THE emergence of the Skoda Fabia from also-ran to leading contender in the family hatchback stakes is complete.

Now with a striking new look and equipment levels to match anything on offer from rivals, it has been overhauled from top to bottom.

This new appearance probably has its origins with the launch of the black-roofed Monte Carlo special edition several years ago to celebrate 110 years of Skoda’s participation in motorsport. Framing the bodywork was a piano-black trim that ran around the wheelarches and along the sills, while a gloss black radiator grille and door mirrors plus smoked headlights and lightweight 17-inch black alloy wheels completed the look.

The Monte Carlo edition proved so popular that it was retained and now forms one of five trim grades – the others being S, SE, SE L and the Colour Edition.

There are three engine options – all petrol - and you can choose between hatch and estate variants.

And the three-cylinder petrol engine range with outputs from 75PS to 110PS has been refreshed.

On test here was the turbocharged 1.0-litre 110PS version, which positively fizzes along both country roads and motorway stretches with the minimum of fuss.

With an acceleration time of about 10 seconds to shoot from 0 to 62mph, it is certainly no slouch. Yet it should – and did over the course of a week-long test – achieve an average of 60mpg.

Match it with the Volkswagen group’s superb seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox and you have fuss-free motoring in what is now established as a desirable and well-priced car.

Even the entry-level S grade gets the touchscreen infotainment systems and LED daytime running lights, while LED headlights and blind spot detection with rear traffic alert are available for the first time.

On the outside, there’s a new front end that incorporates a revised grille, new headlights and a redesigned bumper. At the rear, the revised Fabia sports new light clusters and a subtly updated rear bumper. A new range of alloy wheels, including an 18-inch option for the first time, completes the exterior makeover.

Inside, there are new fabrics and trims along with a redesigned instrument cluster.

The reworked 1.0-litre three-cylinder power units deliver better efficiency and performance. The entry-level MPI engine has an output of 75PS, while the two TSI units feature turbocharging and direct petrol injection, and generate 95PS and 110PS. Only the range-topping 110PS engine can be matched with the DSG gearbox.

Building on the specification of the S model, SE variants gain front fog lights, rear parking sensors and 15-inch alloy wheels, along with a new infotainment unit with SmartLink+ and manual air conditioning. Colour Edition models gain 16-inch alloy wheels in white, silver or black.

Customers opting for the SE L get satellite navigation, lighting in the front centre console and 16-inch alloy wheels. Rear parking sensors, climate control air conditioning and cruise control also feature.

The Monte Carlo version has climate control air conditioning, LED rear lights, rear electric windows, new seat upholstery, a black front spoiler, black roof, black floor mats and carbon-effect dashboard trim.

A new range of options has also been introduced, including LED headlights, 18-inch Vega alloy wheels for the Monte Carlo hatch, and blind spot detection with rear traffic alert.

There are 15 exterior colours available and a colour concept option also offers the opportunity to have the roof, A-pillars, wing mirrors and the optional 16-inch wheels painted in black, white or silver.

Despite its compact dimensions - 3,997mm in length and a wheelbase of 2,470mm - the Fabia offers enough space to accommodate five people and luggage. The hatch offers one of the largest boots in the small car segment. The seats up capacity of 330 litres can be increased to 1,150 litres by folding down the 60/40 rear seats. The 4,262mm-long Fabia Estate offers the largest boot in its segment and has a loading capacity ranging from 530 litres to a maximum of 1,395 litres.

The revised model raises the bar once again with a number of new assistance systems and a collection of high-end technologies usually seen in the luxury sectors. The Fabia also comes with a comprehensive range of passive and active safety equipment as standard. In addition to the electronic stability control and anti-lock braking system, the Fabia also features engine braking control, ASR traction control, hydraulic brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, multi-collision brake, XDS electronic differential lock and tyre pressure monitoring. The Fabia’s safety equipment can be added to with the optional adaptive cruise control (1.0 TSI engines only), a rear-view camera, parking sensors, driver fatigue assistant, light and rain assistant and speed limiter.

The updated also Fabia is offered with three audio and infotainment systems - all with large touchscreen displays and Bluetooth connectivity.

Its transformation is complete, through the more attractive exterior and the excellent cabin features to the economical and enjoyable engines that deliver a more refined experience.


Skoda Fabia SE L 1.0 TSI 110PS DSG

Price: £18,155 (Fabia range from £12,840)

Engine: 1.0-litre TSI petrol, producing 110PS

Transmission: Seven-speed DSG driving front wheels

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 10.1 seconds; top speed 120mph

Economy: 60.1mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 106g/km


Performance: ****

Economy: *****

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ****