Skoda Fabia (2015 – 2021) Review

Skoda Fabia (2015 – 2021) At A Glance

4/5
Honest John Overall Rating
The Skoda Fabia gives you everything you'd expect of a modern Skoda – it feels robustly built, is spacious for its size and comes with a great range of engines – yet it undercuts rivals on price.

+Practical cabin with an impressively spacious boot, DAB radio and Bluetooth as standard, comfortable and easy to drive.

-Base model doesn't have air con or alloy wheels.

New prices start from £15,340
Insurance Groups are between 3–14
On average it achieves 80% of the official MPG figure

The Skoda Fabia is a car that does everything well. Inside, it's robust interior belies the fact that the Skoda undercuts almost all of its main rivals on price and, while it's not quite as polished inside as the likes of the Ford Fiesta, it does have more passenger space and a bigger boot. The dashboard is also a model of intuitiveness and most Fabias come with an infotainment screen that can mirror the display of your smartphone. The Skoda puts in a similarily well-rounded performance on the road, okay so it doesn't give you the seat-of-the-pants thrills you get from some small hatchbacks, but it is easy to drive, comfortable and cheap to run. You'd be hard pushed to complain. 

The Skoda Fabia has always been a sensible choice of small car and the latest incarnation keeps up the tradition. It’s reasonably priced, cheap to run, comfortable and practical, but gets an added dash of upmarket appeal thanks to new Skoda family styling and extra technology, including standard DAB radio and Bluetooth.

The engine range is made up exclusively of frugal options, the entry-level engine being a 1.0-litre petrol producing 60PS. There's also a 75PS version of the same engine, while a 1.0-litre turbocharged unit is also available with 95PS or 110PS. Diesel buyers get a 1.4-litre producing 75PS, 90PS or 105PS.

Our pick of the range is the 95PS 1.0-litre petrol, which is perky and responsive yet still very efficient returning official economy of 64.2mpg. Although none of the engines are particularly exciting, and the Fabia isn't a fun car to drive, it is quiet and comfortable, both in town and on the motorway.

It's practical, too. The boot is a good size at 330 litres – significantly ahead of rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. Despite this fact, there’s space in the back for two adults to sit in reasonable comfort – though children will be more at home here. There are also two Isofix mounting points in the rear as standard.

Up front there’s a neat dashboard with logical controls and clear dials, with upmarket details such as a touchscreen system on offer. That said, despite more technology being available, the Fabia does lag a little when it comes to materials, with no plush, soft-touch plastics like you’d see on many rival models including the Volkswagen Polo.

But the Fabia does represent excellent value for money thanks to reasonable list prices, decent equipment levels and low running costs. This, combined with its grown-up feel, makes it a strong contender in the competitive supermini segment.

Looking for a second opinion? Read heycar's review of the Skoda Fabia

Ask Honest John

The DSG gearbox has failed in my Skoda Fabia, what should I do?
"I bought an approved used 2016 plate Skoda Fabia DSG automatic last year, which had done 38,000 miles. After just over one year of ownership and less than 10,000 miles it requires a replacement gearbox at a cost of £5500. The Skoda dealer mechanic has told me that there is nothing I could have done to prevent this from happening. Skoda UK is point blank refusing any goodwill contribution to help with the repair, so we are faced with an astronomical repair bill or writing the car off. The car has a full service history and has only ever been serviced by Skoda. I feel that the car was not fit for purpose when it was sold to me and would like some advice on my rights. What should I do?"
Your claim is against the dealer that sold you the car, not Skoda UK (they didn't sell you the vehicle direct). You will need to prove the car was faulty at the time of sale. Obviously, as time passes, this becomes increasingly difficult. But if you can get an independent report from a gearbox specialist that states the failure was caused by a pre-existing problem then you may have grounds to hold the dealer responsible and argue the car is not of satisfactory quality. For your consumer rights, see: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/how-to-reject-a-car-your-consumer-rights/
Answered by Dan Powell
I have a damaged car to trade in, should I get it fixed first?
"I need to change my 2017 car but I had a bump recently and wonder if I should get it mended or trade it in as it is. I've loved the Yeti, but it's started to have a few problems lately so I'd like to get a more reliable car. I've had Skodas for years now and really like them, but they don't do a Fabia as a hybrid, which is what I was looking at. I'm not averse to changing makes, I just need a reliable car — preferably a hybrid that I can get my granddaughters' massive car seats in easily. My budget would be around £25k max. Thank you for any help and advice you can offer."
It's probably worth getting the damage repaired first – depending on the extent of the damage, you might be able to get a relatively affordable smart repair done. A damage-free car creates a better first impression and will increase the price offered in part exchange. We'd recommend a Honda Jazz Hybrid as a replacement for your Yeti. It's a really practical small car that'll be reliable and cheap to run.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Are tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) reliable?
"How sensitive are tyre pressure monitors? My wife’s Skoda Fabia’s tyre pressure warning came on recently and when I checked the pressures they were all a long way out. Is a slight pressure decrease over a long period of time not 'noticed' by the tyre pressure monitoring system or is it not sensitive enough until a large decrease occurs? If the former, I need to check the tyre pressure more often!"
Some TPMS readings are notoriously unreliable because tyres can lose a lot of air before some sensors register it. There are two types of TPMS: the lower-cost, indirect TPMS doesn't actually monitor air pressure. Instead, it uses the car’s ABS wheel sensors. These check how fast the wheels rotate and compare speeds with each other. If a tyre is under pressure it won’t go round as quickly as other wheels, the computer will work out it’s because it’s under pressure and the warning light will come on. But it won’t detect external issues, like a nail in the tyre. The lesser-used, more accurate direct TPMS measures a tyre's actual pressure by using a wheel-mounted sensor on each tyre. According to GreenFlag, some tyre pressure monitoring systems won’t 'see' any problem until a tyre has lost around a quarter of its air — which is a lot of pressure. A tyre deflated by that much could be quite dangerous to drive on. On a less serious note, an underinflated tyre also uses more fuel. I'd suggest getting yourself a good tyre pressure gauge and basing the pressure off that reading instead. If it consistently looks a long way off the digital reading in the car, I'd recommend checking it yourself more regularly as it clearly isn't accurate enough to be trusted. Alternatively, an aftermarket TPMS system with wheel-mounted sensors could be more accurate, but you'll need to ensure the batteries in the sensors aren't flat. We tested a Michelin TPMS system a few years ago. You can find the review here: https://kit.honestjohn.co.uk/reviews/review-michelin-fit2go-tyre-pressure-monitoring-system-tpms/
Answered by Georgia Petrie
Can you recommend a safe, small, used car for me?
"I'm looking for a sturdy, used, small car. I have been considering the Honda Jazz, Skoda Fabia (which I currently have), Toyota Yaris and not sure after that. Economical, safe and an easy drive is important to me. Do you recommend any cars, please? I'm looking to spend around £9000. Although I'm well into my 60s, I enjoy driving and I drive a lot. I would be very grateful for any advice. Also, not sure in regards to petrol, diesel or hybrid - or manual or automatic. I haven't got a clue in reality! Thanks."
The good news is that your shortlist is already very strong. We'd recommend a small petrol or hybrid model (unless you cover a lot of motorway miles – more than 12,000 a year, in which case a diesel might be more appropriate). Deciding between automatic or manual is down to personal preference, really, although the DSG automatic gearbox used in the Fabia isn't the most reliable. A hybrid Toyota Yaris would be a very sensible choice – cheap to run and very reliable. We'd also recommend the Hyundai i20.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Skoda Fabia (2015 – 2021) cost?