On the road: The new Skoda Fabia
On the road: The new Skoda Fabia

Ian Lamming feels all grown up in Skoda’s latest Fabia

WOW, that was close; I’ve just been cut up. Then another car pulls out in front of me. Finally it’s a near head-on. What is going on?

The car is white, it has day time running lights glaring and I’m only travelling at a modest speed.

I can only think that it is a complete lack of respect for the test vehicle which is strange because nobody should be dissing the latest Skoda Fabia.

The psychology of cars is weird and has nothing to do with the vehicle’s abilities. If you want to be king of the road then drive a pick-up, any pick-up, no one will dare mess with you. Drive a small hatchback and it’s a different matter as other road users try to beat you up or, in some extreme case, kill you. We are never far from the playground.

So a small hatchback from Skoda obviously doesn’t carry the same clout as a muscly pick-up. But don’t these people know how this brand has transformed over the years from cheap and derided to capable and delightful. It can’t still be a best kept secret. Get with the programme people.

New Fabia actually has an air of Audi A1 about it. The new looks graft Skoda’s contemporary bold grille, that stretches across the range, to a smart rear end; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the way this car looks. New Fabia has grown up so please show it some respect.

Another thing everyone should be respecting in these trouble times of soaring fuel prices is how economical it is.

The 1.0 three cylinder turbo is nice and torquey making it feel a lot more powerful than the modest output of 95PS would suggest. At one stage I saw 66mpg on the trip computer giving this Skoda a fab range and making it the perfect chariot in which to charge through a cost of living crisis.

I also take my hat off to Skoda designers for their continued attention to detail, something you don’t get to this degree in other marques in the family.

The hatchback features a substantial handle on the inside, for instance, so no need to get your hands dirty grabbing the boot lip or risk ripping your fingers nails off trying to pull it down.

Speaking of boots, how many times do you find your shopping scattered all across the floor when you get back from the supermarket? It doesn’t seem to matter how carefully you pack it, it ends up everywhere. Well not in a Skoda which has clever little holdalls for bags and bottles. It’s such a simple idea, and so effective, that I can’t understand why all manufactures don’t follow suit.

Inside is clear and simple. There is the ubiquitous touchscreen and virtual dash but also a welcome array of knobs and buttons to keep it feeling like a conventional car. For a small car it feels spacious enough and accommodates adults and lanky children well.

I’m an age where automatics are my favoured transmission but the Fabia’s five speed manual is so easy to use that it’s the next best thing with a light clutch and a pleasingly positive lever action.

Specification is decent and build quality rock solid. It feels robust inside and out offering the driver the confidence that it is a car that will last.

Excellent ride, handling and decent performance make the Fabia great to drive and definitely a car worthy of some respect.

Fact File

Skoda Fabia SE Comfort

Engine: 1.0 petrol turbo

Power: 95PS

0-62mph: 10.6 secs

Top speed: 119mph

Combined miles per gallon: 55.4

Transmission: five speed manual

CO2 g/km: 115

Price: £19,250.00