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Skoda Fabia Colour Edition 1.0 TSI 110PS DSG
Click to view picture gallery“New big cars and SUVs get ever
  bigger; but small cars keep growing
  too. Take Skoda
s latest supermini,
  the Fabia. Despite its compact
  footprint, this latest version comes
  with more than enough space for
  bodies and bags...”


THIS LATEST FABIA is the fourth-gen version and it has a lot more sparkle than its predecessors — aside from new eye-catching Colour Edition body colours, it makes good use of some styling links to the brand's cutting-edge Enyaq models. Where this likeable five-door hatchback hasn't changed is that it continues to offer an easy driving package that delivers spacious and cost-effective motoring without needing a second mortgage to park one on your driveway. Prices kick off from a realistic 17K.

This past week we've been zipping around Devon's convoluted country lanes in the one-litre (999cc) turbocharged three-cylinder model. This unleaded-drinking combustion engine comes either with a manual six-speed 'box or, as fitted to our test car, a seven-ratio DSG autobox. It has a three-pot's usual eagerness and punches out 109bhp backed up by a useful 148lb ft of torque enough to get off the line and hit the benchmark 62mph in a sparky 9.9 seconds; keep going and it won't stop until it reaches 126mph.

As you’d be expecting,
fuel economy is a strong
point with 50.3mpg the
official combined figure.
A week’s hard driving,
mostly weaving through
rural Devon’s tortuous
and hilly back roads
saw us record a very
good 46.4mpg.
It’s worth pointing out
that these roads demand
frequent runs up and
down the gearbox’s
ratios, mostly in the 2-4
bracket where there’s
always a satisfying slug
of grunt to be had.
Once we escaped the
narrow hedge-lined lanes
and found ourselves
back on the aptly named
Devon Expressway,
52mpg quickly became
the norm...”
Driven in an everyday manner it's an affable unit to live with; wind it up and it responds gamely, singing its uniquely warbly three-cylinder song as it works. That said, most of the time you'll barely hear it and, thanks to wind noise and road roar both being banished from the cabin, it's agreeably hushed when cruising motorways.

Even drivers who usually favour a manual shift will find the seven-speed DSG autobox an effective pairing with the turboed three-pot; there's a manual mode (simply flick it to the right and nudge the lever north and south to travel up and down the ratios) and an instant switch in-and-out of the Sport setting via a minimal tap-back on the selector lever.

As you'd be expecting, fuel economy is a strong point with 50.3mpg being the official combined figure. A week's hard driving, mostly weaving through rural Devon's tortuous and hilly back roads saw us record a very good 46.4mpg.

It's worth pointing out that these roads demand frequent runs up and down the gearbox's ratios, mostly in the 2-4 bracket where there's always a satisfying slug of grunt to be had. Once we escaped the narrow hedge-lined lanes and found ourselves back on the aptly named Devon Expressway, 52mpg quickly became the norm.

Climb aboard and you'll find shapely seats in the roomy interior. The effectively bolstered two-tone items are upholstered in a tactile fabric that will help keep you cool in summer and cosy in winter without seat warming. Shoulder and lower back support is good too. And thanks to the plentiful width between the Fabia's doors, there's room for elbows too; plus tall drivers need never worry about banging their heads or six-footers complain about any lack of leg room.

The driver gets seat height adjustment and a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with a thicker rim that feels nice to grip; he or she will also enjoy a first-rate driving position, one that, courtesy of slim screen pillars, guarantees clear views when joining roundabouts and turning across traffic. You also get an uncluttered view of what's happening behind as the rear screen is also pretty generous a big help when parking, though you do get reversing sensors at the rear and on-screen positional graphics. Parking-phobes can always tick the options box to add front sensors and a proper reversing camera.

It's a smart-looking cabin too, with decorative trim well fitted, and straightforward trad-style controls for the AirCon safer and so much easier to adjust while you're driving than screen-stabbing with a fingertip. Detailing includes knurled Audi-esque collars on the special Colour Edition air vents to adjust the air flow. All the switchgear is quickly identified and easy to use and the pull-up style handbrake will raise a cheer from traditionalists.

Skoda make it easy for drivers to decant their personal baggage around the cabin with real-world, bottle-holding, door-length door bins, a good-sized glovebox, a very handy large oddments cubby set in the lower offside fascia that's ideal for everything from coins to a compact camera, siamesed triple cupholders and various useful trays. And your shades haven't been overlooked: there's a drop-down overhead case for them. And you need never worry about forgetting to bring an umbrella either because the Fabia already has one, holstered in the driver's door ready for that out-of-the-blue cloudburst.

Dead centre of the clean-cut dash sits a mid-sized infotainment touchscreen and while it doesn't come with built-in SatNav you do get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so there's no problem mirroring your smartphone and using your own apps something more and more drivers seem to prefer doing.

At motorway speeds the
Fabia cruises fluently
and quietly, the three-pot
in its happy spot.
It helps that its chassis
is designed to keep all
aboard comfortable,
especially when given
the major downside of
smaller cars is their ride,
which in many can turn
every molehill into
a mountain.
Thankfully this new
Fabia rides agreeably
well, but then it does
share its underpinnings
with its cousin,
the VW Polo, which
has one of the nicest
rides in the class...”
In addition you also get a DAB radio with six speakers, Bluetooth, a socket for an external MP3 player, Smartlink, Skoda's Connect software, and the brand's assistance-summoning SOS e-Call+ feature. The pair of USB ports in the front are the latest 'C' type and are good for both data transmission and charging; and you do get a converter lead for using the older-style USBs. More are optional: one fitted by the rearview mirror (serving windscreen-mounted devices); another two in the back cabin. You can also request wireless phone-charging.

