Skoda Fabia Hatchback (2015 -) Comfort

Review by Graeme Lambert on
Last Updated: 05 Apr 2016
4.5
Bigger, loaded with more equipment and better to drive, the new Skoda Fabia is also a few kilos lighter. While that’s normally a statement more pertinent to Supercars than Superminis, it makes the baby Skoda even more efficient.

5 out of 5

Comfort

Despite the firm aiming to attract younger customers to this new supermini, Skoda Fabia comfort is something of its USP – it’s certainly not as sporty or as engaging to drive as a Ford Fiesta. That said, it makes up for those slightly less sharp responses with a comfortable suspension setup.

Major lumps and bumps in the road are taken car of with far more maturity than a car of this size might be expected to, while even sharper imperfections see little vibration or shock making their way through to the cabin – even with 16-inch alloy wheels fitted. As you might expect there’s no adaptive suspension system available on the Fabia.

In fact this car’s maturity shines throughout the driver experience; sliding behind the steering wheel you’ll notice there’s reach and rake adjustment for the rim while all models benefit from a height adjustable driver’s seat. There’s plenty of support from the chairs too, while SE models and above offer adjustment for the passenger side too. SE also adds air-conditioning so you’ll be more comfortable should the mercury start to climb.

Regardless of which trim you choose, all are quiet once at cruising speed with little engine or wind noise noticeable. And should you move into the back you’ll notice this Fabia is more spacious than the last, meaning even adults can sustain long journeys – though we wouldn’t recommend more than a pair of bodies across the bench seat.

5 out of 5

Practicality

Shorter than before, but wider across the whole body, Skoda Fabia practicality is impressive – not least for passengers who now benefit from greater shoulder room regardless of where they are sitting. The cabin space is longer too, so there’s more room to stretch legs front and rear. You notice the difference over the previous model, with none of the awkward burly rugby player shoulder-rubbing while in the front seats.

Ahead of the gearlever sits a pair of cupholders, while behind there’s a decent sized storage tray for smaller items. If you want the extra capacity of the centre armrest, then you’ll need to opt for the SE-L model, though all have a reasonably spacious glovebox and ample door pocket space.

But the big, literally, news here is the boot which has grown by 15 litres over the old Fabia to an impressive 330-litre space. To put that in perspective the VW Golf makes do with just 350 litres. Fold the rear bench flat and that number jumps to 1,150 litres, meaning the Fabia can carry the sort of IKEA-shaped loads demanded of it with relative ease.

Under Skoda’s Simply Clever tagline there’s a number of features designed to boost the supermini’s practicality including an ice scraper located in the fuel filler flap, a multimedia device cradle in the centre console, dedicated hi-visibility vest holders under the front seats plus tiny storage nets on their side for smaller items you want to keep close at all times.

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How does the boot space compare?

Skoda Fabia Hatchback (15 on)
322 litres
295 litres
290 litres
280 litres
3.5 out of 5

Behind the wheel

The first thing you’ll notice about the new Skoda Fabia is how much more spacious it feels than previous, with plenty of extra shoulder room. For those that have spent any time in the firm’s larger Octavia you might find some familiar looking switchgear too, which is no bad thing since it feels entirely befitting of that pricier and larger car.

All of it, including the neatly designed instruments look and feel high-quality, with intuitive inputs that makes using the Fabia’s features rather simple, even for first time users. That’s all down to this car’s MQB platform, which doesn’t just denote chassis and engine choices, but also things like infotainment and climate control options too – everything electrical inside the car comes from that MQB family.

Having said that, there’s not one ounce of soft-touch plastics to be found – and despite the textured dashboard, a rap of the knuckles reveals a solid and hollow-sounding shell rather than a forgiving flexible surface. To be fair that’s a test reserved for road testers rather than real-world users, but it’s the same material fondled by those opening or closing the doors or using other touch-points.

Basically it looks more expensive than it feels. But at least it seems like it’ll be hard wearing, which could be handy for those with boisterous or excitable children.

The seats, all round the cabin, are finished in a quality material (even a new Denim-style fabric) and easily adjustable, with height adjustment for the driver’s across the range and passenger’s for SE and above.