What's the used Skoda Fabia hatchback like?
Given how many small cars there are on the new and used car market, it takes one of exceptional competence to really stand out. The Skoda Fabia has, over its various generations, been instrumental in Skoda’s turnaround from the manufacturer of cheap and often erratically behaved cars into a modern-day front runner with a range of competent and desirable products.
This third-generation Fabia was our What Car? Car of the Year winner in 2015, when we had no hesitation in labelling it the most rounded small car on sale, and we still rate it very highly indeed. That's because the Fabia is practical, well equipped and cheap to run. It’s available with a wide range of engine options, too, and it now features two turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol units that have impressed us with their blend of performance and fuel economy.
There’s also a trio of 1.4-litre diesels, all of which offer excellent economy for those who clock up higher mileages.
Trims range from S, which is a little too basic for our tastes, through SE, which is our pick and offers such niceties as alloy wheels, air-con, rear parking sensors and a 6.5in colour touchscreen featuring Skoda’s Smartlink sat-nav, up to the increasingly more opulent Monte Carlo and SE L.
Whichever version you choose, the Fabia is good to drive, surprisingly refined and very comfortable. The basic 1.0-litre MPI engine is adequate around town, but we'd seek out one of the 1.0-litre TSI turbocharged units, which have more get up and go for motorway use. The diesel options all have plenty of low-down grunt, although they're not quite as smooth and refined as the petrol engined-cars.
Around town, the Fabia's ride can be a bit unsettled, but at higher speeds things settle down and it all becomes much more composed. In corners, the Fabia steers well, and there's plenty of grip, and it handles in a secure and competent fashion. Overall refinement is good, with low levels of both 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. Space-wise, there's more than enough up front, and generous amounts of leg and head room in the rear, at least for two, as three is a little bit of a squeeze. The boot is a competitive size, too, and is usefully square in shape. However, fold the rear seats flat and there is a noticeable step in the boot floor.
All in, though, the Fabia is a great car, and it should be fairly light on your pocket, too, with some excellent buys now appearing on the used car forecourts.