Ten Point Test

Auto Trader Ten Point Test Rating – 77%

When it comes to reinventing a brand, Skoda, with a little help from VW, wrote the book.

And the first chapter of that book, if it existed, would be called Fabia.

Here’s our verdict on Skoda’s supermini. Read on or click below.

1. Looks 8/10

One of the joys of watching someone watching you drive around in a Skoda is seeing their eyes slide from bodywork to badge and their facial expression add surprised to admiring. We like the Fabia’s smart lines and that it has its own identity. The five-year-old Fabia was launched at the turn of the Millennium and facelifted in January 2005. Now it looks even better.

2. Looks inside 8/10

Simple, stylish and neat. The Fabia’s interior split the office with some saying they found it a little dated. However the view from this corner of the workplace was that once again Skoda buyers get excellent value for money. There’s plenty of space for drivers and passengers and everything is clearly visible and within easy reach of the driver. Sit in the Fabia and you won’t feel like you’re in a cheap car.

3. Practicality 8/10

We drove the hatchback model which boasts a respectable 260 litres storage with the seats in place and 1,225 when they’re folded down. You can even stick a pair of skis in your Fabia if you fancy. There’s a low loading sill to make boot access easier. Need more room? Go for the estate for 426 litres of “seats in place” space and 1,225 with them folded down. Rest assured you can stow the odd cup too

4. Ride and Handling 8/10

RIDE & Just like you want them. The ride is comfortable but not at the expense of the handling. Skoda has managed to find just the right middle ground which makes the Fabia a good option for urban, motorway or rural driving. It’s nice and quiet on the longer journeys too. We’d happily have driven it for longer than the week it was loaned for.

5. Performance 7/10

We drove the Fabia Ambiente 1.4 TDI PD which takes 13.8 to get from 0-62mph and won’t go any faster once you get it to 105mph. Across the range, petrol engines are available from 1.2 litres to 2.0 litres while the diesel alternatives are 1.4 litres and 1.9 litres. It’ll handle most the driving you’ll throw at it but don’t expect to win too many races at the lights.

6. Running Costs 8/10

Our model returns average consumption of 61.4mpg while its annual tax bill is £110. Fabia buyers get a two year unlimited mileage factory warranty, plus a third year valid until the car has completed 60,000 miles. Plus there’s a ten year warranty against corrosion and you get a three year paint warranty and a roadside assistance package for the same period.

7. Reliability 8/10

If you haven’t cottoned on already the Skoda brand has come on a little since the days prior to VW ownership. Skoda’s supermini has won stacks of awards – receiving plaudits from industry experts and drivers alike. The car doesn’t feel cheap and buying one is unlikely to result in lots of costly trips to the garage.
If you haven’t cottoned on already the Skoda brand has come on a little since the days prior to VW ownership. Skoda’s supermini has won stacks of awards – receiving plaudits from industry experts and drivers alike. The car doesn’t feel cheap and buying one is unlikely to result in lots of costly trips to the garage.

8. Safety 7/10

The Fabia achieved four stars in Euro NCAP crash tests and driver and front passenger airbags are standard across the Fabia range. There is also side impact protection, child safety locks and height adjustable front seats.

9. Equipment 7/10

Skoda Fabias are divided into Classic, Ambiente and Elegance. Skoda claims to offer an “extra bit of car” at prices similar to competitors and, to a greater extent, achieves it. Opt for the entry-level Classic model and you’ll get a car with goodies including everything from air-con with cooled glovebox and drinks compartment, to ABS, power steering and height adjustable driver’s seat. You’ll have to make do with a radio/cassette player though. The Ambiente version adds tinted glass, trip computer and body coloured door mirrors. Step up to the Elegance and you’ll also get Cruise Control, leather steering wheel and gearing knob and rear parking sensors.

10. X-Factor 8/10

It’s a good car for a good price. This may not sound like the sexiest X-Factor ever, no vase for your flower or other novelty frills here. But it is what most people are looking for.

Key facts

Model tested: Skoda Fabia Ambiente 1.4 TDI PD
On the road price: £9,425
Range price: £7,575-£11,825
Tested: May 2006
Road tester: Adrian Higgins