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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Skoda Fabia SE L Estate 1.0 TSI 110PS DSG

Click to view picture gallery“A supermini estate? Hard to find?
  Actually, not really
just pop into
  your nearest Skoda dealer where
  you
ll find the revamped Fabia Estate
  waiting for you
...”


SPORTING A SHARPLY CREASED bodyshell with a clamshell-style bonnet, wide vertically-barred black grille flanked by LED daytime running lights, flat-cut wheel arches and a well-planted stance, it's smart without being showy.

For the record, although we're focused on this 'new' facelifted third-gen Fabia wagon, it does have an equally well-dressed sister — a five-door hatchback. Both bodyshapes make use of the same engines — a one-litre in-line three-cylinder petrol unit (sorry, folks, diesel is no longer on the Fabia menu) available in three power outputs ranging from 73bhp through to 108bhp.

A full week’s hard
driving over mixed roads
by MotorBar’s heavy-
footed test team couldn’t
knock the consumption
down below 47.6mpg
(the official Combined
figure is 43.5 to 47.1mpg),
with an easy 55+mpg
on the motorway.
So real-world owners
should definitely be
seeing the bright side
of 50mpg...”
We've been driving the most potent — the 108bhp (110PS) — which can be had either with a six-speed stick-shift or the seven-speed double-clutch DSG autobox tested here.

The smooth and agreeably refined 1.0-litre engine with the polished DSG autobox makes for a peppy partnership, and is definitely the one to go for, especially as it doesn't quaff the unleaded — even a full week's hard driving over mixed roads by MotorBar's heavy-footed test team couldn't knock the consumption below 47.6mpg (the official Combined Cycle figure is 43.5 to 47.1mpg), with an easy 55+mpg on the motorway. So real-world owners should definitely be seeing the bright side of 50mpg.

The 110PS petrol engine's performance is perfectly fit for purpose with the benchmark 0-62mph done and dusted in ten seconds (10.2, actually) and a Continental-suitable top speed of 121mph. Get heavy with the loud pedal and impose your will on the gear selections via the autobox's selector lever in manual mode (no paddleshifters but no hardship either) and the VW-sourced 'triple' feels satisfyingly quick off the line, speeding up eagerly — flick it into Sport mode and it comes out fighting! And while the rev-counter's needle is happy to kiss the redline there's absolutely no need to take it there because between the three-pot's tractability and the clean-changing DSG autobox they've got town and country driving well covered.

The Fabia's cabin reflects the continuous move upmarket by the Skoda brand, even of its 'everyday' model lines. Swing open the driver's door and you'll want to get aboard quickly; the seats look inviting and the cabin ambiance is both smart and welcoming.

In the SE L, black cloth and Microsuedia upholstery with classy silver detail stitching is used to upholster the light but effectively bolstered seats — it's tactile and they're comfortable whether you're just popping round to the Indian for a takeaway or driving 200 miles at half-term to take the kids camping. There's a fist of headroom, plenty of space around your shoulders, and room for your front passenger to stretch out — and the padded armrest between the front seats is height adjustable. So, too, are both seats, as are the belts.

The Fabias cabin
reflects the continuous
move upmarket by the
Skoda brand,
even of its
everyday
model lines.
Swing open the driver
s
door and you
ll want to
get aboard quickly;
the seats look inviting
and the cabin ambiance
is both smart and
welcoming...”
Smooth-adjusting manual seats with knurled backrest adjusters instead of levers for accurate fine-tuning make it a doddle to set a good driving position, while a good-to-grip, leather-wrapped multifunction wheel keeps it involving at the helm. Given this is the auto version, a left-foot rest is going to be used a lot — and the Fabia's is set at just the right angle.

The dash is faced with a full-width, brushed metallic trim and sports clean ergonomics with, at its centre, a 6.5-inch Skoda Amundsen touchscreen infotainment system with built-in SatNav that's a cinch to use: it takes full seven-character postcodes; the mapping is crystal clear; and the posted speed limit is shown in the top left-hand corner — and it's large enough to be easily seen from the driver's seat. You also get Bluetooth connectivity, SmartLink+ for mobile synching using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a DAB radio, and a six-speaker audio system.

The black-on-white dials (hard to beat for clarity) in the instrument binnacle are easy to read in all lights and are positioned either side of a multifunction trip computer (scrolled via the 'view' button on the wheel) that displays core driving information such as a digital speed readout and graphic navigational reminders, with a convenient knurled knob for fast-zooming the mapping.

