comparison here (although our photo car is a three-door model), and presents less of a challenge if you regularly need to belt a small child into a child seat.
If you’re buying an A1, you should also double check that the one you’re looking at has three rear seats – swapping the rear bench for two individual seats was a no-cost option.
Further back, the Fabia continues to dominate with a huge boot. Granted, it isn’t quite as big as some of its new-car rivals, but the space on offer is more than enough to beat the Audi’s. It’s also a more useful shape, has a larger aperture, and it’s a more useful shape than the A1’s. In short, then, if practicality is crucial, the Fabia’s the one to have.