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Skoda Fabia Review 2022

David Ross

Written by

David Ross

Skoda Fabia
Skoda Fabia

1/10

1 / 10

00/10
heycar rating
"Pretty much the perfect hatchback"
  • Launched: 2021
  • Small hatch
  • Petrol

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Quick overview

Pros

  • Incredibly refined and comfortable for a small hatch
  • More stylish than before
  • Cheap to run

Cons

  • No hybrid or electric versions
  • Not the most youthful image...
  • A Ford Fiesta is more fun to drive

Overall verdict on the Skoda Fabia

"The Skoda Fabia has ditched its boxy appearance in favour of a far more sleek and stylish look. Yet it's as practical and comfortable as ever. Good to drive and with a quality interior, we think it's one of the best small hatchbacks around. Still want that Volkswagen Polo?"

Skoda Fabia review 2022: front static

We know what you're thinking. Is that really a Skoda Fabia? Well, yes. Because Skoda has decided to make the latest Skoda Fabia actually look appealing, which we can't really say of its predecessor, however worthy it was.


So with its fresh new makeover, this Skoda Fabia is gunning for a wider audience than before. But does it have what it takes to match the likes of the ever-popular Ford Fiesta and the upmarket Volkswagen Polo? Read our Skoda Fabia review to find out.


First off, the new Skoda Fabia looks far better, with a clear influence from the Skoda Kamiq. Which is a good thing. But this is still a Skoda, so it's comfortable, practical and well, sensible. You all know the drill by now.


So it won't surprise you to find out that the Skoda Fabia's real strength is its ride quality. It's superb for a small car and combined with impressive refinement makes this a surprisingly good motorway cruiser while able to soak up rough surfaces and potholes around town. 


Yes the steering could do with a bit more feel (what modern car couldn't) and we wouldn't describe the Skoda Fabia as sporty, but it's reassuring to drive rather than engaging. And that's no bad thing. It's a car that's designed to be cheap to run so it's rather surprising there's no hybrid or similar in the range, but with a range of frugal 1.0-litre engines, all capable of 50mpg+, this is still a cheap car to run.


Bigger than before - and for the first time longer than 4 metres - the Skoda Fabia has plenty of space for a small car which is good news if you have children and car seats to consider. The boot is mighty impressive for a small car and by far the biggest around when compared with the small hatch competition.


Being a Skoda you also get lots of simply clever features like an ice scraper in the fuel filler cap and an umbrella in the driver's door. Things that are actually useful.


But while the Skoda may have a stylish new look, shaking off its rather staid image is a much harder ask. Whether younger buyers will choose a Skoda Fabia over the the likes of the Ford Fiesta or SEAT Ibiza remains to be seen.


But there's no doubt that this is one of the best small hatchbacks on the market. True the Ford Fiesta may be better to drive and the Volkswagen Polo is, well a Volkswagen, but we think the smart money goes on the Skoda Fabia. It's simply a great all-rounder.


If you're looking for the older version, you need our Skoda Fabia (2015-2021) review.

Is the Skoda Fabia right for you?

If you want a sensible and high quality small hatch that's also good value, look no further. There's no car that's more of a match for the impressive Volkswagen Polo than this generation Skoda Fabia. It may not have the most youthful of images, if you've just past your test chances are something a little more on trend (like a Ford Fiesta) will appeal.


But with its new, more dynamic design and stylish looks, we think this Fabia has far more appeal than the previous model. It is also cheap to run and should prove reliable, making it a good long term investment. The only downside is the lack of electric or hybrid power which may put some off. 

What’s the best Skoda Fabia model/engine to choose?

The Skoda Fabia range is pretty straightforward, although we're surprised there are no hybrid or even mild-hybrid versions in the range. That's not a huge issue as the 1.0-litre engine - in its various guises - is cheap to run thanks to good economy.


We'd suggest the best variant is the 1.0 TSI 95PS which has more than enough get up and go to it, while still delivering on the economy front. Go for one in SE Comfort trim and you'll get plenty of kit including a multifunction steering wheel, rear parking sensors, front fog lights and height-adjustable front seats. It represents the best value for money in the range.

What other cars are similar to the Skoda Fabia?

