Skoda Fabia Estate

Skoda Fabia Estate lr

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By Tim Saunders

When a friend needs a shipment of books collecting it is extremely convenient that I am testing the new Skoda Fabia Estate.

You see although this is only a small car, it has a surprisingly large boot, large enough in fact to swallow a pallet containing 1,000 books, once I’ve loaded each of the 13 sizeable and fairly heavy cartons into the car. One of the rear seats has to be pushed down to accommodate two of the cartons but Heidi (2) is quite happy sitting beside them in her car seat.

We have started the process of selling our house and although we started throwing out much of the stuff we have accumulated over the years, there has still been enough to fill the Skoda’s boot. That boot is also fitted with an easy to operate cover so that its contents can be hidden from prying eyes.

This is truly a versatile vehicle because it is large enough for a family of four with plenty of legroom fore and aft. It is the type of vehicle a family like mine needs because this Skoda really does rise to most challenges a family will throw its way. One minute it will be a reliable commuter, the next it could carry a kayak or bikes on the roof thanks to its roof bars and then of course it is a useful load-lugger.

Add to this the fact that it is only powered by a tiddly little 1.2-litre petrol engine, it returns on average around 60mpg. You might be surprised to learn that despite its small engine it is still quite swift reaching 60mph from standstill in just 9.6secs. It will go on to a 124mph top speed.

Not so long ago you would never have thought ‘It feels like an Audi,’ but it does because not only does it look classy with its clean lines and attractive design it feels well put together and there’s a good quality interior.

I am testing the SE L version, which comes with a list of features as long as your arm. They include 16 inch alloy wheels, acoustic rear parking sensors, black roof rails and tyre pressure monitoring. This model does only have electric front windows which means that the little urchins in the rear can wind the windows down.

Designing a car interior is a difficult thing to do successfully because it needs to be hardwearing but also comfortable and sophisticated if it is ever going to woo a buyer. It is always interesting to see what new ideas designers come up with and what is carried over from other vehicles. We find brushed aluminium on the dashboard, which is a growing fashion, particularly in Audis. There are plenty of cubbyholes and pockets for odds and ends. The little rubbish bin the driver’s door with its tiny sandwich bag sized bin bag is, in my opinion, taking things a little bit too far. Whether I would use the little pocket on the side of the front seats to store pens or not, I am not sure. They might be handy for sweets on a long journey but if forgotten about the sweets could melt and ruin the upholstery. The black upholstery incorporates funky white patterns that liven it up. What this Skoda scores highly on is its load carrying ability and clever use of storage space; there are even storage compartments under the front seats.

I find that the six speed manual gearbox is generally a decent unit but on occasions I do find myself stirring custard. I also find that the cruise control mounted on the stalk to the left of the steering wheel is not one of the most user-friendly I have come across and is pretty fiddly. But it is a competent motorway cruiser and the seats a fairly supportive.

“It’s difficult to imagine a better car for a young family than the Skoda Fabia Estate,” writes Parkers, the car experts.

Facts at a glance
 
Skoda Fabia SE L 1.2 TSI 110PS
0-60mph: 9.6secs
Top speed: 124mph
Power: 110bhp
Economy: 58.9mpg
 
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