The second-generation Fabia will need to be good because, instead of raising the bar, its supermini rivals like the Vauxhall Corsa have snatched said bar and launched it javelin-style into the atmosphere.

Luckily, the little Skoda follows in some well-established tyre tracks.


The old car was a sales success and received heaps of accolades; back in 2000 it was without doubt the best car the firm had ever wheeled out. It offered acres of space, while drivers and passengers were treated to a big car ride and quality that was marred a tad by its unfortunate bland and forgettable looks.

Looks are something designers of the new baby Skoda paid close attention to, adopting not only the Roomster’s snout but some of its design cues, too – no longer will you run the risk of losing the Fabia in an airport carpark.

We concentrated on the 80PS diesel for our drive, the same engine we recently drove under the bonnet of the noisy VW Polo Bluemotion. Fortunately, with the Fabia there’s a healthy amount of soundproofing and the engine is refined, emitting only 120g/km while still returning over 61mpg. Performance-wise once the Fabia is in its stride the engine is acceptable with reasonable mid-range pull for overtaking.

Since the car is based on the old platform the soothing ride carries over, coping well with potholes and poorly surfaced roads. Cornering reveals a little more bodyroll than expected but everything is kept under control, while handling is safe and secure.

Inside, engineers haven’t forgotten how to make an interior of real quality. One of the two cars we drove had a very marginally misaligned aircon panel, but other than that good build exudes. The only real criticism now is that the interior is all a little light on innovation and inspiration.

Space is Skoda’s final ace in the pack, possessing the biggest boot in the class, while four adults each over six-feet tall should find comfort too.

So the Fabia takes the challenge to our class favourite Vauxhall Corsa. It’s down to which is better on costs.