There's no shortage of small hatchbacks around with the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta two of the most popular - and the best - on the market. The Skoda Fabia compares very favourably to both in our opinion.


If you're looking at a Skoda Fabia we'd also suggest checking out some of its other rivals like the latest Vauxhall Corsa, the value for money Kia Rio, fellow Volkswagen Group counterpart, the SEAT Ibiza and the impressive Hyundai i20.


Also check out the Renault Clio, Citroen C3 and the Peugeot 208, while the practical Honda Jazz and the excellent Toyota Yaris are both comfortable and cheap to run thanks to hybrid power, something the Skoda Fabia doesn't have.

Comfort and design: Skoda Fabia interior

"The Skoda Fabia gets all the interior basics spot on. It's more roomy than before, well built and easy to use. But it's the 'simply clever' features which really make it stand apart from the competition."

Skoda Fabia review 2022: interior dashboard

Bigger than before, the Skoda Fabia feels more spacious inside, which those in the back will appreciate. The quality of the finish is excellent and it's well designed too, with everything close at hand and clearly labelled. There's no searching for hidden buttons here.


The seats are comfortable enough with decent support and there's plenty of adjustment in both the driver's seat and steering column, so even the long-limbed can find a comfortable driving position. Despite not having the same boxy design of the old model, there's still good headroom so your quiff won't get squashed.


User-friendly is the name of the game here and the Fabia, like all Skodas, has a series of 'simply clever' features. These are small but handy extras designed to make life easier.


There are five new features in the new Skoda Fabia, although Skoda says there are in fact 43 practical details, although we're not listing them all here because you'd fall asleep.


However, the stand out ones are the ice scraper in the fuel filler cover (complete with a tyre tread depth gauge) and the umbrella in the door. The new features include a removable cup holder between the front seats, a box that locks on the rear tunnel for storing small items (handy for the kids) plus a boot tidy that fits on the side wall and can be pulled out to keep items from sliding around.

Quality and finish

While there are the usual hard plastics you'd expect in a small hatchback this size, they don't feel cheap. In fact, the interior of the latest Skoda Fabia is one of the best around for quality, we'd say it's on a par with the Volkswagen Polo. 


Higher spec models get Metallic grey trim to give a more upmarket feel but even the entry-level S models don't feel especially 'entry-level' as such, although you do get plastic rather than leather on the steering wheel and gear lever. That said, compared to the previous Skoda Fabia, there's a significant improvement in quality throughout the cabin.


All the switches have a nice solid feel to them - it's a car that feels built to last - and there are no squeaks or rattles on the move either.

The Skoda Fabia is every inch a modern small hatchback so it's no surprise to see a large, bright, high resolution touchscreen dominating the centre console. S and SE Comfort models get a 6.5-inch colour while the Colour Edition gets an 8-inch colour display. Go for a posh SE L and you get a big 9.2-inch screen. If size matters to you.


Luckily, this isn't the same system that's used in larger Skoda models, instead it's much easier to use. For starters, things like the air conditioning are controlled through proper dials and buttons, which we think is far simpler (and less distracting) than having to go through menus on the touchscreen. Skoda knows its audience with the Fabia.


The system is intuitive and easy to use, whichever size screen you end up with. SE L gets navigation as standard but all models have DAB and Bluetooth (for music streaming) while a smartphone can be connected without the need of a cable via Wireless SmartLink and Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, which is an affordable £55 option that we'd recommend.

Space and practicality: Skoda Fabia boot space

The Skoda Fabia has always been one of the most practical small cars out there and this latest generation continues in that mould. 


With a 380-litre boot the Skoda Fabia's boot is actually 50 litres bigger than before making it the best small car around for carrying space and you can squeeze in significantly more than rivals like the Ford Fiesta with 292 litres and the Vauxhall Corsa at 309 litres. It's even bigger than the Honda Jazz.


There is quite a high boot lip, but the tailgate opening is wide, making it easy to get things like pushchairs  or bags of compost in there. Or indeed, both. 


The Skoda Fabia is bigger than before, so worth noting if you have a narrow drive or parking spot. Its dimensions are 4108mm in length (the first time the Fabia is more than 4 metres long) while the width has upped to 1780mm.


The good news is that these increases mean more interior room, which will be especially noticeable for those who sit in the back and is handy if you have child seats (and the accompanying children...).

