Skoda Fabia
What Car? UK|November 2021
New small hatchback distils Skoda’s common-sense ethos into a handy package On sale Late 2021 Price from £15,000 (est)
John Howell

THERE ARE SMALL cars that are cheap, but you feel every penny of the cost savings. There are small cars that you pay a premium for but, even without Sherlock-style scrutiny, you find yourself wondering “What’s all the fuss about?”. And then there’s the Skoda Fabia – a car that feels more than the sum of its parts, for less than you’d expect those parts to cost.

Deliveries of the all-new, fourth-generation Fabia will begin at the tail end of this year. It’s longer, wider, and lower than before and is available with new features, such as digital instruments, a heated steering wheel, and a heated windscreen. Full LED headlights and taillights are now standard and the list of safety aids includes lane assist, blindspot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.

There will be four trim levels from the getgo, with a sportier Monte Carlo model joining the range from next year. Around that time, a 148bhp 1.5 TSI 150 turbocharged petrol engine will arrive, bolstering the opening salvo of 1.0-liter petrol in varying states of tune.

We haven’t tried the two non-turbocharged 1.0 MPI engines, but since the sprint from 0-62mph in these versions takes forever – well, more than 15 seconds – our advice is clear: go for at least the turbocharged, 94bhp 1.0 TSI 95. It cracks 0-62mph in around 10 seconds, so it’s more suited to motorways, but you still need to drop the five-speed manual gearbox from fifth to fourth if there’s a hill and you’re aiming to make headway between 50 and 70mph. The 109bhp 1.0 TSI 110, meanwhile, offers a touch more fizz and comes with a six-speed manual ’box or an optional seven-speed automatic.

The manual gearboxes are slick – just not as snickety-snackety as the manual ’box in the Ford Fiesta – and Fabia’s smooth clutch and brakes make it easy to drive deftly in traffic.

In terms of noise, the 1.0 TSI engines emit a bit of boom and some vibrations through the pedals when you wind them up, but if you drive as if Miss Daisy’s aboard, they’re hushed. The big improvement over the outgoing Fabia is the reduction in suspension noise, wind noise, and road roar on motorways. If it’s not as quiet as the Peugeot 208, it isn’t far behind.

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