Small cars become big. The new Skoda Fabia is 11 centimeters longer than its predecessor and has a wheelbase that has grown by 9.4 centimeters. And you notice that on board. In the B-segment you expect tightness in the back seat; that belongs to the modest dimensions of hatchbacks such as the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208 and Toyota Yaris. But in the Fabia you also sit in the second row like a king. Even a driver of 1.90 meters has knee room 'behind himself'.
The luggage space of the Fabia can be filled with 380 liters of bags, suitcases and boxes (1190 liters if you fold down the rear seats). That is 50 liters more than in the outgoing model and surprisingly enough as in the larger Seat Leon and Volkswagen Golf. A C-segment trunk in a compact B-segmenter; Skoda just did that beautifully. Although you can actually no longer call the Fabia compact. With a length of 4.11 meters, it approaches the dimensions of the Golf 5.
In terms of appearance, the new Fabia is better balanced than its predecessors, each of which seemed a bit too high and too narrow. In Mladá Boleslav - the home of Skoda - they have drawn an attractive, but also interchangeable hatchback. The Fabia resembles the Volkswagen Polo from certain angles and wonderfully also has some BMW 1-series traits. A nice design detail is the triangular piece of sheet metal behind the front wheel arches. That should symbolize the Czech flag.
The interior is - as you would expect from a Volkswagen Group product - fine. Sleek, businesslike, a bit cheap here and there, but still neatly put together. As a Fabia buyer, you can choose from three infotainment systems: Swing (6.5-inch display), Bolero (8.0-inch) and Amundsen (9.2-inch). We were only able to try the latter and were impressed by the speed and ease of use.
The Fabia has physical buttons for the most important functions (yippee!), but around the touchscreen on the center console are those annoying touch buttons that you can not operate blindly. You'll get used to it. Especially because you can turn the sound system (and you change it most often) with a nice rotary knob on the multifunctional steering wheel. The Amundsen infotainment system can also be controlled via voice commands and gestures.
We now know that a Skoda comes with a scraper in the fuel filler flap and an umbrella in the front door. But the Fabia has even more ingenuity on board, such as a USB-C port on the interior mirror (for a dashcam), a passenger seat with folding backrest (for long loads) and a fold-out 'protective blanket' in the trunk (so that the bumper does not damaged during loading). However, the usefulness of the removable cup holders between the front seats eludes us completely.
The Skoda Fabia is a comfortable, spacious and sensible choice. And its driving characteristics match that perfectly. It is difficult to find a nice word to describe the handling of the Fabia. Just good, sounds so weak, but nevertheless covers the load best. The Skoda is not exciting, but just exactly what you need. There is a nice weight in the handlebars and the chassis is just tight enough for what gimmick occasionally.
During the press release, we drove both the 95 hp and 110 hp versions of the Fabia. With both you move fairly smoothly through traffic, where we have to note that we found the Fabia with 95 hp feel slightly faster. This is mainly due to the excellent five-speed manual transmission that is linked to the lighter motorization. We are not so pleased with the standard DSG box of the 110 hp Fabia (see below).
If you choose the Skoda Fabia with DSG gearbox, your patience will be tested on the road too often. The dual-clutch automatic transmission does not pick up well. If you give the throttle for an intermediate acceleration, then the desired acceleration will not be released at first, and then it will come in quite abruptly. The DSG is not on track and it takes too much time to make a decision: do I go down one or two gears, or not?
The start-stop system of the Fabia with DSG does not make the experience any better. Both the switching off and on of the three-cylinder turbo engine in the front are accompanied by vibrations that a seismologist gets excited. If you have set your sights on a compact car with 48 Volt or hybrid technology, then you have come to the wrong place at Skoda. There will be no electrified Fabia. The costs (for both the manufacturer and the customer) do not outweigh the benefits, according to Skoda.
If you now peek inside the Skoda dealer, you will not see the fourth generation Fabia yet. He will only come to the Netherlands in November. It is not yet known what it will cost, but we do know that you will not suffer from choice stress if you want to put together one. Skoda only brings two engine variants to our country: the 1.0 TSI with 95 hp (manual gearbox) and with 110 hp (DSG). In terms of equipment, you can choose between the Active, Ambition and Business Edition levels.
Forget that expensive Volkswagen Polo! If you want to shop for a compact hatchback within the Volkswagen Group, the Skoda Fabia is the only choice. The Seat Ibiza, the Polo and the Fabia are still largely the same, so the space in the Fabia is the deciding factor. It is smart and practical, drives well and will be slightly cheaper than its brothers. I go for the 95 hp with manual gearbox, because the DSG irritates me. Although my heart actually wants a Ford Fiesta (for the handling) or Peugeot 208 (for the looks).
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