Hard to imagine that the car in front of me is the same’
We have known the name Skoda Fabia since 2000 and we have been through three generations since then. Although the fourth generation is in the showrooms, in this article we look at the third series, which was on the market from 2015 to 2021. It was the last Fabia that was available not only as a five-door hatchback, but also as a practical station wagon. We check the reviews to discover where the Skoda Fabia scores in practice.
With the Fabia, Skoda translates its core values to the B-segment. The Fabia must also offer a remarkable amount of space for less money than most competitors. Under the hood you will find technology that is known from parent Volkswagen. Unlike most cars in the B-segment, there was never a three-door Fabia, but there was a compact station wagon called Fabia Combi from the first generation.
Interior and space, especially Fabia Combi, impressive
To start with an important Skoda asset: the interior space of, in this case, the Fabia Combi. “The best thing is the space behind the back seat,” writes an enthusiastic Fabia driver. “Really, if you are looking for space in the B segment, you can stop now, because we have found it for you. Delicious! Four shopping crates on the loading floor is no problem. If you add at least three more on top, the roller cover can still be closed; how big do you want it?! And driving with four adults is also sufficient, because the roofline does not slope downwards.”
This driver endorses the latter with a wink: “My tallest son can sit behind me without me having to move the driver’s seat forward. His haircut remains completely untouched and the panoramic roof gel-free.” Even if you take a different benchmark, such as this Fabia 1.0 TSI driver, the Combi turns out to be a practical car. “Even a complete dining table just fit in.”
A hatchback driver is still amazed at the space in his car. “When I’m driving behind a Fabia and I look around the car, it’s hard to imagine that the car in front of me is the same. So compact on the outside and yet very spacious on the inside, at least in the front.”
The chairs also received compliments. “It remains a personal matter, but I think the seating comfort is good, even better than expected: the seats seem quite flat, but offer good support and good seating comfort, even on long journeys,” writes the driver of a Fabia Combi 1.2 TSI.
Driving the Fabia
Anyone who has ever read reviews of Skoda products probably knows that these cars have a soft character. “A lot is said about the comfort of the Fabia,” says the owner of a Fabia 1.2 TSI hatchback. “I thought that would take some getting used to, coming from a sporty driving Suzuki Swift. But it’s actually not too bad for me. Maybe it’s because of the 16-inch rims, but I think the Fabia sits relatively tight on the road and doesn’t sway much.” Is there anything wrong with what is written about the car? “Okay, admittedly, if your driving style becomes a bit sportier and you really start cornering, you will certainly notice that this is not a sports suspension. The ride quickly becomes less comfortable, but certainly not annoying or bad. So I understand that people say that there is some dynamism missing. Too bad for pleasure rides, but in daily use I don’t notice this.”
A Fabia Combi driver is also very pleased with the driving characteristics. “I always find it very special that car journalists find the chassis too soft; I experience it as very comfortable, but certainly not soft! The suspension never sags when you are heavily loaded or drive over speed bumps (a little too fast). I would rather call it robust, no creaking or rattling, not very communicative but safe.” The other features also meet his approval. “Steering is very light but the car is easy to position, shifting is done with clear strokes and very accurate. Even heavily loaded and with mountain bikes on the roof, the Fabia always continues to go the way you want.”
A Belgian Fabia Combi driver reports something remarkable: “I read here and there about swells and soft chassis among test drivers. I have no complaints about that, because my Fabia has heavier damping due to the selected crankcase protection. Was included as standard in the same package.” This package appears to be the ‘Rough Roads Package’, which is not included in the Dutch price list.
Engines Fabia, 1.2 TSI later followed by 1.0 TSI
Under the hood of the Fabia are compact engines, including the four-cylinder 1.2 TSI, which was later succeeded by the three-cylinder 1.0 TSI. The following owner writes about that 1.2: “90 hp is not very much, but thanks to the turbo you quickly have a lot of torque over a fairly wide range, which means that the Fabia can be driven well on torque. For a turbo engine, I find it quite smooth, not grumbling at really low speeds. When accelerating hard (on the highway, overtaking on the highways), there is more than enough momentum, and the car moves to the red without any complaints.”
A driver who has a naturally aspirated 1.0-liter will notice how welcome such a turbo is. “The engine has 75 hp. That doesn’t matter much, but it only produces 90 nm of torque at no less than 3,000 rpm, this fact does not really make it a smooth engine.
The turbo engines are available with a double-clutch automatic transmission. This 1.0 TSI DSG driver has the following to say about this: “Would I recommend this car to someone else? Yes, the three-cylinder petrol is okay and faultless so far. But I might advise against the automatic. Not smooth enough. Still no complaints, but there is so much better. Better the manual gearbox.”
Disruptions and irritations
Now that we are talking about the DSG automatic transmission: the driver above notes that the transmission has started to shift more abruptly over time. “Is this a software or mechanical problem?” he asks. Despite these initial doubts, his car reached 100,000 km without any further problems. This does not apply to a 1.4 TDI driver, who needed a new clutch plate for the third time within 88,000 kilometers.
A more common complaint concerns squealing brakes. “What we are less pleased about is the continued squealing of the brakes at irregular times. I have now had it looked at twice, but apparently the dealer stopped at looking at it…’, writes an owner who is having to deal with this. Another rider’s problems have been solved – at least where the rear brakes are concerned. “My brakes keep squeaking, now it’s not the rear ones but the front ones. Still within the warranty, but Skoda says that I have driven too many kilometers and that this is at my own expense.” The paint on the roof of this car was also peeling, which was repaired under warranty. Other structural problems, based on these reviews, the Fabia seems strange.
Fabia is real Skoda
The Fabia therefore appears to be a real Skoda in every respect. It may not drive very refined, but the space available is ample and the seats are also adequate. In addition, Skoda’s B-segmenter seems quite reliable. It will therefore be a shame for many drivers that the current generation of Skoda Fabia does not have a Combi…
– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl