heycar editorial team
- Vast boot space
- Top drawer quality
- Refined driving manners
Not so great
- Short on driving excitement
- Limited engine choice
- Sparse kit on base model
On the inside
How much does it cost to run
Prices, versions and specification
"Out of all the cars in the Skoda range, it’s the Fabia Estate that embodies all the values that have taken this Czech company right to the top of many buyers’ shopping lists the most. A lot of it has to do with the way the Fabia sidesteps all of the one-up-manship that can afflict decisions when picking a car. Instead, the Fabia marks you out as an independent thinker."
On top of this, the Fabia Estate does practicality like no other in it's, admittedly niche, sector of small hatch-based estates. Lift up the tailgate and you’re presented with a huge boot of 530-litres with the rear seats still upright and in use. That’s getting on for executive estate dimensions. Tumble them down and the Fabia has 1395-litres to play with.
As well as all this space, Skoda makes it easy to use thanks to a low loading sill height and boot sides that are free from interruptions that might snag a bigger bit of cargo as it’s slid into or out of the car. The optional variable height floor is well worth ticking on the options list as it means the base of the luggage bay is all at one level, again making it less hassle to fit in bulkier items with the rear seats tipped forward.
Throughout the rest of the Fabia Estate, there are all the little touches that make the Skoda such an appealing prospect for anyone who has to live with a car day in, day out. Details such as the large bottle holders in the door pockets and centre console, and even the ice scraper hidden in the fuel filler flap that’s a trademark of the company. It all adds up to a car that fits into your life without asking anything in return
The Fabia Estate won’t ask much of your finances either thanks to a range of petrol engines that are frugal. They come with a choice of 1.0-litre engines in models from the 2018 facelift forward, or you could have a diesel motor by choosing a used version from when this Fabia Estate was launched in 2015.
Whichever engine takes your fancy, the Fabia wagon is very comfortable and glosses it's way over bump-battered roads with calm efficiency. Granted, you won’t feel entertained at the steering wheel of a Fabia in the way you would with a Ford Fiesta, but the Skoda has chosen comfort and quiet over an overtly sportier feel. Still, it deals with twists, turns, motorways and towns with the same relaxed air of competence.
Such an unpretentious approach doesn’t mean you have to wear a hair shirt when driving the Fabia Estate. Base versions are quite Spartan in the amount of equipment they come with, but it’s easy to choose a higher grade version and enjoy all of the luxuries you could want in a small estate while also lugging large amounts of cargo.
If you're looking for the hatchback version, you need our Skoda Fabia (2015-) review.
Comfort and design
"The roof line of the Skoda Fabia Estate ensures there’s plenty of headroom for the driver and front passenger. It makes the Fabia wagon one of the best choices for taller drivers, especially as the seat can be moved for height in all but S trim to get you quite low in the cabin for loftier occupants or raised up to give a good view if you’re shorter."
Whatever height you are, the driver of the Fabia Estate has a good all-round view thanks to the larger than normal glass area of the car. Even glancing over your shoulder to change lane is not hindered by the rear-most pillars, which gives an added sense of security on faster roads.
The driver also has angle and depth adjustment for the steering wheel to help fine tune the seating position. With this done, you’ll be able to see the simple main dash display with two large dials for speed and revs with a digital display in the centre for additional information. Unlike the Skoda’s cousins from Audi, SEAT and Volkswagen, there isn’t the option of a Digital Dash in the main binnacle.
Instead, what you get is a 6.5-inch infotainment screen in the centre console of the dash. With SE Drive and higher trim levels, this includes Amundsen sat-nav. It’s easy to use and the display in the Skoda also has shortcut buttons to the side of the screen to take you to the right menu quickly.
Handling and ride quality
"Where most small estates aim to deliver a modicum of sporting prowess, the Skoda Fabia Estate more than happily goes in it's own direction to favour comfort above all else. It’s a good way to be as most people choosing this compact wagon will value a supple ride over the last word in handling finesse."
This is not to say the Fabia Estate doesn’t want to go round corners. Far from it and the Estate makes the most of it's available grip to thread it's way into and out of bends in a very controlled, composed manner. The steering is light and gives a good feel for what the front wheels are up to, while the brakes are strong and consistent in their actions.
All of this makes the Fabia Estate much more fun to drive than you might at first suspect. Even so, it is still primarily the comfort of it's ride that leaves the longest lasting impression. Choose the models on smaller wheels and the Skoda is especially good at dealing with the humps and bumps of most roads. Even the Monte Carlo model on it's larger wheels still rides with a settled sureness that leaves the driver and passengers largely oblivious to how poor the road’s surface is.
