The interior layout, fit and finish
There’s plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment for most drivers to find a good driving position, but a little more seat bolstering would improve long-distance and high-speed cornering comfort (the sportier seats of the Monte Carlo edition are better in this regard) and you can’t have adjustable lumbar support.
The controls are laid out in a sensible fashion and easy to understand and the central 6.5in touchscreen is simple to use. It does look a little tiddly compared to larger systems in the Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo, but does at least have handy shortcut buttons either side of the screen. Entry-level SE models come with what Skoda calls the ‘Swing System, which features a DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity (sat-nav is optional), while SE Drive trim and up benefits from in-built satellite navigation as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.
There’s a clear view forward, thanks to slim windscreen pillars, while large mirrors give a decent view of what’s coming up alongside. Upright rear pillars and a broad rear windscreen mean the view behind is also good, while the Fabia Estate’s diminutive proportions make it easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces. However, nervous parkers will also be pleased to hear that front and rear parking sensors are standard on SE Drive trim and up, as are LED headlights – these replace the poor halogen units that come as standard.
In terms of interior design, you won’t find much visual interest, – on the standard trims its all black and grey textured plastics, barring one flash of gloss trim across the dash. So if aesthetics are important to you, it might be worth looking at the Monte Carlo edition, as this comes with some more exciting trims (such as a faux carbon fibre dashboard), sports seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel with red contrasting stitching. On the plus side, all versions feel solid and neatly put together. Most of the switchgear is good, too, although the rotary knobs for the heating controls feel a little flimsy.
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