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Skoda Fabia Estate 1.4 TDi GreenLine road test report

1.4 TDi GreenLine

The Skoda Fabia GreenLine Estate offers the perfect combination of space, fuel efficiency and sensible pricing. The ideal car for those who want watch their carbon waistline without compromising on lifestyle. A small car with surprising internal dimensions, the estate version of the Fabia GreenLine is built to rival sister cars, the SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive and the Polo Bluemotion. Choose this model over the other two if you need the added space and don’t mind that it is not quite as green as its rivals. It qualifies for Tax Band B at £35 instead of the tax-free A group of the Ecomotive and Bluemotion, but it is a small price to pay for the added functionality.

Road Test Reports Says4 star rating
A front-facing image of the Skoda Fabia Estate

Image number 2 of the Skoda Fabia EstateImage number 3 of the Skoda Fabia EstateImage number 4 of the Skoda Fabia Estate

Performance Performance - 3 stars

As the green version of the Fabia, built to rival sister cars the Polo Bluemotion and the Ibiza Ecomotive, the GreenLine shares the same noisy 1.4 TDi engine. This engine judders if pushed into fourth when doing 30mph, which is a little irritating in an urban driving situation until you take into account the longer gear ratios, which are designed for economy and are really doing your job for you by keeping the revs low. Other than that, performance is respectable enough for an estate vehicle, achieving 0 to 62 in 13.7, 80bhp at 4000rpm and a top speed of 105mph. We test drove the Fabia GreenLine Estate 1.4 TDi model and as you would expect for an estate car, the GreenLine Estate is not built for action, but once you get it going it is capable enough in any driving conditions and with a full load.

Ride & Handling Ride & Handling - 4 stars

One niggle is that the steering is a little light yet it still provides enough feedback to allow the Fabia to feel safe and controlled. The seating is really comfortable and the pedals sensibly positioned. I’m not the tallest person in the world at 5’ 7’’ and I appreciated being able to reach the pedal without resorting to wearing the steering wheel. Having said that, the driving set-up also seemed to suit my much taller colleagues too, as the height of the steering wheel and driving seat is fully adjustable. Overall, the driving position is high, affording you a sense of being inside a much larger vehicle. Soft suspension gives the Fabia an upmarket feel by providing a comfortable ride on even the most uneven road surfaces.

Build Quality & Reliability Build Quality & Reliability - 4 stars

Solidly built with reassuring Volkswagen underpinnings, the Skoda Fabia will serve you like a dependable old dog like the estates of yore yet with the fresh ethos and environmental credentials of a truly modern car. Internally the plastics may be a bit basic, but the Fabia Estate looks solidly built. The front bumper is raised 35mm on the GreenLine version while additional panels are fitted under the chassis to improve airflow and suspension lowered 15mm to increase fuel efficiency. The Fabia comes with a two-year unlimited mileage factory warranty, plus a third year valid until the car completes 60,000 miles. Additionally, coverage includes a 12-year anti-perforation warranty and a 3-year paint warranty, meaning you should not have much to worry about.

Safety & Security Safety & Security - 4 stars

Remote central locking and ABS comes as standard on this model plus driver, passenger and side airbags to offer suitable protection for all the family. Optional extras include alarm, curtain airbags and rear parking sensors fitted to this model at a cost of £700. It is worth noting that no spare tyre is included in the GreenLine version as a weight saving measure to keep emissions down, however a tyre repair kit is supplied as standard. Euro NCAP rate the Fabia at four stars for adult occupant protection and three stars for child protection.

Space & Practicality Space & Practicality - 5 stars

The Fabia GreenLine shares the same underpinnings as the Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion and SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive, while not as green as the other two at 109g/km of C02 compared to the 99g/km CO2 produced by its rivals, the estate offers more internal space plus it beats the Polo on price too. Although the estate version is not much bigger than the hatchback, the smart use of internal space allows the Fabia to feel a lot bigger than it is. Additional boot space is the only change offered by the Estate version over the hatch, but with the seats down, the estate has a boot capacity of a generous 1460 litres. Headroom in the Fabia is more generous than its two rivals, while overall length of the Fabia Estate comes in at 4239mm compared to 4052mm in the SEAT Ibiza and 3916mm in the Polo Bluemotion making it by far the most family friendly. The Fabia estate offers plenty of legroom for all passengers plus ample luggage space for those weekend getaways.

Ownership & Value Ownership & Value - 5 stars

The Skoda Fabia Estate fills a unique niche market, offering genuinely decent space, at a sensible price and with unbeatable eco-credentials. While the MINI Clubman is technically the greenest estate on the market, it offers nothing like the space and function of the Fabia and is more expensive although it does offer more kit as standard. But if you want a reliable, no-nonsense and spacious vehicle, you would be hard-pressed to beat the Fabia Estate at a starting price of £9,625. If you opt for the GreenLine version, prices start from £12,790. With combined mpg of 68.9 and insurance group 3E, the Fabia GreenLine will keep the bills down too. Skoda tell us that over the course of 10,000 miles, the Fabia GreenLine will produce 1,740kg of CO2 compared to 1,920kg for the standard Fabia 2 1.4 TDI, a 180kg saving of CO2 equivalent to leaving a 100 watt light bulb on continuously for two and a half months.

