Skoda Fabia Estate
The first impression is: Skoda has not modified the Fabia at all! The car drives just as it did when it was first introduced in late 2014. The Fabia feels solid and the suspension is tuned for comfort. This sets the Fabia emphatically apart from similar cars from other brands, where the emphasis is often on dynamics. The suspension may be soft, but the feeling in the steering wheel is just above average and therefore the Fabia gives a confidence-inspiring feel. However, when the speed is increased very sharply, that feeling does not always turn out to be justified. Earlier than other cars, the Fabia loses grip and the electronic safety systems therefore have to step in.
When it comes to engines, there is more news to report. In view of new emissions standards, Skoda has modified its engine range. The diesel engine has been dropped. The most popular engine, the 1.0 TSI, has been fine-tuned to meet the new requirements. Moreover, the 1.0 TSI now comes in a 95hp and a 110hp version (previously, a 1.2 TSI provided this power).
In practice, nothing is noticeable of the adjustments for the new emissions standards, and so it should be. The 110 hp / 200 Nm output is more than adequate and delivers its power over a wide rev range. In the process, the 1.0 TSI is exceptionally quiet, so the Fabia never feels like a cheap car. In fact, the optional DSG automatic transmission takes the Fabia to the next level. The super-fast shifting makes driving more pleasant and comfortable. Test consumption came out at 6.7 litres per 100 km. That is only marginally better than the test consumption with the 1.2 TSI (test drive from January 2015) and still too high for a car of this size and power.
Skoda is all about maximum functionality at a minimum price. The Fabia is equipped with all the technology in common use, but is never innovative or lavish. But. what is "mainstream" changes over time. A few years ago, self-driving features were costly options for equally costly cars, but it is now quite common for a computer to watch over the driver and assist where necessary.
For the 2018 model year, the Fabia now warns of objects in the blind spot of the wing mirror. The Fabia could already brake automatically for danger in front of the car. During the first encounter, this system gave false alerts more than once. On this reacquaintance, the system worked more reliably and there were no unjustified warnings or braking interventions. The sensors used to detect danger to the car are now also used to automatically maintain distance (adaptive cruise-control) and to control high beams (without blinding oncoming traffic). The updated Fabia now also warns of danger behind the car (e.g. when reversing out of a parking space).
Characteristic of every Skoda are the so-called "Simply Clever"-features. These conveniences hardly make the car more expensive, but do make daily life easier. The Fabia already featured an umbrella holder under the passenger seat, flexible barriers and bag hooks in the boot, wastebaskets in the door pockets and a window scraper behind the filler door. For the updated Fabia, two USB sockets in the rear, a holder for tablet computers on the back of the front seat headrests and a double-sided mat (one side fabric, one side easily washable plastic) in the boot are added.
Finally, the exterior has been tweaked in details. Different materials have been used in the interior, while the layout of the clocks (speedometer, tachometer and trip computer) has been slightly refined. The black 16-inch rims on the test car are new, while the hatchback is now available with rims up to a maximum of 18 inches. The front bumper matches the headlights slightly more nicely, which now use LED light for less energy consumption and higher light output.
Skoda did not want to take any chances when revamping its best seller: the Fabia. When it comes to looks, the manufacturer has therefore been extremely careful. The chassis has not been changed at all. In recent years, the engines have been gradually modernised. For 2018, minor changes have been made to comply with the new emissions standards and there is no noticeable difference in practice; exactly as it should be.
The difference between the old and the updated Fabia is mainly in the equipment. Thanks to support for Apple Carplay and Android Auto, the infotainment system is ready for the future. The emphasis is on safety features. A computer watches with the driver and can warn or even brake automatically when necessary. Just because the modifications are so minor, the Fabia remains economical, but the car has moved with the times. The safe choice was definitely the right choice in this case!
- Good price
- Simply Clever features convenient and sensible
- 1.0 TSI less economical than promised
- Confident feeling in steering not always justified