SKODA'S latest Fabia is proof, if it were needed, that you really can have your cake and eat it! And their recipe for success is in building a car that's one of the best value for money machines in the supermini class. Although some might question whether the Fabia is really a supermini, because there's not a lot miniscule about its dimensions. It offers you a healthy sized slice of metal which will carry a family of four in adequate comfort and with room to spare. Probably why the original car, launched seven years ago, has been such a hit in the UK. Buyers here have snapped up over 130,000 of them and more than 1.5 million have been built in that time. And it's won a shelf full of awards.
The latest model, launched earlier this year, majors on the benefits of the previous Fabia as it takes on the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Renault Clio in the battle for sales, and starts at a competitive £7,990 for the entry level 1.2 HTP 1. It has a decent amount of standard equipment in a CD player, ABS, power steering, immobiliser and dual front airbags, but obviously sacrifices have to be made to keep the price down, so you won't find remote centre locking and electric door mirrors on the Fabia 1, the lowest trim level. And I was briefly left wondering if they'd forgotten the brakes as well on first acquaintance, as they proved to be a bit softer than I'm used to.
But rest assured that though the pedal travel may be long there's plenty bite at the end to stop you safely. There's plenty engine choice in the range – seven in fact – the least swift being the 1.2 litre three cylinder 60bhp unit in our test car, an engine used in other VW Group products. There's a thrummy quality to the engine note, and it has to be said that in town it's perfectly adequate. It's just left lacking a bit when the road opens out a bit and the traffic thins out, which is where its breathing thins out and it gets a bit like the wheezy fat boy trying to keep up with the rest on the school cross country run. Using the cake analogy it doesn't exactly put the zip in the marzipan but then there are plenty others to choose from if you feel the need for a bit more speed.
People opt for a Skoda for a variety of reasons – value for money, reliability and overall user friendliness. The latest Fabia ticks all those boxes and this one in particular, while only the entry level model, proved a comfortable enough method of transport, and an economical one too. Its extra urban figure is a shade under 59mpg which means that as well as not costing a lot to buy it won't cost a fortune to run either. Oh, and it's insurance group 1 into the bargain. So, a neatly styled five door hatch that's a definite improvement over its predecessor. Piece of cake really.
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