In our annual motoring feature, leading manufacturers and dealers put forward their contenders for the challenge of best in class. express reviews and gives a gay perspective on this new model. The vehicle is at, or near, the top of its class, whether that be in terms of value for money, appearance, performance or sheer desirability!

A fun load carrier with persona!

Looking around town you could miss them driving everywhere. The Fabia 1.2TSI Wagon Sport tested here is the second best-selling model behind the ubiquitous Octavia in Skoda New Zealand’s range for very good reason.

The estate version is a bang-on two pint sized 1.2l turbo engine 81Kw cutie that has an enormous load capacity without looking overtly oversized from the outside. The engine, despite being a flyweight in size, packs a reasonable and rather fun mid-range punch as the turbo spools up and down as you weave your way through traffic. Skoda claims a consumption figure of 4.8l/100km meaning it’s no heavy drinker, more of a gentle sipper, but I have a feeling you won’t be having so much fun if you are targeting the teetotaller. It comes with the new 7 speed DSG gearbox, which gives faster response, gear changes and fuel efficiency. Compared with the only direct competitor in NZ, the Corolla Wagon, the Skoda is light years ahead in all the technological bits.


Hop inside and you can see where they have shaved off the costs in specification against its bigger brother models or indeed other VAG group products. But get this, it’s what they have left behind that makes the statement. A good sized touch screen shares the same menu platform as the rest in the range, parking sensors, rear camera and the seemingly more standardised USB connectivity plus Apple Car Play & Android Auto are all included. What these applications allow you to do is pair your phone with the cars infotainment system and to use your phones functions and apps via the cars touchscreen. Keep and dig through your favourite music that suits the mood for the drive ahead. Nice. Note also the Sport version of the Fabia has an uprated sound system.

Speaking of green, the Fabia rocks on with a start/stop function at the lights, making for an altogether soothing silent time while you wait for the green light. A neat and simple feature is the Energy Recovery that charges the battery whilst braking, saving fuel and carbon emissions. Safety-wise the Fabia holds strong with virtually all the modern features from ABS, skid control, hill hold control and one I like personally is the flashing brake lights, helpful when someone pulls out in front requiring a judicious use of the brake pedal whilst checking the tailgater in the rear view mirror. The Sport version is dressed up with coloured mag wheels and the option of a two-toned paint job. LED daytime driving lights also feature while inside the unique sports seats are great for holding you in place while you take advantage of the Fabia Sports road-holding capabilities.

Overall the Fabia is a really cost efficient flexible fun wagon with bags of room and a cheerful persona that allows you to tap your personality into the drive using its connectivity features. It will challenge the need to buy from a more prestigious brand for what the car offers for the price.

Vehicle supplied by GILTRAP SKODA