Adding to the Comfort Edition's 'tech' appeal is the standard-fit Virtual Cockpit set-up which replaces the analogue instrument panel with a superb 10.25-inch colour display directly ahead of the driver. Choose (and change it in an instant while driving) from five different layouts: from a minimalist digital speed readout to a full overview of all driving data everything as crystal clear on a glittering sunny day as it is on the blackest night.

Our Colour Edition Fabia looked the cat's whiskers finished in its striking Race Blue metallic pearl effect paintwork, capped off as it was by a contrasting glistening black roof, and rolling on some very nifty metallic black 17-inch 'Proxima' design alloy wheels (upgrading from the standard-fit 16-inchers costs a very reasonable 485). You also get plenty of must-have features such as keyless entry/locking and keyless engine Start/Stop, AirCon, the black glass-faced 8-inch colour touchscreen for the infotainment system and 12-inch digital driver's instrument panel mentioned earlier, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, one-shot powered windows, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and privacy glass.

When it comes to safety, the Fabia's five-stars-out-of-five Euro NCAP safety rating makes it a winner (it was recently named Best in Class for safety). It backs this up with Front Assist with automatic emergency braking, Lane assist (that also provides road edge detection warnings), a comprehensive Electronic Stability Control system, and the very useful automatic manoeuvre braking. There's also a full suite of airbags (front, side, and head), LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights, auto lights and wipes, a driver alert system, hill hold control, speed limiter, tyre pressure monitoring, and a rear window wash/wipe.

Kitted out with nicely plumped cushions and relaxing backrest angles, the Fabia's rear cabin is comfortably accommodating in fact, it's one of the most spacious in its class: with average-sized occupants up front, a pair of tall adults sitting behind won't find any reasons to complain. Likewise, three youngsters side-by-side can travel with room to wriggle.

Likeable touches include dedicated rear air vents (you don't often find these in superminis), pouches on both front seatbacks with integrated mini-me pockets for smartphones, and bottle-holding door bins along with ISOFIX and TopTether anchorage points to the outer rear seats and, something else you don't always get, the same on the front passenger seat.

At motorway speeds the Fabia cruises fluently and quietly, the three-pot in its happy spot. It helps that its chassis is designed to keep all aboard comfortable, especially when given that the major downside of smaller cars is their ride, which in many can turn every molehill into a mountain.

“Even with a socially
acceptable 4.1-metre
length, the Fabia hatch
manages to provide
unexpectedly decent
space for both people
and whatever it is they
need to take with them.
The 380-litre boot
(that’s as big as some
from the class above)
will swallow six carry-on
cases under the
lightweight parcel shelf
load-cover, which lifts
high with the tailgate
when opened.
But drop down the
60:40-split folding rear
seats and you’ll find
a lot more space —
1,190 litres of it...”
Thankfully this new Fabia rides agreeably well, but then it does share its underpinnings with its cousin, the VW Polo, which has one of the nicest rides in the class.

For a car likely to spend much of its working life in cityscapes, the Fabia's ability to deal harmoniously with poor quality urban blacktop is especially good news. The Fabia hatch is softer and more forgiving than most small cars and makes a better fist of smoothing over imperfect blacktop than many of the breed.

Nowadays, everybody is in on the Czech carmaker's secret which is that beneath those Skoda-tailored clothes you'll find one of parent company Volkswagen's platforms. Underpinning this next generation Fabia are the bits and bobs you'll also find under the more expensive skin of the latest Audi A1 or VW Polo. Which is a very good start indeed.

The Fabia is a front-wheel driver which, combined with plenty of grip and lightly weighted electromechanical power steering makes it an easy car to point and place with precision. But despite the softish suspension the Fabia hatch feels agile and will hold its line; enough that you can punt it confidently through the twisties and press on along faster A-roads outside the city limits.

The brakes (vented discs at the front; solid discs at the rear) are reliably smooth, so when you're back in town stop-starting in edgy traffic, it's still an effortless drive.

Even with a socially acceptable 4.1-metre length, the Fabia manages to provide decent space for both people and whatever it is they need to take with them. The 380-litre boot (that's as big as some from the class above) will swallow six carry-on cases under the lightweight parcel shelf load-cover, which lifts high with the tailgate when opened.

But drop down the 60:40-split folding rear seats and you'll find a lot more space 1,190 litres of it. Furthermore, there's a variable height boot floor which means easy loading of heavier items and a minimal lip when you're in loadbay mode. Alternatively, you can prioritise the lower setting and gain a four-inch deeper boot for those times you have rear seat passengers aboard.

Boot accessories are practical and include a flexible and adjustable 'fence' that corrals smaller items and keeps them from flying all over the place, along with sturdy bag hooks. You might also be surprised at how much the Fabia supermini can tow a braked 1,100kg. Yet another string to its bow.

Skoda's fourth-gen Fabia hatch is better than ever and drivers on the hunt for a supermini that ticks all the boxes (for practicality, space, and low running costs combined with usable real-world performance) will find the sensible but sassy Fabia the go-to choice for all kinds of driving with or without the family. Why settle for anything less! ~ MotorBar
.
Skoda Fabia Colour Edition 1.0 TSI 110 DSG | 18,690
Maximum speed: 126mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds | Test Average: 46.4mpg
Power: 109bhp | Torque: 148lb ft | CO2: 128g/km

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