Used Skoda Fabia Estate (2008 - 2014) Driving & Performance

Review by David Ross on
Last Updated: 02 Sep 2014
4
The Skoda Fabia Estate is a great choice for young families. It’s roomy, good to drive and cheap to run.
3.5 out of 5

Performance

If you are interested in a small estate car than you’re unlikely to be interested in outright Skoda Fabia estate performance. There is a good choice of both petrol and diesel engines to suit most tastes and wallets.

Petrol engines

There’s no shortage of petrol engines on offer in the Fabia Estate, most of them coming in 1.2-litre capacity. Even then, there’s variety as the starting point is a three-cylinder 1.2 with 68bhp. It’s not really up to the task of pulling a full laden Fabia Estate.

The four-cylinder 1.2 TSI engines that have turbochargers to help them develop either 85 or 104bhp are better. These motors are happy to rev hard and the more powerful of the pair can be ordered with a DSG double-clutch gearbox in place of the standard five-speed manual transmission used with the rest of the petrol line-up.

There’s also turbo- and supercharged 1.4-litre engine used in the vRS performance model that gives 177bhp for 0-62mph in a nippy 7.3 seconds.

Diesel engines

If you’re serious about hauling heavy goods in the Skoda Fabia Estate, a diesel engine is the best bet thanks to low-down shove of the 1.6-litre turbodiesel. It comes in 74-, 89- and 104bhp forms and is shared with the off-roader styled Scout model to deliver strong performance in the two more powerful guises. The 74bhp 1.6 TDI is a little short on power at higher speeds, so motorways can be more of an effort than they should be.

The other turbodiesel available in the Fabia Estate is the excellent 1.2-litre unit used in the Greenline II model. It delivers superb 83.1mpg average economy and carbon dioxide emissions of just 89g/km, helped by different gearing for it five-speed manual gearbox compared to the other diesel engines’. It’s also only a fraction slower than the least powerful 1.6 TDI yet feels more willing as it revs more easily.

Parkers recommends

It’s very hard to ignore the lure of 83.1mpg and 89g/km carbon dioxide emissions with the Skoda Fabia Estate Greenline II, but the 85bhp 1.2 TSI is markedly cheaper to buy and is our pick of the engines. are three petrol and three diesel engines to choose between, ranging from the 1.'s 2-litre petrol to the 1.9-litre diesel. Although the 1.2-litre is lively around town, it can struggle uphill – particularly when you have four adults and luggage on board – and plenty of planning is required to overtake safely on single carriageways. Skoda expects the 1.9-litre diesel to sell best as it’s well powered, quick off the mark and easy on the fuel, though the energetic 1.4-litre diesel unit is a cheaper alternative. It isn’t quite as fast, but it’s a good all-rounder with better fuel economy and lower emissions. Automatic transmission is optional on the 1.6.

3.5 out of 5

Handling

The Fabia feels assured at speed. It corners confidently and deals with rough road surfaces well. Country B-roads are surprisingly good fun - particularly for a car of this price - and twisty bends are handled confidently.

Unlike larger estates, the smaller Fabia is easy to manoeuvre at low speeds and the power steering makes light work of parking. Drivers may find the rear window too small and the rear pillars too thick when reversing, though the large door mirrors, optional rear parking sensors and tidy turning circle do compensate for this.

A Scout version was introduced in June 2009 but unlike the Octavia Scout, doesn't have four-wheel drive or raised suspension. As a result it drives just like a normal Fabia Estate.

Introduced in August 2010 the vRS model (see separate review) is a little disappointing on the handling front. The steering feels a little vague and could benefit from a bit of extra weight.