Skoda 2016 Fabia TSI wagon review

Skoda 2016 Fabia TSI wagon review

Some car companies are doing everything they can to tempt people away from buying compact SUVs and crossovers.

Skoda’s new Fabia wagon is a front runner in the offerings that are both value-priced and well-featured, mainly because it’s got a tremendous amount of cargo space and it handles better than any compact SUV this side of sixty grand.

With the range starting at under $20,000 for the 66kW TSI five-speed manual, and culminating in our test car – a seven-speed DSG-auto 81kW station wagon driving the front wheels – there’s a lot of appeal for new car buyers.

skoda fabia wagon tsi 2015 rear quarterA 1.2-litre turbocharged engine provides and power and it’s surprisingly lively in the critical overtaking range (0-100kph in 9.6 seconds) while still giving excellent fuel economy. Skoda quotes 4.8l/100km combined, and I achieved 6.2l/100km in everyday driving which is a respectable figure.

There’s automatic stop/start to cut the engine while waiting, as long as you don’t have the air conditioning cranked up like we’ve had to this summer.

skoda fabia wagon tsi 2015 front interiorThe skeleton of this car is shared with the Volkswagen Polo, and that means it’s good. Splendid. It’s sharp around the corners (better than any compact SUV I can think of), good on the brakes and quiet in the interior.

It comes with an electronic differential lock function XDS+ which gently brakes the inside wheel when pushing it through corners to give you a more planted ride.

There’s ample room in the front for driver and passenger, a 505-litre boot which expands to 1375-litres with the rear seats down, and if you want to carry rear passengers then, there’s adequate legroom if the driver isn’t too tall.

skoda fabia wagon tsi 2015 dashboardUseful extra luggage compartments on either side of the boot stop items rolling around plus lots of little clever compartments and pockets add enough storage for bottles, phones and general items. You can fit a large 1.5-litre bottle in the doors, too.

When you compare what you got just ten years ago regarding features compared to what you get today in a sub $30,000 car, it’s amazing.

Apple Carplay comes as standard (plug your iPhone in and you get access to some apps via the touchscreen and can control it using Siri). It also skoda fabia wagon tsi 2015 bootsupports Android Auto interfaces.

Skoda has provided more safety features than ever including a speed limiter, front assist (brakes if it detects you’re about to collide with something), driver tiredness alert, electronic stability control, six airbags, tyre pressure control and hill hold control.

A Dynamic Sport package is available for $2300 which adds $4225 of extra features: sports suspension; exterior detailing; halogen lights with LED daytime lights and front fog lights; climate control and some upgrades to the radio, and 17-inch alloy wheels to replace the 16-inch wheels with 215/45R16 tyres.

There are further options such as front parking sensors, heated seats, keyless entry/start/stop, alarm and a panoramic roof.

So after those glowing accolades are there anything wrong with the Fabia wagon?

Three things. Firstly it can be a little hesitant to get away from a standing start requiring you to think a bit more about your gap selection when pulling out of a junction.

Secondly, it could do with a reversing camera rather than just the radar with visualisation (“Park Assist”), and thirdly it is quite a boring car in the flesh.

There’s nothing exciting about the exterior at all. It conforms nicely to Skoda’s design language but is anonymous in every way.

This anonymity can be a plus or a minus, but I like a car to have some interesting design quirk or feature; something that makes me think that a designer has had fun. It is as the Holden Vectra was in the ‘90s.

It might be perfect for you, though. It’s not going to attract attention and it probably won’t date that quickly. Plus, at $26,990 what is there that competes with it?

Not a whole lot if you look at the entire package. It’s got a huge cargo space, economical engine, excellent ride and plenty of safety features. If you can live with automotive anonymity, it’s worth a test drive.

Price: $26,990

Pros

  • Massive value
  • Useful boot
  • Strong on-road performance

Cons

  • Boring exterior
  • Occasionally ponderous off the line
  • No reversing camera

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