Skoda Fabia 2018 Facelift

The freshly revised Skoda Fabia doesn’t smack you in the face with its changes – it’s more subtle than that.

The designers have given the Fabia slimmer lights, new rear bumper reflectors and a slightly wider front grille. And that’s almost it for the outside. Oh, and on the flagship Monte Carlo model I drove, 18-inch alloys are available as well as LED brake lights that come as part of the package.
 
Hang on, though – there’s a little more. A fuel filler flap isn't the first place I usually look when reviewing a car, but the Fabia's is worth investigating. Why? Well, the ice scraper that was fitted on the last generation now doubles as a tyre tread depth gauge. It's also a magnifying glass, but it just made my eyes go all fuzzy looking through it.
 
Changes inside are limited. There are some fresh interior colours and trims, two additional USB slots for rear seat occupants’ use and marginally modified graphics on the dials.
Skoda Fabia Facelift 2018 Interior.jpg (192 KB)
It’s a clean and practical cabin, but it’s lacklustre, with hard scratchy plastics instead of the soft-touch ones you get in its cousin, the VW Polo.
That said, it feels well put together, and the Fabia's 330-litre cargo capacity means it has one the largest boots in the segment.

Importantly, the ditching of the 1.4-litre diesel now makes the Fabia range a petrol-only one. All now house 1.0-litre three-cylinder engines in different states of tune, along with an exhaust particulate filter to cut emissions.

As mentioned, I was handed the keys to the Monte Carlo. The 95PS unit comes with a five-speed manual transmission which is light and easy-to-use. Mind you; I kept looking for a sixth gear, meaning I did crunch the ‘box a couple of times. Oops, silly me.
 
The 1.0-litre powerplant is relaxed, and the Monte Carlo’s stiffer set springs and lower ride height make things quite fun. Of course, with an engine this small you’re never going to set the tarmac alight, but you can still get to 62mph in 10.8s and on to a top speed of 114mph. More significantly, it’ll do over 60mpg, making it an efficient form of transport. It's such an easy supermini to pilot, and it's comfortable for four-up - and quiet, too. 

Throughout the Fabia line-up, every model, apart from the basic ‘S,’ has been reduced in price. The entry-level car is now around £600 more expensive, but it does get a better kit, such as a trip computer, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, autonomous emergency braking and LED daytime running lights.
 
Away from the ‘S', you get the ‘SE', ‘Colour Edition’, ‘SE L’, and Monte Carlo – all with a price drop ranging between £55 and £355.

This is a great value, especially if you compare VW’s Polo, which is around £1000 more with a like-for-like engine and trim level.

Alas, if you like the sound of this car, but you happen to be a hot-hatch aficionado, you'll be left wanting. Skoda won't be launching a vRS version of this incarnation of Fabia any time soon.
 
Pros ‘n’ Cons
  • Comfortable √
  • Efficient √
  • Easy-to-drive √
  • Spacious boot √
  • Cabin plastics X

Fast Facts (New Fabia Monte Carlo 1.0 TSI - as tested by Tim Barnes-Clay)
  • Max speed: 114 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 10.8 secs
  • Combined mpg: 61.4
  • Engine layout: 999cc three-cylinder petrol turbo
  • Max. power (PS): 95
  • CO2: 106 g/km          
  • Price: £16,785

Written by motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay.
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