What's the used Skoda Fabia estate like?
The Fabia Estate is essentially a tardis. It's based on one of our favourite used small cars, but inside it features big-car space and practicality.
That makes the smartly-styled model an incredibly versatile proposition – an estate car that feels at home in a multi-storey car park but can also carry all your kit for a family holiday. Count us in.
Under the bonnet, you’ll find the same excellent engine range as the regular car. There are two non-turbo 1.0-litre petrols of 59 or 74bhp, two turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol units of 94 and 109bhp, and two turbo 1.2-litre petrols with 89 or 109bhp. There’s also a trio of 1.4-litre diesels in 74, 89 and 103bhp flavours, each offering excellent economy for those who clock up higher mileages.
Trim levels begin with S. It’s a little too basic, although you do get Bluetooth connectivity and DAB radio. We’d recommend upgrading to an SE car because you’ll get alloy wheels, air-con, rear parking sensors and a 6.5in colour touchscreen featuring Skoda’s Smartlink sat-nav. At the top end of trims you’ll find sporty Monte Carlo and classy SE L models. They get climate control, cruise control and keyless start.
It's also worth noting that the model received a facelift in 2018. Revisions included a redesigned front-end, with a new wider grille and redesigned headlights, and the Fabia's diesel engines were removed from the range.
Whichever Fabia Estate you choose, it'll be good to drive, surprisingly refined and very comfortable. The basic non-turbo 1.0-litre engine is adequate around town, but we'd seek out one of the turbocharged petrol models as they have more 'get up and go' for motorway use. The diesels all have plenty of low-down grunt, but aren't quite as smooth and refined as the petrols.
Around town, the car's ride can be a bit unsettled. At higher speeds things settle down and it all becomes much more composed. In corners, the Fabia Estate steers well, with plenty of grip, and it handles in a secure and competent fashion. Overall refinement is good, with low levels of wind and road noise.
Inside, there's an excellent driving position with good visibility, and the dashboard and surrounding areas are all laid out in a logical fashion. The 6.5in touchscreen is clear and easy to use, too. Materials feel cheap in some areas, but the items you touch most feel of a good quality.
There’s plenty of room for passengers, both in the front and rear, and there’s just enough space in the back to accommodate three adults side by side.
Boot space is impressive, even with the rear seats up, so it’s ideal for those who regularly need to haul a lot of stuff around. With the rear seats up, there’s more space than you’d get in a Volvo XC60 – a large SUV – and only marginally less than in the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, which is an estate version of the family car.
Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Skoda Fabia estate?
The Fabia estate is a well built car, so most of your concerns will surround whether the interior is clean and tidy. Also check that the alloy wheels, if specified, haven’t suffered any kerb damage. Its most likely use will have been as a town car, so inspect the bodywork for minor scuffs.
Owners reported problems with the seven-speed DSG automatic gearboxes in earlier cars – they can be jerky when shifting. Others found it difficult to use the Mirrorlink system on the car’s infotainment system.
What are the most common problems with a used Skoda Fabia estate?
There was a recall because of concerns about the driver's side airbag not deploying fast enough in Fabias made between 8 January and 28 February 2018. Speak with your Skoda dealer to find out if your car is affected. It will need to have a replacement airbag unit fitted to solve the issue.
Is a used Skoda Fabia estate reliable?
The Skoda Fabia featured in the small car category of our most recent reliability survey, coming 13th out of 17 models. It received a reliability rating of 91.7%, which isn't too concerning (although it's not too confidence-inspiring either). Skoda as a brand ranked 12th out of 30 manufacturers, which is a respectable result.
If you would like to see the full reliability list, visit out What Car? Reliability Survey pages.
What used Skoda Fabia estate will I get for my budget?
Around £5,500 should get you a high – though not ridiculously high – mileage Fabia estate. Expect the model year to be 2015 and the trim level S.
For a 2016 car in SE trim with around 50,000 miles, you need a budget of around £8,500. That should get you one of the more powerful turbo 1.0-litre options. For a Monte Carlo, SE L or facelifted (2018) model, you're looking at £10,000 at least.
Later cars from 2020 and 2021 begin at around £15,000, which we believe is reasonable.
Fabia Estates are not rare by any means, but hatchbacks vastly outnumber them on the used market.
Check the value of a used Skoda Fabia Estate with What Car? Valuations
Find a used Skoda Fabia Estate for sale here
How much does it cost to run a Skoda Fabia estate?
The Fabia Estate's fuel economy is similar to that of the hatchback version. As an example, that model's 89bhp 1.4-litre diesel has a combined figure of 78.6mpg under the older NEDC tests.
Most buyers will be well served by one of the turbocharged 1.0 or 1.2-litre petrols. Earlier models with the 1.2 have an official figure of 60.1mpg in 89bhp form under the older NEDC tests. Later 94bhp 1.0-litre engines do a little better at 65.7mpg, or 52.3mpg under the newer and more realistic WLTP tests.
Annual car tax (VED) for cars registered before the tax changes of April 2017 came into force will be based on CO2 emissions, while those registered after that date will be charged at the flat rate, which currently stands at £155 a year. To find out more about the current road tax costs, click here.
Insurance and servicing
Insurance groups for the Fabia estate are low across the range, while servicing costs are moderate for most examples. You also have the option of arranging a fixed-price servicing plan. Maintenance alternates between interim and major services every year or 10,000 miles. An interim service costs £159 and a major one is £249.
Which used Skoda Fabia estate should I buy?
The sweet spot in the Fabia Estate engine range is the 94bhp 1.0-litre petrol. It offers plenty more punch than the non-turbo engine options, but isn't as expensive to buy as its 109bhp counterpart.
Sure, the older 1.2-litre petrols are even cheaper to buy, but we believe the 1.0-litre is a worthy upgrade if you can afford it – especially seeing as the 1.2s aren't available post-facelift. We'd only recommend the diesels to those who plan to do many, many miles.
In terms of trims, we believe SE strikes the best balance of equipment and affordability. It's not as basic as S, but keeps prices lower than SE L and Monte Carlo.
Our favourite Skoda Fabia estate: 1.0 TSI 95 SE
What alternatives should I consider to a used Skoda Fabia estate?
There aren't many estates based on small cars around, but there are some alternatives to the Fabia estate out there. For example, you can pick up a used Mini Countryman if you're looking to spend a bit more cash compared with the equivalent Fabia. It's chic, plush inside and good to drive, although it won't pack quite the same practicality.
For even more space, you could upgrade to the Skoda Octavia Estate. It's based on a family car, so naturally it's bigger. Like the Fabia Estate, it impresses with its value for money, equipment and economy.