REVIEW: Skoda Fabia Estate SE

IN a world dominated by compact SUVs you might be forgiven for thinking that the idea of a hatchback-based estate like the Skoda Fabia Estate had lost its lustre.

You may have thought that a Talbot Rancho-style soft-roader named after a mythical mountain beast might not capture the imagination of an inherently rather cynical automotive press.

You’d be wrong. 

Skoda has already proved with the Yeti that it has a knack for producing a surprise and the somewhat unassuming Fabia Estate delivers once again.

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Priced from £10,600 the diminutive load-lugger manages to pack 330-litres of boot within its sub-four metre length and can manage claimed fuel economy of over 88mpg in Greenline form.

But that was not the major surprise.

At £13,905 my one-litre, 74bhp petrol-engined Fabia Estate SE test car sat mid-way in the range, but delivered more fun than I could have bargained for.

Its 999cc, three-cylinder engine manages struck an excellent balance with the tall sidewalls of the tyres on its 15-inch alloys to produce a wonderfully chuckable and communicative car.

Maintaining momentum to avoid asking too much of the 70lb.ft. of available torque proved a blast.

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And I still managed an indicated fuel economy of over 52mpg, pleasingly close to the 58.9mpg claim which comes hand-in-hand with 109g/km emissions.

Performance stats are less alluring: 14.5-seconds to 62mph and a 109mph top speed.

And given the limited power and torque I suspect that the 1.4-litre TDI — with 184lb.ft. of torque — would be a better bet for a driver intending to make use of all that luggage space.

Inside the Fabia plays a straight bat. Soft-touch plastics bring some tactility and aid refinement, but things are slightly gloomy.

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Standard kit includes a touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, DAB Radio and a MirrorLink system that links up the driver’s smartphone apps and air conditioning, though, and the build quality is good.

The Fabia Estate was that it goes out to be practical and economical but, by some twist, delivers dynamically too.

A hidden gem... Just not quite so well hidden as that fabled Yeti, perhaps.


Skoda Fabia Estate SE

Engine: 999cc, three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol

Power: 74bhp and 70lb.ft. of torque

Performance: 0-62mph in 14.5 seconds and 109mph

Economy: 58.9mpg (combined)

CO2 emissions: 109g/km

Price: £13,905

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