Review: Skoda Fabia Estate (2015)
Solid build quality. Impressive interior space. Good range of small and frugal engines. Composed ride and handling.
Basic 1.0-litre engine can struggle with a full load on board. Twin boot floor is optional. Materials could be more tactile. Hardly exciting
Skoda Fabia Estate (2015): At A Glance
- New prices start from £13,300, brokers can source from £9,238
- Contract hire deals from £136.79 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 3–13
- On average it achieves 81% of the official MPG figure
The Fabia wears a Skoda badge, of course, but in every way it feels like the pared back essence of the Volkswagen Group – no frills, no flaws, no excitement. It’s one very competent hatchback indeed and so adding further boot space makes it even more so.
There are no ifs or buts here. The Fabia is beautiful in its simplistic competence and although turning the hatchback into an estate gives it slightly awkward proportions (subjectively), it does make it an extremely flexible runabout.
A couple of key facts then. The estate bodystyle adds 200 litres to the hatchback’s 330-litre boot space with the seats up, for which you’ll pay around £1000 extra. With the rear seats folded the total cargo capacity is 1395 litres. It’s 1150 litres in the standard hatchback.
After that it’s pretty much as per the hatchback – the driving experience, cabin, trim levels and options are the same, with an exception or two. Skoda doesn’t offer the most power-deficient 1.0-litre 60PS engine with the estate body style. And probably for best.
So, the range starts with a 75PS 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine in S trim, which isn’t the last word in power or equipment, but offers a lot of space for the money. Basic S specification incudes a DAB radio and Bluetooth, although you’ll also be rolling on plastic wheel trims and have lukewarm air.
Split-folding rear seats are standard and the rear bench folds flat for a nice oblong loading bay, although it’s slightly infuriating that you’ll pay £100 or so extra for an adjustable level boot floor with a basic version.
Top-level SE L models give you the option of a nice looking but worryingly dirt-friendly beige interior, and although it doesn’t feel especially luxurious (the Fabia always feels brilliantly made in a spartan sort of way), it does come with niceties like cruise control, LED light strips and keyless start.
Any Fabia Estate is a winner, ultimately, in that whatever one you choose you’ll get a comfortable and practical small estate with low running costs and excellent build quality. But for a nice combination of equipment, refinement and reasonable running costs we’d choose an SE with either version of the 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine.
What does a Skoda Fabia Estate (2015) cost?
Skoda Fabia Estate (2015): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 505–1370 litres
Starting at the back, the main benefit of the Estate over the Fabia hatch is, of course, its larger boot (530-1395 litres against 330-1150 litres). The no-frills nature of the Fabia means you get a nice, square shape, although the floor isn’t flush with the lip if you’ve not got the optional twin-floor boot, which can make loading trickier.
The rear suspension juts into the boot space a little, but that’s compensated for with a couple of storage boxes at either side of the boot – each just about big enough for a small carrier bag of shopping, for example.
The split-folding rear seat doesn’t fold entirely flat, but it shouldn’t cause too mush trouble for most – there’s easily enough room to slide a washing machine in, say.
Further forward in the cabin, the rear seats offer good headroom and legroom, particularly given this is a small hatchback. You’ll fit three adults in side-by-side.
A couple of neat touches make the Fabia feel thought-through, from basics like having a decent glovebox (not always a given), relatively deep door pockets and even a little clip to attach parking tickets to the windscreen. And to twang when you’re bored on the M25. There’s even an ice scraper ensconced into the fuel filler flap.
The dashboard is neat but it’s hardly awe-inspiring and is a little too heavy on the similar shades of hard grey plastic. There’s a swoop of metallic trim on the passenger side and the infotainment screen is neatly integrated, but this is, arguably, perfunctory Volkswagen Group.
What that also means, however, is that everything is in the right place and feels solid. The dials are clear, the switches are robust and placed sensibly, while the infotainment software is designed by someone who’s clearly familiar with an industry-leading mobile phone. Logical.
Child seats that fit a Skoda Fabia Estate (2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Skoda Fabia Estate (2015) like to drive?
Skoda has kept the Fabia engine range small in two senses: there aren’t too many and those there are don’t have much power. That’s okay though, because every engine is frugal, generally quiet and has enough punch to get this little estate about the place in fuss-free fashion. That includes with a full load of people and paraphernalia, most basic model aside.
What you never get with a sub-vRS small Skoda is much excitement, but you do get a sense of fluid, basic solidity that most manufacturers simply can’t achieve. There’s no clumsiness in a Skoda - the driving position is spot-on, including the way the pedals are spaced out and the wheel adjusts, while the gearbox glides through the ratios with an anonymous sort of solidity.
If there’s a criticism it’s that, although there’s plenty of headroom and it doesn’t feel cramped, you do feel like you’re perched on top of the Fabia – the seat is set a little too high and the gear lever low.
There’s a distinct lack of drama, but it feels like that’s been deliberately engineered in, as opposed to the Fabia Estate ‘missing’ something.
The three-cylinder 1.4-litre TDI is a little harsh under acceleration, but is punchy enough (210Nm peak at just 1500rpm) and settles into a quiet thrum in top fifth gear. As usual, the seven-speed DSG, available only with 90PS versions of the Estate, changes gears with such smooth rapidity that it’s almost anonymous.
On the motorway the Fabia Estate never quite shakes the feeling it’s a small car – it has its fair share of tyre and wind noise, and every engine struggles for poke in the 60-70mph zone – but the ride feels settled and it remains very composed for such a small estate.
The Fabia Estate certainly feels more suited to town applications, where its supple ride quality, sharp steering and compact dimensions make it a great way of lugging larger-than-average loads about.
With that in mind, although you may be tempted to go for a diesel, with its superior torque figure and economy, we’d always recommend the 1.2-litre TSI. Either the 90PS or the 110PS will do the same job – enough low down kick to feel quick around town, but so much smoother and quieter, which generally makes it a more enjoyable drive.
|1.0 75||58–59 mpg||14.9 s||109 g/km|
|1.0 MPI 75||58 mpg||15.2 s||111 g/km|
|1.0 TSI 110||60–64 mpg||9.6–9.7 s||103–107 g/km|
|1.0 TSI 110 DSG||59–61 mpg||9.9–10.2 s||107 g/km|
|1.0 TSI 95||61–64 mpg||10.8–10.9 s||101–105 g/km|
|1.2 TSI 110||59 mpg||9.6 s||110 g/km|
|1.2 TSI 110 DSG||60 mpg||9.6 s||110 g/km|
|1.2 TSI 90||60 mpg||11.0 s||107 g/km|
|1.4 TDI 105||67 mpg||10.2 s||92 g/km|
|1.4 TDI 75||72 mpg||13.3 s||94 g/km|
|1.4 TDI 90||72–83 mpg||11.3 s||89 g/km|
|1.4 TDI 90 DSG||71–79 mpg||11.3 s||94 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Skoda Fabia Estate (2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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