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The Fabia isn’t as popular with instructors as the Corsa or Fiesta, but if you do get the chance to learn in one then it’s ideal. Your instructor's car might not be as glamorously decorated as this black and white Monte Carlo, but that won't stop it offering well thought out controls, decent visibility and a comfortable cabin.

Getting Started

When you get into the Fabia you’ll find it easy to adjust your seat and mirrors precisely and quickly, and because you’ll have to adjust them every time you start a lesson that’s a good thing. Everything in the cabin is traditionally laid out, so you’ll have no trouble getting your bearings.

Once you start the engine you should be able to move off easily thanks to a lightly sprung clutch. It bites progressively, rather than suddenly lurching forward, and so learning to hold the car on the clutch and set off smoothly is very easy with the Fabia.

Similarly, the gear change is slick and precise, so you won’t fumble around looking for the correct ratio, and because engaging reverse requires you to push down on the gearknob you won’t be going backwards by mistake.

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On the move

The speedometer and rev counter are simple and clear, so you’ll be able to stick to speed limits accurately and check your revs and speed at a glance. The steering is precise and weighted well – it’s neither excessively light nor excessively heavy.

The mirrors offer a decent view back, but rear visibility isn’t the very best. The back window is quite small and the rear pillars are thick, making the rear three-quarter view poor – be careful when pulling back into the road after a parallel park.

Besides that, the Fabia is a very easy car to drive. The pedals are well spaced, the gear shift is smooth and the minor controls, like the indicators and wipers, feel solid. You should feel at home in the Fabia quite quickly.

Manoeuvres

Despite the slightly poor rear and rear three-quarter visibility, the Fabia is tremendously easy to manoeuvre. Reversing it around a corner accurately takes very few attempts, while accurate parallel and bay parking are fairly easy if you set your mirrors well.

The most useful touch of all, though, is the way the clutch works. You don’t need to use any gas to get the car moving backwards - when you lift the clutch the engine revs automatically increase very slightly to get you moving.

That means you can keep one foot over the brake when you’re reversing without risk of stalling, and so you can maintain a better degree of control over the car.

There may be a fairly small rear window, but the back of the Fabia is quite flat and so judging the distance behind is easy. However, unless you’re very tall you’ll struggle to see the front of the car from the drivers seat, so if you’re pulling into or out of a tight space take care not to swipe the bumper off other parked cars.

Summary

The Skoda Fabia is a sensible car for buyers and learners alike – it’s got light controls, is easy to drive, comfortable and can be parked accurately without too much effort. The only real niggle is the slightly poor rearward visibility.

Don’t let that put you off, though, because it’s a very minor flaw and it’s easy to overlook it on the basis  of the car’s many strengths.

Helpful details

  • Clear dials: The dials are very clear and easy to read, so sticking to speed limits will be easy.
  • Clutch pedal: The clutch does a lot of the hard work when you’re doing manoeuvres, so you can concentrate on car control.
  • Manouevres: It’s not the smallest car, but it’s still very easy to parallel park, reverse around a corner and bay park.

Unhelpful details

Rear visibility: It’s not the best car to see out of, particularly the rear ¾ view.

5 Ls

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