Handling and ride quality: What is the Skoda Fabia like to drive?

"The Skoda Fabia isn't going to rock your world from behind the wheel. Yes a Ford Fiesta is more fun, but the Fabia is reassuringly easy to drive, comfortable and a doddle to park too. In short, it's exactly what a Skoda Fabia should be."

Skoda Fabia review 2022: rear dynamic

This generation of Skoda Fabia feels a lot more 'grown up' than the old one. What do we mean by that? Well, it's quieter, it rides better and has all the qualities of a car from the class above. Be prepared to see the word 'refinement' bandied around a lot here.


Yes there are other small hatchbacks that are better to drive - the Ford Fiesta and SEAT Ibiza spring to mind - but the Skoda Fabia goes about its business of being a no nonsense hatchback with impeccable proficiency.


Indeed it's hard to find fault. The Fabia is reassuring through corners with nicely weighted steering and good grip, while body roll is kept well in check. True the steering can feel quite artificial but you'd be hard pressed to find a small hatchback where it doesn't. 


The ride is perhaps its standout quality. We'd say this is the most refined and comfortable small car around, feeling very much like a scaled down Skoda Octavia in that respect. It's excellent over uneven roads and broken surfaces, while on the motorway it covers miles with effortless ease. 


Rear visibility isn't quite as good as the old Skoda Fabia, but it's still easy to park thanks to the light steering and rear parking sensors which are standard fit on all but the entry-level Fabia S model.


What engines and gearboxes are available in the Skoda Fabia?

The first thing you notice about the Skoda Fabia range is what there isn't. And that's no electric version, no plug-in hybrid and not even a hybrid. Instead, Skoda is sticking to a straightforward petrol-only line-up. Hurrah for simplicity.


The Skoda Fabia has always been a sensible small hatch and that's not changing any time soon. So the engine range is made up of various 1.0-litre models, all of which are cheap to run if hardly balls of fire.


The cheapest is the 1.0 MPI with a modest 65PS and a five-speed gearbox. It only comes in Fabia S trim, so we'd recommend something with a bit more oomph if your budget allows. Spend a bit more and you can get the 1.0 MPI with 80PS which is a lot better and comes in SE Comfort trim which gets you more toys. It's ideal for around town. 


However, if you are going to spend time on dual carriageways and the like, we'd recommend the 1.0 TSI. The 95PS version is more than quick enough and thanks to the fact it's a three-cylinder engine, not only is it nippy at low speeds but it also has a bit of character. Shocker.


The top of the range version is the 1.0 TSI 110PS which is the only engine to get a six-speed gearbox and also the only one available with an automatic, a much improved DSG in this case. You'll pay £1000 premium for the latter though and unless you must have an auto, we'd stick to the positive shifting and enjoyable to use manual.


With no Skoda Fabia vRS model - and nothing on the horizon - if you want a sporty Skoda Fabia, a 1.5 TSI engine with 150PS is on the way. There will also be a Monte Carlo trim to satisfy the boy and/or girl racer in you.

Refinement and noise levels

If there's one area the Skoda Fabia really excels at, it's refinement. Not only does it ride well, but it's very quiet on the move with little engine or road noise. In fact, it feels like a much bigger car in this respect. All the engines are quiet and you'll only really hear them if you push them to limit - even then the sound isn't coarse or intrusive.


Rough roads and big potholes don't pose any issues, with the cabin well insulated against vibrations and harshness. On bigger roads the Fabia cruises along at the speed limit in quiet contentment, so while it may be a small car, it's actually very adept for motorway driving.

Safety equipment: How safe is the Skoda Fabia?

This generation of the Skoda Fabia hasn't been crash tested by the bods at Euro NCAP yet with their yellow dummies. But given that the previous Skoda Fabia has a maximum five star Euro NCAP rating, we're going to stuck our neck out and say this one will too.


Driver and front passenger airbags, curtain airbags and front side airbags are fitted as standard in the Skoda Fabia. A knee airbag for the driver and side airbags for the rear can be added with the Safety Package - a £455 extra. You can also add Adaptive Cruise Control but it costs a further £460.

MPG and fuel costs: What does a Skoda Fabia cost to run?

