Owner Review

2017 Skoda Fabia 81TSI Review

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My 2017 Skoda Fabia is an absolute blast to drive. It has some great features, but can leave you with a feeling of wanting more. Let's start with my spec of the 2017 Fabia: it is top-spec, but without the sunroof. Key features are climate control, radar-guided adaptive cruise control, sporty flat-bottom steering wheel and 17-inch alloys.

Let's start with the comfort. Straight off the bat the 17-inch wheels look fantastic on the Fabia, but they do leave you with a bit of a rough ride over bumps. The seats are comfortable and do decently well at hugging you in while cornering, but they could do with lumbar support for longer journeys. The steering wheel is adjustable for both height and reach, so you should be able to find a comfortable driving position. The seats raise and lower quite a bit, so tall or short people should be fine. The rear seats are surprisingly comfortable for a car of this size. Due to the boxy design of the cabin, rear passengers have decent headroom. I am 180cm, and can sit behind my own driving position with no real complaints, though on long journeys it may feel a bit cramped. The Fabia doesn't have too much road/wind noise either. It's well insulated and provides a comfortable-on-the-ears experience when travelling.

Now let's get to driving. The Fabia is pretty nice to drive. The 2017 model that I have comes with the 81kW (110hp) 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine. It's nippy, that's for sure. It produces peak torque (175Nm) at 1500rpm, so you will be able to haul it up hills and blast around with ease without having to push the engine to high RPM. The engine has a surprisingly nice tone when hammering it around some bends and you get turbo whine at 2000rpm. It's entertaining that's for sure. My spec comes with 215/40 R17 size Bridgestone Potenza tyres, which helps the Fabia grip through corners well, although I feel I haven't taken it around enough corners at speed yet to give much information about the overall agility. The 'Fabs' comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which I find it to be fantastic. Yes, it can be jerky at low speed, but you do learn how to manage the gearbox after a while, and you can nearly eliminate the jerkiness from the gearbox at low speed with practice.

Let's talk about economy now.

Skoda claims around 4.8 litres per 100km. Realistically you will be around the 5.5L to 6L/100km range. I average 6.6L/100km long-term, and that's while having a bit of fun with the car. I took a trip to the Avalon Airshow a while back. The trip was around 140km, and I averaged around 4.5L/100km to as low as 4.0L on the freeway. So as a highway cruiser it is pretty good. Around town though, it can be a bit thirsty. I average around 6.5L/100km to 7L around town. The car does come with automatic stop-start which, once warmed up, it is very eager to turn off. Although I have noticed when my dashcam is plugged into the 12v socket, the stop-start system rarely works — something to take note of.

Now onto technology.

The car comes with a pretty decent and extremely easy-to-use infotainment display. It shows a lot of information that is extremely useful, such as service schedule, fuel usage, in-built navigation (if you have that optioned in) and much more. It comes standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. In the instrument cluster, you get a little screen between your rev and speed dials, which displays basic info from oil temperature, to speed, to who’s calling you and much more. Satellite radio and DAB radio is also included.
My Fabia came with climate control, and I have found it to be completely unnoticeable. And I say that in a good way, because on decent drives, being able to set and forget the temperature is fantastic. I have never really thought "oh it’s getting hot now, let's turn the AC on". That is hardly an issue. The 'Fabs' does a decent job at keeping cabin temperature at your desired level.

To summarise.

The Skoda Fabia is an outstanding little car. Its got a great mix of performance, comfort and let's not forget style. It is robust and solid as you would expect from a Volkswagen Automotive Group car. I only wish it had a bit more comfort in the seats and a higher resolution/bigger infotainment screen. But if you are looking for a bit more of a "posh" interior, I would recommend a Volkswagen Polo or even an Audi A1. The Polo and A1 are pretty much the brother or sister of the Fabia. After all, they are all in the same group/family/company.

There is a lot more about this car, but these are what I thought I should point out without making the review too large.