Written by Justin Delaney, an Independent Reviewer, Journalist, and Motor expert.
We have just spent a week with the fourth-generation Fabia and it looks like the successful formula Škoda have used has been improved on further! It is now the most spacious car within its segment and gets new comfort features as well as several new safety and assistance systems, which we will touch on, further in the article. Visually the new proportions do give the entry level Fabia a larger and more purposeful presence on the road. The designers have had a little more fun with this generation introducing sculptural lines, sharp headlights and tail lights featuring LED technology. Sophisticated details, such as adjustable cooling shutters in the front bumper’s lower air inlet, allows it to slip through the air better or indeed take more air in, if it needs cooling.
As this is the first Fabia to be based on Volkswagen Group’s modular MQB-A0 platform, it outperforms the old model in size, equipment, driving characteristics, and interior space and somehow with no increase in weight. It is the first Fabia to exceed the four-metre mark and this larger exterior size results in even more passenger space and yet again a class leading boot size of 380 litres. Punters that visit their local dealer will have a choice of nine body colours, including the new Graphite Grey or our personal favourite Phoenix Orange. As always further customistation options are available for the grilles, wheels and roof but we think the optional panoramic glass roof is certainly worth considering if you enjoy that bright, airy environment.
Opening the driver’s door on the new Škoda Fabia reveals a well thought out interior. As mentioned previously it is more spacious even for big chaps like us but it comes with additional comfort features to simply make it a nicer place to spend time. First to catch my eye was the free-standing 9.2 inch infotainment display with Škoda’s third-generation infotainment system featuring wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is a gesture control feature which comes as standard, while online-backed voice control via Laura the digital voice assistant is also on hand to help. Don’t worry if you don’t speak English either because Laura understands 15 languages if you fancy this multilingual assistant. Large circular air vents and the new Fabia lettering on the sides of the instrument-cluster give it a modern feel and some of those more exclusive options like a heated steering wheel and windscreen found on the likes of the Octavia or Superb have now filtered down to the Fabia. It is also worth noting Škoda have retained the clever little extras for which they are famed for. A new clip for your car park ticket and an elastic band as a penholder keep things tidy in the storage compartment in the centre console whilst a removable cup holder between the front seats offers the driver and front passenger more flexibility. They sound super simply but when you actually live with the car for a week these well thought out bits are very noticeable!
Škoda are now running the advanced and efficient EVO-generation petrol engines for this latest Fabia and buyers here in Ireland will have a choice of three with power outputs from 65 PS to 150 PS. All engines are even more economical than the outgoing units and fulfill the Euro 6d emissions standard as expected. The new range‑topping engine is the 1.5 TSI with an output of 150 PS and a 7-speed DSG as standard. Our test car was the 1.0 TSI producing 110 PS, which is available with a 6-speed manual gearbox, or a 7‑speed DSG. It felt more than potent enough even with a few lads and camera gear on board around the Dublin Mountains. The final option and probably more suited to urban commuters is the 1.0 litre 95 PS, which is only available with a 5-speed manual gearbox.
With up to nine airbags, the new Škoda Fabia is now comfortably one of the safest vehicles in its segment. As it’s now built on the modular MQB-A0 platform like the Polo, the active and passive safety features have been massively improved. The safety systems now includes Travel Assist, Park Assist, Lane Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Side Assist, Front Assist with Predictive Pedestrian and Cyclist Protection, and Manoeuvre Assist all available for the first time in the Fabia. This package combined has no doubt been instrumental in landing the new Fabia a five star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Here in Ireland buyers will get a choice of three-specifications to choose from. Entry pricing with the Active model will kick off at €19,820. Stepping into the Ambition specification is a small price walk up to €21,020. Our test car was the Style variant and it can be purchased at €22,620. Like with the previous generation a top of the range Monte Carlo is also available here in Ireland priced at €25,690. As always, competitive finance and PCP deals are currently available.
After seven days driving the Škoda Fabia it’s hard to look beyond its honesty as a great car in this sector. The new comfort features that were previously reserved for higher-tier vehicles make it a very comfortable car to do mileage in and the generous space on offer throughout makes you wonder what more do you really need? The market trends have told us many original Fabia owners moved on to crossover vehicles such as the Kamiq or Karoq within the Škoda family in an effort to get more space. The thing is, this latest generation should have all the space you’d ever need granted ‘family size permitting’ and you might indeed save yourself a bob or two. The 110 PS variant we had on test had plenty of power and handled very well over rough and uneven surfaces. The steering feels engaging making it a great all-rounder for that back road or motorway commute. This new generation has picked up multiple awards from the various organisations and media outlets. What we found particularly interesting was the fact that it won the “All The Car You Need” title from Top Gear, which we tend to agree most with!
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