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First Drive: Skoda Fabia

In a growing Skoda line-up, does the familiar Fabia still impress? Alex Grant finds out.

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SECTOR Supermini   PRICE £12,840-£18,750   FUEL 57.7-61.4mpg   CO2 105-111g/km

With its fleet-staple Octavia now joined by the Karoq and Kodiaq SUVs, and the Superb becoming its sector’s benchmark, Skoda’s business sales are booming. And record ‘true fleet’ registrations show it’s resonating with end-users, with even established names such as the Fabia continuing to grow.

For now, anyway. Skoda has a compact SUV en route which could nibble away at the Fabia’s traditional customers, particularly as it gets the technological advantages of the new Group platform. The Fabia doesn’t, though there’s a standard-fit AEB system and trip computer available behind this year’s subtle styling update. Most other new technology is optional.

The range is simple, comprising three mainline trims plus the Colour Edition and sporty Monte Carlo above them. Mid-spec SE is the best-seller, which is where must-haves such as air conditioning, reversing sensors and a touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay become standard kit.

It also gets the full engine line-up; 1.0-litre petrols, producing 75bhp, 95bhp and 109bhp. Again, most opt for mid-spec, and it’s lively enough that the most powerful engine is unnecessary, though it does add a motorway-friendly sixth gear, or the option of a seven-speed DSG.

Skoda’s USP is storage. The Fabia is packed full of cubby holes, hooks, nets and dividers, with an umbrella under the driver’s seat and a parcel shelf that fixes at two levels. Unusually, given customer migration to small SUVs, the Fabia is also offered as an estate – a good one, too, with almost a metre square load space behind the rear bench and a higher fleet sales mix than the hatch. New launches might be helping Skoda to grow, but the familiar names still impress.

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.