In town, there is a slight firmness to the ride when you encounter sharper edges such as road joints or badly repaired potholes, but at higher speeds this translates to excellent control. Even when the Fabia Estate is fully loaded with people and luggage, it remains stable and happy to cruise all day at the maximum speed limit. Should you need to change direction in a hurry to avoid a hazard, the Skoda also resists body lean impressively to give the driver full confidence and control.
MPG and fuel costs
"Choose either of the 1.0 TSI turbo petrol engines for the Skoda Fabia Estate in S trim and both the 95- and 110PS motor return a maximum average consumption of 52.3mpg during WLTP testing. Even the least economical versions of the Fabia Estate still provide official figures of 50.4- and 49.6mpg for the 95- and 110PS models. Look at Real MPG figures and the 95PS motor can offer 52.8mpg, while the 110PS unit gives 51.0mpg."
If you choose a used Fabia Estate, the best of the bunch is the 1.4 TDI 90 turbodiesel that returns a Real MPG number of 61.3mpg.
How much should you be paying for a used Skoda Fabia Estate?
"Choosing a pre-registered or nearly new Skoda Fabia Estate with only a few miles on the clock can save you around £3000 on the list price of a brand new version. There are plenty of these cars available from dealers."
Go back a bit further and a facelifted 110PS SE version with 20,000 miles under its nose will cost you around £9500. Look for a car from 2015 when this generation of Fabia Estate was launched and you will pay from around £7000 for a car with average mileage. Depending on the exact number of miles covered and slight price variations, this will get you a choice of trim levels, so there is no need to settle for a used Fabia Estate with a hair shirt basic specification.
Is the Skoda Fabia Estate right for you?
For anyone keen on plastering a smile across your chops at the mere prospect of a gnarly country road, the Skoda Fabia Estate is not going to be your go-to car. While a Ford Fiesta or Renault Clio will deliver the thrills, the Skoda just gets on with delivering the goods thanks to it's huge load area.
This is where the Fabia Estate excels and why you will buy it. Whether you need to carry the family dog in palatial comfort, pack all the kids’ holiday gear or just cart about plenty of stuff, this Skoda has you sorted.
It’s also very good at covering long distances thanks to good refinement and comfort, though we’d steer clear of the least powerful engines to make the drive easier on your ears. Seat comfort is another plus point, and even if the cabin materials look a bit plain they are hard wearing.
What’s the best Skoda Fabia Estatemodel/engine to choose?
As a wagon that many will cover big mileages in, including company drivers, the diesel-engined Skoda Fabia Estate made a lot of sense when it was available. Used buyers may well take this route, but for new car customers it’s a decision between the two 1.0-litre petrol engines available.
Wisely, Skoda does not offer the 60PS 1.0 MPI non-turbo engine in the Estate as it would just be too sluggish when the Fabia wagon was loaded up. That leaves you to choose from either the 95- or 110PS 1.0 TSI turbo engines. Our preference is the more powerful, brisker unit as it gives you more in reserve when driving on the motorway.
There’s a range of five trims to select from when buying a new Fabia Estate. We’d skip the S as it’s missing some kit we reckon is essential nowadays and head for the SE that has air conditioning, rear parking sensors and roof rails. Or, if you want something plusher, the SE L has climate control, keyless ignition, and sat-nav with it's 6.5-inch infotainment screen.
What other cars are similar to the Skoda Fabia Estate?
The only contender to the Skoda Fabia Estate in the small wagon sector is the Dacia Logan MCV. With engines and running gear lifted from Renault, the Logan MCV is decent to drive but nowhere near as refined as the Skoda and not as refined on longer trips.
Where the Dacia does have the upper hand is it's very low list price and the even bigger load space it provides next to the Skoda. With 573 litres of boot capacity, the Logan MCV is a car for those who really need to pack in the bags.
Quality and finish
If you’re a Johnny Cash fan, you’re going to like the Fabia Estate’s cabin as it’s largely decked out in black. This isn’t as unremittingly bleak as it first sounds as there is some variation in the tones and textures of the materials used to give some relief. You can also have the central band across the dash in a lighter colour to help break up the darkness, while the Monte Carlo version has some splashes of colour in it's seat fabric to brighten things up.
Such a sombre approach would be tough to accept if it wasn’t for the Skoda’s excellent build quality. As we’ve come to expect from the Czech manufacturer, it may not do flash, but it does solid very well. A few touches of colour or chrome would make the Fabia’s interior a more welcoming environment, but it’s certainly robustly built.
This also applies to the boot space, where the carpet and finish majors on function over form. However, you won’t mind this when it’s easy to keep clean and doesn’t show every little scuff or scrape from loading in the dogs, kids and bags.
