Donna Kelly has over 12 years of experience in the motoring industry, writing, test driving and tweeting about cars. Her weekends are spent trackside, covering racing events.
Since its release in 1999, more than 4.5 million Skoda Fabias have been sold, and it's easy to see why. Comfortable, practical and great value for money, the Fabia is one of the best superminis for sale in the UK, giving rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Seat Ibiza, Peugeot 208 and Volkswagen Polo a run for their money.
Our Skoda Fabia review covers:
Facelifted in 2018, the latest generation Skoda Fabia sports a sharper-edged design than its predecessor, with its distinctive chrome grille, slimmer lights and deep, crisp side feature line. Yet, it is inside that the Fabia truly comes into its own.
Designed to make life simpler, the Skoda Fabia has lots of clever interior features that make it stand out from its rivals, such as an ice scraper clipped to the inside of the fuel flap and an umbrella slot in the driver's door. This is in addition to its well-sized door bins, trays, cubbies, and huge glovebox.
There's a good amount of passenger space inside, although the Honda Jazz still leads the class for head and legroom. The Fabia, however, does have one of the biggest boots in the supermini sector. At an impressive 380 litres, the Fabia's boot is larger than the Ibiza and Fiesta, expanding to 1,150 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded. The only real issue is the pronounced load lip and lack of a height-adjustable boot floor, making loading large items more difficult.
Inside, the Fabia boasts a practical and comfortable interior, if somewhat bland. While some new interior trims and colours were added in 2018, most trims come with a plain black design, chunky switchgear and solid plastics on the doors and dashboard. Fortunately, higher-spec cars come with the option of some brighter red or brushed-metal effect dashboard inserts.
Four models are available, including SE, SE Drive, SE L and Monte Carlo. SE models feature a 6.5" touchscreen display, front fog lights, air conditioning, and 15-inch alloy wheels.
The mid-spec SE Drive comes with front and rear parking sensors, an Amundsen touchscreen navigation system, unique black/grey fabric seat upholstery and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The high-spec SE L ups the technology count with LED rear lights, climate control, cruise control, Microsuede / Satin Black upholstery and keyless start/stop. The Monte Carlo model adds black exterior styling, including a black spoiler, 16" Italia black alloy wheels, sports steering wheel and the Monte Carlo logo.
To keep things simple, Skoda refined the Fabia's engine range in 2018 with just 1.0-litre petrol units offered, ranging in power from 64bhp to 109bhp and a 1.5-litre petrol engine in the 2022 Monte Carlo spec delivering 148bhp.
The entry-level engines – the 64bhp 1.0 MPI 65 and 79bhp 1.0 MPI 80 – don't come with a turbocharger, so are aimed at city drivers who tend to travel shorter distances at lower speeds. Both come with front-wheel drive and a five-speed manual gearbox as standard.
For those who need more power, the turbocharged 94bhp 1.0 TSI 95 and 109bhp 1.0 TSI 110 delivers everything you need, including a seven-speed DSG auto transmission, although the Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost Hybrid 125 still stands out in the market. For those who want real zing, the 1.5 TSI 150 Monte Carlo is the one to go for, with a 0-62mph time of 8.0 seconds.
In terms of ride, the Fabia is on a par with the smooth Peugeot 208, its precise steering and lower kerb weight offering better handling than its predecessor. It's light around town and offers plenty of grip on the road, although the Sport drive mode (if fitted) is better for weighting on winding roads.
Prices for the new Skoda Fabia start from £16,945.00 OTR* or to lease from £200.29 per month.
Want to know more about leasing the Skoda Fabia? Nationwide Vehicle Contracts is one of the UK's largest providers of car leasing. All of our lease deals include the full manufacturer's warranty, road tax for the duration of the contract, breakdown cover and free mainland GB delivery (exclusions apply). What's more, with fixed monthly rentals, a low initial outlay and flexible mileage and contract terms, leasing a Skoda Fabia could be cheaper than buying outright with a bank loan or dealer finance.
*'On the road' price correct at time of publication and typically includes one year’s road fund license, DVLA first registration fee and number plate fee. Always check with the manufacturer.