You could be forgiven for thinking you've seen the Skoda Fabia before: underneath, it’s virtually the same as the Audi A1, VW Polo and Seat Ibiza. But it has been give a few special touches that make it slightly more individual than its siblings.
This, the third generation Fabia, has been given a tweaked exterior design and a refashioned interior, and it already had a good starting point. The Fabia was always spacious, comfortable and excellent value for money, and this one just takes it to the next level.
The latest Fabia is more stand-out than ever before. Up front, the headlamps and grille fit in line with bigger Skodas like the Octavia and Rapid, and it has something of a more sporty look with its sharp crease line that runs from the headlamps to the tail lights. If you need more space, theres also an estate version.
Inside, the cabin is pretty solid and well nailed together. This size of car tends to get a bit more abuse as a workhorse, and it should stand up well. The steering wheel and drivers seat are fully adjustable, so getting the best driving position is a doodle and there’s no shortage of space in the back. There’s even space for three adults, although that wouldn't be advised for long journeys. With the seats up there’s 330 litres of boot space, but fold the split-folding rear seats down and that will expand to 1,150 litres.
So the Fabia ticks a lot of the boxes for space, style and comfort, but how well does it drive? Well, it’s pretty impressive. It may be slightly wider, longer and lower than its predecessor, but it is also lighter which helps when it comes to economy. Go for the eco-friendly green line model and you’ll get over 90 mpg with co2 emissions of just 82 g/km.
Hot hatch fans will be disappointed to hear there's no hot vRS version, for that you’ll have to consider the Polo GTI, Ibiza Cupra or Audi S1. The best all-round petrol, though, is the turbocharged 1.2 litre TSI which offers warm hatch pace and decent economy.
The steering has lots of feel and gives confidence through the bends. It doesn’t handle in the same class as a Ford Fiesta, but it’s not far behind.
We asked a couple of young drivers to put the Skoda Fabia to the test and share their opinions in our consumer review. Watch the video above to find out what they thought of the car.