With good residual values and a surprising amount of room for luggage, the Estate is both tidy and neat to drive. Only the top-spec model has standard curtain airbags, and the engine is noisy. The plastics in the interior are also a disappointment.
The 1.2-litre petrol engines come in either 103-, 84-, or 69bhp. There are 1.6-litre turbo diesel engines with 89- or 104bhp that may be better for the demands likely to be placed on the vehicle. There is also a vRS “hot hatch” version.
By the standards of its class, the Estate is large, but it is still compact enough to be effective in the city. It has a supple, comfortable ride that holds together on the motorway. The steering is accurate and light, and it has lots of grip when the conditions are slippery. However, there is quite a lot of body lean when making a tighter corner.
Suspension and road noise are not a factor from inside the cabin. There is a slight bit of wind noise at increased speed around the windscreen pillars, but the engines are very noisy. The worst model is the 1.9-litre diesel, which is loud and barky sounding.
The Fabia Estate is priced to be comparable to the Renault Clio and the Peugeot 207 estates. Since Skoda has such a large and loyal fan base, high demand will see better than average resale values. Whichever model you choose to buy, they are quite economical to run.
The interior is disappointing with the unappealing and hard plastics. It seems to be well put together as a whole and owners seem to be happy with the vehicle. The Fabia Estate finished second in its class according to the 2012 JD Power survey, and rated above average for its reliability.
All models come standard with twin side and front airbags but if you are looking for curtain airbags, you need to look at the Elegance. There are no results for the Estate but Euro NCAP gave the hatchback version four stars for protection of occupants. Thatcham gave it a full five stars for drive-away theft protection, and four stars for cabin entry protection.
There is a two-way adjuster for both driver’s seat and steering wheel for comfort. The dash is logical and simple. The windscreen pillars are thin, which affords the driver a much clearer view out the windshield.
Four large adults can travel comfortably over long journeys with all the space and five will fit on shorter trips easily. There is plenty of leg- and headroom. The enormous boot is well shaped and will hold almost anything you need to bring along.
Basic models come standard with CD/MP3, power windows in the front and remote locks. The SE adds halogen headlights, air-con, and electric door mirrors that are the colour of the body. The SE Plus adds a multi-function steering wheel, climate control and electric windows in the rear. Elegance throws in a trip computer, alloy wheels, additional speakers, and curtain airbags. The Scout models are uniquely different in their look both outside and in, but only add air-con.