Skoda Fabia long-term test

Following the arrival of two excellent new small hatchbacks, does our 2015 Car of the Year remain a top-drawer choice?...

Skoda Fabia
  • The Car: Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI 95 SE L
  • Run by: Kris Culmer, sub-editor
  • Why it's here: To see if our 2015 Car of the Year is still a top choice after the arrival of several new rivals
  • Needs to: Be smooth, sufficiently powerful, economical and enjoyable during the daily commute, as well as able to cope with the odd haulage job

Price £16,505 Price as tested £17,625 Mileage 8757 Official fuel economy 50.4mpg (WLTP) Test economy 47.9mpg Options Brilliant Silver metallic paint (£595), Winter Package (£250), keyless entry (£165), temporary steel spare wheel (£110)

9 April 2019 – Efficiency calculation

To date, my Skoda Fabia has achieved 47.9 miles to the gallon. With its 45-litre fuel tank, that means on average I can do 474 miles between visits to forecourts – not bad value for money when my weekly mileage is around 700.

The Fabia’s combined rating is 50.4mpg on the new official efficiency test, WLTP, so it might look as if the test is optimistic (something it was specifically designed not to be) or I’m driving inefficiently. But the truth is neither; I mostly drive on the motorway, and if you look at the Fabia’s extra-high-speed WLTP rating, it shows 48.7mpg – almost matching my figure. In fact, I’ve actually bettered this a few times by driving slightly slower than usual and turning off the air conditioning.

Of the five WLTP cycles, the Fabia does best at high speed, which means an average of 35mph, and worst at low speed, which equates to just 12mph. If I didn’t have such a heavily motorway-biased motoring life, my car’s economy would be a little higher.

2019 skoda fabia

A diesel would really be best for me, but most drivers of small hatchbacks drive mostly in town, so diesel wouldn’t make sense for them at all. An electric car would be perfect, but if that’s too much of a leap to make, you could follow my dad’s example.

Two years ago, his office moved near home, so he got rid of his diesel SUV and bought the only small car combining a petrol engine and electric motor on the market: the Toyota Yaris Hybrid.

We compared notes recently and found his overall economy since has been 51.6mpg. If you factor out occasional motorway journeys, though, the figure leaps to nearly 80mpg. This is backed up by both the medium-speed WLTP figure (74.3mpg) and What Car?’s urban True MPG rating (80.0mpg). That's actually the highest of any car we’ve tested.

fabia yaris comparison

If we were to swap, my dad would be worse off but still pretty happy, while I’d be tightening my belt – not to mention buying some earplugs to drown out the merciless whinging of the Yaris Hybrid’s engine, brought on by its CVT automatic gearbox.

This just illustrates how powertrain choice is a nuanced decision. If you’re unsure of what’s best for you, head over to our free What Fuel? calculator to find out.

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