Road Test by Mark Slack: Skoda Fabia SE Comfort – more premium than its price suggests

Road Test by Mark Slack: Skoda Fabia SE Comfort – more premium than its price suggests. Image - Skoda

Sometimes you find a car that while ostensibly a rather ordinary means of transport turns out to be something a bit special. Skoda’s Fabia has long been a feature of the Czech manufacturer’s sales lists and in its latest form drives much more premium than its price suggests and is full of clever touches typical of Skoda.

The Fabia range starts at €20,786/£17,800 and offers decent standard equipment and some rather good power units. All bar one are 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder petrol units with power outputs of 80PS, 95PS and 110PS with the two higher power engine variants being turbocharged. Then there is a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol unit developing 150PS, again 3-cylinder.

Standard fare is decent on the entry level model and includes LED lights, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors, air conditioning, alloy wheels and a height adjustable driver’s seat. The previously mentioned clever little touches that set Skoda apart are such things as an ice scraper inside the fuel filler flap, clip in rubbish bags for the door pockets and an umbrella.

My test model was the lead-in SE Comfort trim with the lower power turbocharged 1.0-litre engine that develops 95PS and drives through a manual 5-speed gearbox.

Inside there’s pretty much everything you need in terms of modern creature comforts, although the rear manual windows are a surprise. Even on cost grounds it’s somewhat of a disparity when looking at the list of other standard equipment included in the Fabia.

On the road the Fabia is aimed more at comfort than handling but nonetheless is still capable of being very competently hustled along more twisting roads. My test model is priced at €21,795/£18,350 and it feels more premium than the price suggests. Performance is modest but the Fabia doesn’t feel in any way hindered in its progress. This is helped by the 5-speed manual gearbox having well-chosen ratios and a light and easy shift. Push the throttle hard and there’s a characteristic thrum from the 3-cylinder engine that’s far from unpleasant. All this means that despite the small engine capacity the Fabia feels comfortable and long-legged.

Looking at its competitors the Skoda stacks up very well. Although it lacks the zesty performance feel of something like an Ibiza, it’s not necessarily a bad thing in a car that has to complete a myriad of travel duties. The Fabia is a car that I would be very happy to have on my driveway.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Skoda Fabia SE Comfort  1.0 TSi 95PS

Price: €21,795/£18,350

Engine: 1.0-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol developing 95PS

Gears: 5-speed manual

Performance: 0-100 kph (62 mph) Petrol 10.6 secs

Maximum Speed Petrol 191 kph (119 mph)

Economy: Petrol 5.1 l/100km (55.4 mpg) WLTP

Emissions: 115 g/km WLTP

Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.

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Mark Slack

If you're a petrol head you're in good hands with Mark Slack, whose expert take on the latest car releases will help you make your next purchase.