Product Type: Skoda cars
Newest Review: ... electrical problems at about the 8 year stage (oops!) but everything seems good at the moment. The Skoda Fabia is said to average just u... more
The Skoda Fabia - a ray of sunshine
Skoda Fabia Classic 1.4 5dr
Member Name: razor_sharp
Skoda Fabia Classic 1.4 5dr
Advantages: Low insurance group, great small car
Disadvantages: Very basic
It was when the rear view mirror dropped off in my hand that I realised my trusty 12 year old Ford Fiesta would have to go.
So a weekend spent on the internet looking for good value second hand cars (my daughter is just learning to drive so I needed something in one of the lower insurance groups) ended with 3 test drives booked: for a Ford Scenic, a Fiat Punto and a Skoda Fabia. Alas, the Scenic and Punto didn't even get out on the road. I took one look at the Fabia, which is lemon yellow, and I was in love.
Yes, it's the same colour as a banana. Yes, it makes street lighting unnecessary. Yes, when the bottom gets muddy, it looks like a liquorice allsort. Somehow, its sunny nature just appeals to me.
Because this absolutely is a car that doesn't take itself seriously.
The Classic is the most basic car you can imagine. My car is the 2002 model, a five door hatchback built just after Volkswagen took over the Skoda marque. When I phoned for the test drive, I knew it didn't have much power under the bonnet (1.4, 8v engine). I knew it didn't have air-con, or a sun roof or a large boot. What I wasn't prepared for though, is the lack of things I'd assumed now came as standard in the 21st century. When did you last see a car with non-electric windows? And, to my horror, not only does it not have remote locking, it doesn't even have central locking!! The last car I owned without central locking was a Metro back in the early 1990s!
So what has it got? Well, despite the jokes, I adore the lemon yellow colour. I like the boxy shape although it has been criticised by others. It has power-assisted steering and ABS. It has a power point for charging small electrical items. It has a reasonable 4 speaker radio and CD player. It has.....well, that's about it really (although.....did I mention the colour??).
The 1.4 engine actually performs quite well. I've already done a couple of motorway trips and it cruises at 70 with no shakes and no sign of effort (well, I wouldn't dream of going any faster would I?). For the price, the engine is very quiet and it's a smooth ride.
But most of my driving is done in town and this is where the Fabia really comes into its own. It hasn't got the power to allow you to be a bully on a busy roundabout but it parks in spaces barely larger than itself and the controls are comfortable and easy to use even in stop start traffic. The driver's seat can be raised and lowered as well as moved backwards and forwards which I appreciate as I'm quite short. I'm told by my passengers that it feels surprisingly spacious even with three people in the back. Other reviewers have criticised the sight lines, but this isn't something I've had a problem with.
From the research I did beforehand, I gather that Fabias can suffer from condensation and damp problems, both in the body of the car and in the engine compartment. Despite the fact that it has rained every day since I bought mine, I certainly haven't noticed any dampness inside. I'm also told they can develop electrical problems at about the 8 year stage (oops!) but everything seems good at the moment. The Skoda Fabia is said to average just under 30 mpg in town and a tad over 50mpg on motorways. At the moment, I would say that's a little optimistic (and I'm not a mad driver or carrying heavy loads).
Perhaps it's a girl's car (although another thing it doesn't have is a driver's sunshade mirror!). As you can tell from the above, I'm not a car expert - I really couldn't tell you exactly what's in the engine compartment let alone what it all does. But then generally I want to drive my car rather than tinker with it and with the Fabia I can enjoy doing just that.
Summary: A car to bring colour to your day and a smile to your face