The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Skoda Fabia Scout offers generous space for passengers and luggage, with 4x4-esque body styling. Low running costs and a top-notch reliability record only improves the appeal.
Reasons to buy:
- Well equipped
How good does it look?
Thanks to chunkier bumpers, bodyside cladding and meatier alloy wheels, the looks of the Skoda Fabia Estate are transformed into the rough and ready Scout model. Despite the visual muscle, it stays with two-wheel-drive and offers no extra capability in the rough stuff than other members of the range. The estate body lends itself well to the 4×4 inspired styling, and is so much better in its execution than many other hatchbacks with a load-lugging box attached to the back.
What's the interior like?
The facelift in 2010 lifted the quality of the Skoda Fabia cabin considerably, with the adoption of soft-touch plastics and an upmarket feel to the controls. The layout itself is well thought out, with large, easy to use buttons. Where before the cabin felt plasticky and low-rent, the Fabia now has a quality air about it, similar to what you’ll find in the Volkswagen Polo and Ford’s Fiesta.
How practical is it?
One of the reasons you’d buy an estate is for extra room, and the Skoda Fabia Scout Estate has that in spades. There’s 480 litres of luggage space with the seats in the upright position, and a massive 1,460 litres with them folded. This is considerably more than the Peugeot 207 SW Outdoor and Renault Clio Sport Tourer, and slightly more than the SEAT Ibiza ST. And as well as having top of the class accommodation for the luggage, the passengers get a good deal too, with lots of headroom in the front and back, and more rear legroom than in other superminis. The driver’s seat is supportive, and it is easy to get comfortable thanks to plenty of adjustment, both with the seat itself and the steering wheel which adjusts for reach and rake. Towing weights are 1,000kg for the petrol engine, and 1,200kg for both the diesel units.
What's it like to drive?
The driving experience is pretty good, with the Fabia Scout Estate serving up decent handling, lots of grip and plenty of feedback from the well weighted steering – ensuring that you always know what the front wheels are up to. The suspension is set up for comfort, delivering a well judged ride that copes well with bad road surfaces very well. The only fly in the ointment when it comes to driver enjoyment is that the diesel engine can make a racket when cold. Even when warmed up, you’re constantly reminded which fuel the car uses, and it is only when you get up to motorway speeds and into fifth gear that things settle down to a low roar. The Fabia is well geared to make a comfortable motorway cruiser.
How powerful is it?
Just one petrol engine and a pair of diesel units power the Fabia Scout Estate. The 84bhp 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine accelerates to 62mph in 11.8 seconds and has a top speed of 111mph, while the 74bhp 1.6-litre TDI engine hits 62mph in 12.7 seconds with a top speed of 110mph. The flagship power unit, and best selling engine, develops 104bhp, produces 184lb ft of torque, has a maximum speed of 118mph and can power to 62mph in 11.0 seconds. All of the engines are relatively leisurely in the way that they operate, yet pack decent levels of torque so that decent progress can be made.
How much will it cost me?
All three engines deliver low levels of CO2 emissions, coupled with excellent fuel economy. Both diesel engines emit just 109g/km of CO2 and achieve 67.3mpg on the combined cycle, while the 1.2 TSI unit produces CO2 emissions of 121g/km and can deliver 54.3mpg. Insurance costs are similar to rivals like the Renault Clio Sport Tourer, Peugeot 207 SW and SEAT Ibiza ST, while residual values are top of the class.
How reliable is it?
Skoda’s reputation when it comes to reliability surveys and customer satisfaction is excellent, where the Fabia always comes out very well indeed. Skoda dealers tend to be smaller garages rather than big dealer groups, and as a result customer service is normally first class when problems do crop up. Well known issues concern the diesel particulate filter which can get clogged up if the car isn’t given a regular blast to clear out the cobwebs. Urban driving doesn’t suit the particulate filter at all.
How safe is it?
Though the estate derivative of the Fabia hasn’t actually been crash tested by Euro NCAP, the hatchback has been, scoring a four star rating. Rather disappointingly, curtain airbags are an optional extra on the Fabia Scout, though driver, passenger and side airbags come fitted as standard. Rather oddly, electronic stability programme though is included in the price. Other notable safety features include tyre pressure monitors, available at extra cost.
How much equipment do I get?
To back up the chunky looks of the Scout, it comes very well kitted out with 16-inch alloy wheels, protective body cladding, cruise control, electric windows all round, front fog lights, roof rails, sporty metal pedals and privacy glass, as well as electric and heated mirrors, an alarm system, aircon and a CD player with auxiliary socket to connect a music player up to. Optional extras include larger alloy wheels, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, rear parking sensors, satnav, heated seats and climate control.
The Fabia Scout offers a whole load of space, all wrapped up in package that shrugs off urban knocks thanks to its chunky body styling. Factor in decent equipment levels, good residual values and reasonable insurance costs and you’ve got a pretty compelling package.