Performance Performance - 3 stars

The 1.4 tdi engine pulls reasonably well throughout the rev range and is comfortable both on the motorway and B-roads. This engine would compare favourably to the 1.4 litre petrol engine which finds it’s power further up the rev range. There are limits to the power on offer obviously but far more is achieved in terms of performance than should be viable with such an economically attractive car.

Ride & Handling Ride & Handling - 3 stars

The ride is pretty firm and the handling is a little sharp at times. This may be down to the adjustments made to make this particular Fabia as green as it is , such as the low resistance tyres.

Build Quality & Reliability Build Quality & Reliability - 3 stars

It is apparent that the Skoda is not in the same league as it’s stablemate VW in terms of the quality of the interior and the way the vehicle is put together. The Fabia Greenline was pretty noisy at most speeds and thhe engine emitted a loud diesel clatter. This again is probably the result of sound proofing being removed from the car to save weight but it does have an impact on the driver experience. The plastics used aren’t great. With all this in mind though it is important to appreciate that the Skoda Fabia is pitched lower than the VW Polo in terms of price.

Safety & Security Safety & Security - 3 stars

The vehicle feels quite light but is sound in terms of security and safety.

Space & Practicality Space & Practicality - 4 stars

Fairly generous space in this vehicle, it is perhaps not appropriate to call it a genuine estate car but it does make a sensible alternative to a regular hatchback.

Ownership & Value Ownership & Value - 4 stars

Very high value motoring in terms of running costs and original purchase price. You get all the essential nuts and bolts from VW if very little of the finer touches. The engine is also the same unit as in the VW Polo Bluemotion.

Performance Performance - 3 stars

Hidden away under the bonnet of the Fabia Estate is a 1.4TDI engine capable of 80bhp and while noisy (more of that later) it performs well, capable of hitting 105mph with a 0-62mph time of 13.7 seconds and gives enough performance to not feel particularly green nor gutless. The engineers have worked on the gearing ratios to improve its green performance and these take some time to get used to, specifically the fourth gear ratio. Standard urban driving at 30mph fourth gear is not suitable, which goes against what your natural inclination is telling you – it’s more a case of reengineering your driving style to suit the car, in time you learn to keep the car in third for 30mph driving. Skoda has managed to reduce the cars CO2 emissions to a lowly 109g/km which puts it firmly in the B category of Vehicle Excise Duty, which is an impressive statistic for an estate car - impressive just not that exciting.

Ride & Handling Ride & Handling - 4 stars

The Fabia Estate is a car full of surprises – outwardly the car looks a little safe and dull, however it is surprisingly responsive behind the wheel, with neither under nor over steer evident when cornering. A common complaint levied at green versions of the many cars is that the manufacturers compromise traction and grip with the choice of tyres to wring out as much fuel efficiency as possible – this is not the case with the Fabia Greenline with the 14” ‘fun’ alloys fitted as standard providing plenty of traction and grip even in typical Monsoon-like Manchester weather conditions!

Build Quality & Reliability Build Quality & Reliability - 4 stars

The old school view of Skoda’s being cheap and nasty has long since died, with a plethora of awards and large numbers of sales; Skoda is now a well respected, strong brand where particular attention is given to the build quality and reliability. The Fabia is a close cousin to the VW Polo and the bodywork and build of the car is impressive with robust materials used and reassuring clunks and thuds when closing doors and boots. Unfortunately inside the car, the plastics and colours used appear to have leeched away all colour! Bland greys dominate; as a result the interiors suffer from a wishy-washy appearance which is a pity. As mentioned earlier one area of concern is engine noise which can be pretty loud, this is probably down to the remove of ‘excess’ sound proofing to reduce weight, a necessary evil in most carmakers attempts at improving fuel efficiency – just turn the volume up on the radio to compensate!

Safety & Security Safety & Security - 3 stars

The Fabia family of cars have been designed to withstand substantial impacts in the event of a crash, and during Euro NCAP testing the car performed well – with four stars given for Adult protection and three stars dished out for child protection. You can expect immobiliser and alarm as standard across the range. With Skoda’s strong build quality reputation you can expect the core shell of the car to be well designed and capable of withstanding an impact.

Space & Practicality Space & Practicality - 5 stars

One of the real unique selling points of the Skoda Fabia Greenline is that at the moment the competition is small in the eco-friendly estate segment with only the Ford Focus Econetic Estate and Peugeot 207 SW serious contenders. If you look at the comparative boot sizes between the three models, Skoda fits snugly between the two at 1460 litres with the back seats down (the Focus estate has 1525 litres) however the Skoda’s OTR price is substantially less than both the Peugeot and Ford – so bags of room for your bags!

Ownership & Value Ownership & Value - 5 stars

Whichever way you look at the sums the Fabia Greenline stacks up if you’re in the market for a value-for-money estate with low running costs. It’s substantially cheaper off the forecourt than its main rivals and with its combined fuel economy topping 68mpg you can expect the trip to the petrol station to be surprisingly infrequent, all good news for cash conscience consumers, and for business users looking to minimise fuel costs. With Vehicle Excise Duty changing seemingly ever year you can buy in confidence knowing that 109g/km will remain cheap to tax for the life of the car. Skoda offers an industry standard 3 year warranty (or 60,000 miles which ever comes first) on all new Skoda Fabia Greenline’s. Overall, probably the best eco-friendly estate car currently on the market, just not that exciting, but hey who cares?!

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