Each and every Fabia Estate comes with Skoda’s 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen. In the base S model, it’s the simpler Swing radio version and the two rotary buttons either side feel a little flimsy in use. However, the shortcut buttons on either side of the display work with a solid precision and take you to the required menu very easily.
The system comes with DAB radio, Bluetooth, and USB and SD card ports. In the SE model, this is upgraded with Skoda’s Smartlink+ to make it easy to access apps from your smartphone. It also lets you access music through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Choose the SE Drive or higher trim versions of the Skoda Fabia Estate and you get the Amundsen version of the infotainment. It comes with sat-nav included and one year’s internet access from new. It’s an easy system to get to grips with thanks to clear menus and big onscreen icons that make them clear and simple to select when driving. It may not be as whizz-bang when it comes to features, but we’d take the Skoda’s ease of use every time.
Space and practicality
When it comes to fitting in luggage, there isn’t a small estate to touch the Skoda Fabia Estate. Of course, it helps that this is a wagon where all of it's main rivals are hatches just like the Fabia hatch, but let’s not split hairs on this point.
Instead, let’s look at how much space there is in the Fabia Estate. With the tailgate swung open, you have a large, wide opening to access the boot through and the load sill is a good deal lower than in most small estates. Inside, there’s 530-litres of carrying capacity and this isn’t an exercise in measuring every nook and cranny to get to that figure, it really is a massive load bay with sides that are unaffected by the wheel arches.
Either side of the main load floor are storage cubbies set into the space between the rear of the car and the wheel arches. They are ideal for keeping all of those smaller items that would otherwise rattle around free in the boot. Skoda also supplies it's simple plastic holder that slots into the side of the boot wall to keep bottles upright.
The floor itself has a shelf you can use to vary the height of the cargo base. In it's higher position, it creates a space underneath to stash valuable items from passers-by. In this setting, it also creates a flush floor with the back seats when they are tumbled forwards that frees up as much as 1395-litres. They are split 60/40 to give you the option of varying people carrying with load duties.
When it comes to the rear occupants, they have plenty of space for legs, heads and shoulders, so you can have a pair of adults in here in ample comfort. Three children will fit across the bench and each has a three-point seat belt. Skoda also fits a pair of Isofix child seat mounts on the outer pews, which have great access through the wide-opening back doors to round off the Fabia Estate’s excellent credentials as a practical wagon.
Engines and gearboxes
Skoda’s simple engine line-up for the Fabia hatch is even more pared back for the Estate as the wagon does without the 1.0-litre MPI petrol motor with it's slovenly 60PS. What you get instead is a straight choice between the 1.0 TSI turbo petrol with 95- or 110PS.
The 95PS motor comes with a five-speed manual gearbox as it's only transmission choice. It takes 10.8 seconds to get from a standing start to 62mph if driven as hard as possible, which seems acceptable on paper. On the road, this isn’t the case and the 95PS engine always feels just a little too slow, especially on the motorway.
Much of this comes down to the five-speed gearbox asking the engine to be more flexible than it can offer. We also find the shift action of the five-speeder is not quite as smooth and easy as the six-gear transmission used as the sole option for the 110PS turbo petrol.
Aside from the better gear change of the six-speeder, it has a better spread of ratios to provide the right one for any circumstance. Add in the extra power and low-down shove of the 110PS version of the three-cylinder engine and it’s a winning combination for us.
This is borne out by acceleration figures that have the 110PS Fabia Estate going from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds, and that 1.1 second difference has a big impact on how relaxed the Fabia Estate is when pulling out of junctions or joining faster flowing traffic. It’s also a useful extra slug of power when the car is weighed down with passengers and their bags. And given there’s barely any detrimental effect on fuel economy or emissions by choosing the more powerful engine, it is by far the most sensible choice in the Fabia Estate.
Refinement and noise levels
Three-cylinder turbo petrol engines are the norm in small cars and the Skoda Fabia Estate’s duo are as good as most. They don’t have quite the same smooth power delivery as the Ford Fiesta’s, but you will find they are well mannered and quiet at town speeds and when cruising along multi-lane roads at the legal limit.
Work the engines a bit harder, such as when driving up a steep hill, and the three-cylinder engines can become a little gruff and vocal. It’s not an unbearable noise, but you will feel a little vibration though the steering wheel, pedals and gear lever.
In every other way, Skoda has carried out a thorough job of distancing the Fabia’s cabin from wind and road noise. Even with the roof rails fitted as standard to all but the S model, there’s very little whistle or rustle from the breeze as it passes over the car at higher speeds. You will also find the Fabia isolates the interior very well from roar from the tyres, even in those versions that ride on bigger wheels.
