The Skoda Fabia is something of an icon for loyal customers of the Czech firm. Launched way back in 2000 as a value alternative to parent company Volkswagen's Polo, the Fabia had the perfect formula of practicality, reliability and character, and its vRS Diesel version attracted a cult following and reinvented the warm hatch market. Now in its fourth generation, the Fabia has modern, edgy styling and has proven that it can stand the test of time.
Why should I buy one?
The Skoda Fabia is built with Skoda's winning combination of high quality and good value. Everything is well made and put together, and because it is made from tried and tested VW group parts, buyers can be certain it will be reliable for years to come.
The Fabia keeps costs down by offering just one 1-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine with varying power outputs, reducing the engineering needs of different units. It's a characterful unit with plenty of revs available and enough power to keep up with traffic. Don't expect it to win a drag race, but it's plenty good enough for Fabia's size. It offers decent fuel economy in return, with up to 53mpg given by the smallest engine.
The Fabia is slightly wider than the average supermini, giving passengers plenty of elbow room and making the cabin feel airy. The interior is well designed, solid and functional, but perhaps a little sober for those looking for colourful design. Boot space is good and the split-fold seats mean it can swallow large items easily.
It's nice to drive, with a comfortable seating position and pleasant ride quality, and its slightly wider stance helps give it stability in corners.
What engines and trims are available?
The Fabia's 1-litre engine is available as a 60bhp non-turbo for the thriftiest among us, followed by 95bhp and 110bhp turbo versions for those hoping to hustle along a bit. Even the most powerful one returns over 50mpg, so economy is the order of the day here.
The Fabia broadly follows Skoda's standard pattern of S, SE and SE L trims. You get plenty of airbags, ABS, Bluetooth and alloy wheels as standard on the S, but you need to be looking to the SE and upwards for air con or the more luxury features.
What should I look for?
The Fabia has a proven track record for reliability, so major issues are rare. Keep it serviced on time and the engine will work like a charm. Look out for hard-worked commuter cars or worn interiors from family use - there's plenty of choice in the market so take the time to pick a good one.