Skoda Fabia 1.4 MPI SE review

* New budget Fabia model driven * On sale now * Price 8995 (until March 31st)...

Skoda Fabia 1.4 MPI SE review

The Skoda Fabia 1.4 MPI SE is a new special-edition version of Skodas supermini. Buy between now and March 31 and youll pay just 8995 thats Kia Picanto money for a much bigger car.

There are just three colours to choose from: red, white or blue. However, you do get a surprising amount of standard kit, including air-conditioning and alloy wheels.

Whats it like to drive? This special-edition Fabia has an 85bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine. It pulls willingly enough from a standstill, and revs freely if you need to build pace quickly. It isnt the quietest of engines, though, and fuel economy of 47.9mpg is below par by todays high standards.

The suspension is set up for comfort rather than driving thrills, so the Fabia easily mops up potholes and speed humps. The drawback is that faster, undulating roads cause the Fabia to pitch and sway.

The Skoda's light, precise controls and tight turning circle mean it excels in the city.

It remains composed at motorway speeds, although the lack of a sixth gear means the engine is working fairly hard at 70mph.

Whats it like inside? The Fabia sits at the bigger end of the supermini class, so theres a decent amount of space inside. Even six-footers wont complain about the amount of leg- or headroom in the back.

The boot is deep and well shaped, and easily capable of accommodating a pushchair or your weekly shopping. Split-folding rear seats give you the option of a bigger loadbay if you need it.

Both front seats can be raised and lowered, and the steering wheel adjusts for height and reach, which makes it easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. However, the whole interior looks desperately dull, and the dashboard plastics arent as dense or nicely textured as those in a Ford Fiesta or a Volkswagen Polo.

At least the important controls are simple and logically laid out, and theres a good view out of the front thanks to skinny windscreen pillars.

This special-edition Fabia is available only in SE trim, which means you get alloy wheel, air-conditioning, remote central locking, electric front windows, powered and heated door mirrors and four airbags. That should be enough for most buyers, which is just as well because you cant add any options.

Should I buy one? If a city car wont cut it for size and your budget doesnt stretch north of 9000, this special edition Fabia is as good as it gets.

True, the Skoda is starting to show its age; the cabin is dated and the engine isnt particularly refined. At this price, though, you really cant complain especially considering the generous amount of standard equipment.

We only wish Skoda had decided to offer stability control as an option. That would make this Fabia a safer option for the young drivers its low price will attract.

Chevrolet Aveo 1.2 LS (8995)
Suzuki Swift 1.2 SZ2 5dr (9275
* Special offers available until March 31

What Car? says

Will Nightingale