Skoda is one of the few small estate makers to fit autonomous emergency braking as standard to its cars, including the Fabia Estate. Called Front Assist, it detects potential hazards in the road ahead and warns the driver with audio and visual alerts. If the driver doesn’t react, the car will apply the full force of the brakes to bring it to a safe stop or minimise the impact of a collision.
The Fabia Estate also comes with twin front, side and curtain airbags as standard across the range, as well as three-point seat belts and headrests for four occupants, but you have to pay extra for the same for the middle rear passenger. All models have two Isofix child seat mounts to securely hold kiddy seats in the back. There’s also ESP stability and traction control, and ABS anti-lock brakes.
Euro NCAP tests awarded the Skoda Fabia a five-star mark, with 81 per cent scores for adult and child occupant safety. You can make the Fabia Estate even safer with a number of options that includes Hill Hold Control to stop the car rolling back when pulling away on inclines and upgrading from drum brakes to discs at the rear.
Other optional safety equipment is offered with the Driver Fatigue Assistant to spot and warn if the driver is due a break. Rear parking sensors are offered for the S, but standard on other models, while the SE Drive has front parking sensors included rather than being an option on the rest of the range.
If cruise control isn’t standard on the trim level of Fabia Estate you want, it’s an option, but the S cannot be ordered with the upgraded Adaptive Cruise Control. The same is true of Blind Spot Detection and a rear-view camera.
Insurance groups and costs
The cheapest Skoda Fabia Estate to get cover for is the 95PS S model that falls into group 8. Take the same version with the 110PS engine and it moves up to group 12.
The other 95PS trims of the Fabia Estate all reside in group 9, while all of the 110PS-powered cars are in group 12 except the Monte Carlo, which pipped into group 13.
VED car tax
Every Skoda Fabia Estate you can buy new falls into Band G for Vehicle Excise Duty, so you’ll pay road tax at £175 for the first year and £150 in subsequent years.
However, this could edge up into the next band and cost you £215 for the first year depending on which options you choose which can increase the carbon dioxide emissions.
Trim levels and standard equipment
When it was launched in 2015, Skoda offered the Fabia Estate in S, SE and SE L trims. It has not broadened that line-up, but it still begins with the S that has 15-inch steel wheels, electrically adjusted and heated door mirrors and daytime running lights. Inside, it has black cloth upholstery, a 6.5-inch touchscreen that provides DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB port.
Switch to the SE and you get alloy wheels, roof rails finished in black, front fog lights, and rear parking sensors. The SE also has a three-spoke steering wheel with remote buttons for the stereo. The infotainment gains six speakers and Smartlink+ for easy access to your phone and its apps. Just as vitally, you get air conditioning, an umbrella stored under the front passenger seat, and a height adjustable driver’s seat.
The Colour Edition is based on the SE but has 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, and a roof and door mirror covers painted in black, white or silver to contrast with the body colour.
Next is the SE Drive with front parking sensors and its own fabric for the seat upholstery. It also has the Amundsen touchscreen navigation system and 12 months’ internet connection from new. Choose the SE L and it has different alloy wheels, cruise control, keyless ignition, and climate control. It also has satin black cloth and suede covering the seats.
At the top of the range sits the Monte Carlo with its black-painted alloy wheels, Led rear lights, and sport steering wheel and front seats.
As for options for the Skoda Fabia Estate, we’d recommend the Panoramic glass sunroof to offset the dark colours of the cabin. A reverse parking camera is also a useful addition.
On the inside
How much does it cost to run
Prices, versions and specification
Ask the heycar experts: common questions
What is the size of the boot in the Skoda Fabia?
The standard hatchback can carry 330-litres of luggage with the seats up, which is a little above average for the class. If you want more carrying capacity, the estate can fit 958-litres.
What happened to the Skoda Fabia diesel?
Changing regulations made it unviable, Before September 2018, you could buy the Fabia with a 1.4-litre TDI diesel. It was capable of returning 70mpg too, so if you want a really frugal and efficient small car, find a used one.
Is the Skoda Fabia a good car?
Although it’s not as modern inside as some of its key rivals, the Fabia is a practical small car that does most things well, and will leave you with few complaints, but it’s not class-leading.
Does the Skoda Fabia use a Volkswagen engine?
The simple answer is yes. The Fabia benefits from being a part of the Volkswagen group, so it shares its petrol engines, and other technology with both the Volkswagen Polo and SEAT Ibiza.
Reviews of similar cars
Quality checked, all cars less than 8 years old and warranty included