THERE’S a crisp, freshly laundered air about the new Skoda Fabia. It looks as though it has been in the automotive equivalent of one of those trouser presses you used to find in hotel rooms.
Smart and taut of line, it stands to attention, whereas its predecessor had a rather apologetic, stoopshouldered appearance. I like Skodas – the hot Car Review: Skoda Octavia VRs and the mega-comfortable Skoda Superb Car Review are my favourites (especially the estate version of the latter) so I was looking forward to getting my hands on the little hatchback that plies its trade in the same territory as the likes of the Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Fiesta and VW Polo.
Our road test car was a five-door SE L 1.4TDI. This third-generation Fabia is both lower and broader than its predecessor, giving it a more dynamic look enhanced by styling cues such as the front grille’s clear geometric shape, while strong curves define the rear.
The inside story is typical Skoda – an uncluttered design with emphasis on horizontal lines, the dashboard sporting an of-the moment high gloss panel.
All controls fall easily to hand and switchgear feels well-weighted, emphasising the connection to company owners Volkswagen.
Twin coloured fabric seats are appealing in style, while being comfortable and supportive. Build quality and fit-and-finish tick the box marked excellent. Our car had a generous helping of goodies, including 16in alloys, a leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel, six-speaker surround-sound audio system, acoustic rear parking sensors, climate control air conditioning, cruise control, speed limiter, LED daytime running lights with ‘light assistant’ (coming home/leaving home), heated door mirrors and tyre pressure monitoring system.
The driving experience is positive, with assured ride and handling. There is plenty of power from the 90bhp diesel engine, mated to a fivespeed manual gearbox, although I thought fourth gear too tall, making the car labour at 35mph.
The Fabia has all the qualities hatchback buyers require. Now it looks the part too.
Price On The Road: £16,240.
For more info visit www.skoda.co.uk