The fit, finish and trim materials, helped by typically thoughtful Skoda touches — such as the mini waste bin with disposable liners that clips into either front door pocket, compact brolly under the passenger seat, and handy mesh 'sleeve' pockets on the inner sides of both front backrests — create an agreeable sense of quality.

And you don't go short of in-cabin storage either thanks to bottle holders in every door pocket, 'real life'-sized front door bins, a deep tray ahead of the selector lever with USB and 12-volt power sockets, siamesed cupholders, an accommodating glovebox, a handy storage box beneath the armrest, and a drop-down glasses case. All of which makes owning and living with a Fabia long-term a satisfying experience.

While the estate will be
bought for its practicality
and versatility it
nevertheless feels fairly
agile and can be
punted around.
Should you over-egg it,
its front-wheel drive
chassis will push back
with nothing more
aggressive than safe
understeer...”
In addition to what's mentioned elsewhere, useful kit includes keyless Start, climate control AirCon, one-shot electric front windows, electrically-adjustable heated door mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, tinted glass, cruise control, rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring, Front Assist (autonomous emergency city braking), and a set of five-blade alloy wheels.

Access to the rear cabin is easy which is good news both for passengers and when using the loadbay for cargo-carrying. The nicely-shaped rear seat backrests are set at a restful angle and it's roomy enough for a pair of full-grown adults to travel comfortably.

Three side-by-side is doable, and all rear passenger sit noticeably higher than those in
front which keeps views forward interesting; the side windows let in plenty of light, as do the third side panes, and using wind-ups is no hardship and just as quick as using electric windows. Practical doors bins and pouches on the front seatbacks will hold quite a bit of your passengers' personal clutter and, for those with youngsters, there are Isofix child seat fittings on the outer seats.

Given that some wagons only travel at their best when heavily laden, it's good to find that the Fabia estate serves up a well damped ride whether you're driving solo or hauling cargo. The well-damped and well-fettled suspension handles both roles well, calmly soaking up any blacktop imperfections while maintaining its bias towards comfort and security.

And so to the handling. While the Fabia estate will first and foremost be bought for its practicality and versatility, it nevertheless feels fairly agile and can be punted around. Should you over-egg it, its front-wheel drive chassis will push back with nothing more aggressive than some safe understeer. Grip levels are good, the steering is faithful, the handling predictable and the brakes reassuring, and this estate version delivers an undemanding driveability that makes light work of a long day.

Lift the tailgate
and you
ll be pleasantly
surprised by the
particularly large boot:
at 530 litres, there
s room
and to spare for the
largest baby buggies or
luggage for four.
Secondly, given the
estate
’s 4.3-metre length,
the loadbay,
at 1,395
litres,
is especially
accommodating...”
From outside, the Fabia estate is the ideal size for today's crowded roads but lift the tailgate (it's plenty head-friendly) and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the particularly large boot: at 530 litres, there's room and to spare for the largest baby buggies or luggage for four. Secondly, given the estate's 4.3-metre length, the loadbay, at 1,395 litres, is especially accommodating.

The 60:40-split rear seatbacks fold to create a long, seamless cargo-bay floor that's easy to use thanks to a knee-height load-sill. When the boot floor panel is at the highest of its two settings the loadbay floor is perfectly level with the sill. Set thus, there's a three-inch-deep lower underboot that's perfect for secure storage of items such as laptops, etc.

Big side bins feature useful lift-out sides for additional versatility, and there's a higher-level tray for smaller items along with sturdy bag-hooks and a quick-releasing roller luggage blind. Beneath the lower boot floor you'll find a pretty big storage box along with tools and a full-size spare wheel (Yes!) plus there's a proper clip to hold the boot lid up when accessing either the lower level or the storage box. Finally, if tow you must then this 110PS automatic version will haul a braked 1,100kg.

A smooth, refined and very agreeable to drive supermini, the Fabia estate will appeal to a wide range of users from economy-minded weekend adventurers to time-rich empty-nesters, and to couples as well as pragmatic small families. It's also comfortable, extremely practical and has a compact footprint that makes it an accomplished 'townie' while still being equally adept on long and winding roads. ~ MotorBar
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Skoda Fabia SE L Estate 1.0 TSI 110PS DSG | 19,070
Maximum speed: 121mph | 0-62mph: 10.2 seconds | Test Average: 47.6mpg
Power: 108bhp | Torque: 147lb ft | CO2: 110g/km

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