"As you'd expect, the Skoda Fabia is cheap to run with all the engines proving economical and returning at least 50mpg."

Skoda Fabia review 2022: side profile

All manual 1.0-litre versions of the Skoda Fabia, whether MPI or TSI, will return at least 55mpg regardless of power. So you won't be punished at the pumps if you choose a model with a bit of oomph. 

How reliable is the Skoda Fabia?

Skoda has a strong reputation for reliability and owner satisfaction, outperforming parent company Volkswagen in most surveys. In the HonestJohn.co.uk 2020 Satisfaction Index, Skoda finished second, behind only Lexus with owner's giving the brand high marks for reliability.


It's not all good news though. The previous Fabia had a chequered reliability record, mainly to do with the seven-speed DSG semi-automatic gearbox. Manual cars didn't suffer from the same issues and since then Skoda has improved the DSG gearbox so we don't expect this model to suffer from the same issues.

Insurance groups and costs

Insurance groups haven't been sorted out yet - this Fabia is a bit too new - but expect it to be similar to the old model which started at Group 1 for some models. The Fabia has always been a cheap car to insure which helps with its low running costs.

VED car tax: What is the annual road tax on a Skoda Fabia?

As there are no electric or PHEV versions of the Skoda Fabia, all models qualify for the standard annual VED rate - £155 as of 2021. There's no danger of any Fabia costing more than £40,000, not matter how tick happy you get on the options list, so no worries on showroom tax.


First year tax will set you back £180 for all 1.0-litre engines, regardless of power and gearbox.

How much should you be paying for a Skoda Fabia?

"The Skoda Fabia is not the bargain basement deal it once was, but you should still be able to get a decent deal on a nearly new pre-registered model."

Skoda Fabia review 2022: rear static

List prices start at £15k for the S model which is reasonably well equipped but most people will want at least an SE Comfort which costs closer to £17k book price. But look at a pre-registered model and you should be able to knock a decent amount of those prices.

Trim levels and standard equipment

The entry-level model is the Skoda Fabia S which has LED headlights, Front Assist, Pedestrian Protection and Lane Assist including road edge detection, DAB, a 6.5-inch colour screen infotainment system and manual air conditioning. It also has e-Call+, a system that establishes an audio and data connection to a dedicated emergency call centre if sensors within the car detect a major accident.


Skoda Fabia SE Comfort models have 15-inch Rotare alloy wheels, front fog lights and a two-spoke leather multifunction steering wheel along with rear parking sensors, height-adjustable front seats, adjustable lumbar support in front seats and leather-wrapped handbrake lever and gearshift knob.


The high spec Skoda Fabia SE L comes with 16-inch silver Proxima alloy wheels, chrome window surrounds and electric windows front and rear, comfort seats, chrome-edged air vents, ambient lighting package and microsuede grey lower decorative trim with art grey stitching. Inside there's an Amundsen navigation system with 9.2-inch colour display, Care connect and Infotainment online (1 year), web radio and six speakers. Dual-zone air-conditioning, along with two LED reading lights, a removable cup-holder and a front centre armrest are also standard.


The stylish Fabia Colour Edition gets 16-inch Proxima black alloy wheels, privacy glass and door mirrors painted in roof colour. Inside, Fabia Colour Edition models have a Bolero radio with 8-inch colour display, Virtual Cockpit with 10-inch colour display and KESSY keyless engine start/stop. There's even an umbrella in the door pocket.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Is the Skoda Fabia reliable?

The previous generation Skoda Fabia, launched in 2015, was not without its issues, the main cuplrit being the DSG semi-automatic gearbox fitted to some models. That aside, the Fabia has proved reasonably reliable overall.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

Is Skoda Fabia a good buy?

The Skoda Fabia makes an excellent buy, especially as a used car. It's cheaper than an equivalent Volkswagen Polo but is as well built and cheap to run with a hard wearing interior. Regularly service it and there's no reason you won't get years of reliable and trouble free motoring.

David Ross

Answered by

David Ross

Is a Skoda Fabia a good first car?

It may not have the most youthful image but the Fabia makes an ideal first car thanks to its easy to drive nature, cheap running costs and low insurance group ratings. Used examples are good value and with plenty around you can afford to be choosy.

Phil Hall

Answered by

Phil Hall

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