Used car of the week: Skoda Fabia
The latest Skoda Fabia has just gone on sale, which makes this a great time to buy a used second-generation model. Here's what you need to know...
The latest Skoda Fabia has just won the What Car? Car of the Year Award 2015. It impressed the judges with its spacious cabin, equipment level and the value for money it offers.
A new model inevitably causes the value of the previous version to suffer, so now is a great time to buy a used version of the Mk2 Fabia. Here's what you need to know.
Ideal model 1.2 TSI 105 SE
Prices from £4500
Why should I buy a used Skoda Fabia?
There's a lot to like about the Skoda Fabia. It offers loads of room for passengers, a 300-litre boot and it also has a good record when it comes to reliability.
The interior is a little dull but everything is laid out well and easy to use. It's also comfortable. The driver's seat has a wide range of adjustment and there's even room for two six-footers in the rear seats.
On the road, the Skoda handles well and offers decent fuel economy and low emissions. It isn't as fun to drive as some of its rivals, primarily the Ford Fiesta, but it feels safe and secure at motorway speeds.
Which model should I choose?
Our pick of the range is the 1.2 TSI 105 SE. It was introduced in 2010 when the Fabia received a face-lift and offers the best blend of performance, economy and equipment. There are also lots to choose from on the used market, so you'll be able to find one in good condition.
If you're looking for something a bit older, we'd recommend avoiding the 1.2-litre petrol engines. Prior to 2010 they were three-cylinder units that feel old and struggle to make anything more than leisurely progress. The 1.4-litre with 84bhp is a much better bet.
Trim-wise, for older cars we'd recommend either a 2 or a 3. Trim level 2 cars have central locking, electric windows, air-conditioning, alloy wheels and electric door mirrors. It's also worth looking out for a reasonably priced 3, which comes with cruise control and rear parking sensors.
If you are interested in a face-lifted model, we'd suggest choosing something in SE trim to get air-con, folding rear seats, electric windows, alloy wheels and electric mirrors.
How much should I pay?
A high-mileage car from 2008 can be yours for as little as £1800. If you're after our pick you'll need to spend £4500. That will get you a 2010 car with about 60,000 miles on the clock. If you want something with lower mileage you can pick up a 2011 1.2 TSI 105 SE that's done 30,000 miles for £6500.
What problems should I look out for?
The engines on older Fabias need to have their cambelt changed every four years or 60,000 miles. Check that the work has been carried out.
There have been two recalls, one to fix a problem that could affect the curtain airbag system and another to fix a problem that could cause a fuel leak on 1.2-litre diesel models. Both of these should have been sorted under warranty.
Some owners complain of problems with the locks on the rear doors, while water can leak into the cabin from faulty door sills. Check all the doors open and close as they should and look for any tell-tale signs of water damage in the footwells.
Listen for rattles on a test drive, particularly from the dashboard and rear parcel shelf, which can work its way loose and damage the catches that hold it in place.
Also check that all the electrics work as they should, in particular the electric windows.
You can find good examples of the second-generation Skoda Fabia in the What Car? Classified pages.