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The new Skoda Fabia has been crowned 2015 Car of the Year by popular buyer’s guide, What Car?, but does the smallest 1.0-litre engine derived from the Skoda Citigo ensure the Fabia meets the high standards of the rest of the range? Take a look below to find out.
If you’re looking for a Skoda Fabia but cannot afford the higher price tag of the rest of the range, the 1.0-litre 74bhp petrol engine is one of the cheapest options. Sharing the same three-cylinder engine as the smaller Citigo, the entry-level Fabia comes with a five-speed manual gearbox. Available only as a five-door hatchback, the Fabia weighs more than the Citigo which does slightly alter its performance.
The 1.0-litre engine comes with fuel-saving technology to include stop-start, meaning the new version is 7.5mpg and 20g/km more efficient than the current 1.2-litre 68bhp Skoda Fabia.
Due to the Fabia’s excess weight, acceleration through the gears is harder than in the Citigo and 0-62mph takes 14.7 seconds. This isn’t much slower than the Citigo, but is felt much harder when the Fabia attempts to overtake, particularly if the car is fully laden – it requires a good deal of revs. This particular model is best suited to city driving as opposed to longer motorway journeys, and its quiet and smooth engine makes it easy to nip from junction to junction, whilst the light and precise gearshift makes progressing in and out of traffic a doddle.
One of the Fabia’s main attractions is its cabin – it’s a practical hatchback filled with plenty of clever touches that set it apart from competitors. For example, the 330 litre boot is a good place to start – its 40 litres larger than its rival, the Ford Fiesta and 50 litres bigger than the Volkswagen Polo. Shoulder, head and legroom is plentiful meaning even the tallest adults can be comfortable in the back. Extra storage solutions such as luggage hooks, more bottle holders and a wide boot opening illustrate how hard Skoda have worked to make the Fabia as attractive as possible to everyday users.
Entry-level models come with Bluetooth, a DAB radio, a USB socket, remote central locking and electrically adjustable door mirrors, whereas the second trim up, the SE trim, is the one we’d recommend which adds all-important air-con as well as alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, an upgraded stereo and a leather steering wheel. SE L versions add climate and cruise controls, an automatically dimming rear-view mirror and audio controls on the steering wheel.
The Fabia obtained a maximum five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP and every model comes with six airbags, stability control and a tyre pressure-monitoring system. There’s also plenty of high-tech safety kit, including a system that’ll brake the car if you get too close to the vehicle in front (standard from SE trim upwards) and one that automatically applies the brakes after an accident to limit the severity of any subsequent impacts.
One of the main benefits to picking the smallest Skoda Fabia in the range is the lower price you’ll pay for insurance – the smaller engine is in group 3E so young drivers will make a significant saving. However, we think the next model up, the 1.2 TSI, offers the best combination of performance and fuel economy – offering 89bhp and emitting 1g/km of CO2 less than the 1.0 MPI, its more fuel efficient whilst qualifying for the same tax band, and offers a more rewarding drive.