Using our site means you agree to the use of cookies and other technologies. Our cookie policy.

Is the Skoda Fabia a good first car for new drivers?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 1 year ago

4 min read

  • Advice
  • Skoda
  • good
  • reliability

WhoCanFixMyCar discusses whether the Skoda Fabia is a good first car based on running costs, maintenance costs and reliability

The Skoda Fabia was first released in 1999 as the successor of the Skoda Felicia. Now in its fourth generation, this popular supermini has earned a reputation for being spacious, reliable and affordable - three qualities that are important in a good first car. 

But just how good is the Fabia when it comes to running and maintenance costs? Is it a good investment for first-time buyers? Read on to find out.

Skoda Fabia features and benefits for new drivers

Let’s take a closer look at the two most recent generations of the Fabia.

Third generation Skoda Fabia (2014-2021)

  • 17% more efficient on average than second gen Fabias

  • Available in five trim levels: S, SE, Colour Edition, Monte Carlo and SE-L

  • Choose from three engines with six different variants

  • 0-60mph in <11 seconds

  • Lots of standard equipment ensures high residual value


Fourth generation Skoda Fabia (2021-present)

  • Five MPI and TSI platforms ranging from 65bhp to 109bhp

  • Only petrol engines

  • Virtual cockpit

  • Four trim levels: Monte Carlo, SE-L, Colour Edition and SE Comfort

  • 0-62mph in 15 seconds

Skoda Fabia running costs

For most first-time car buyers - especially young drivers - low running costs are particularly important. 

Fortunately, the Fabia is designed to be a budget car, so most models come with relatively low insurance and tax costs. The fuel economy of the Fabia is decent, with the most recent generation doing particularly well.

Third generation

  • Fuel economy - 49.1mpg average

  • Insurance groups - 1-18 

  • Tax bands - A to G (£0 to £165/year)

Fourth generation

  • Fuel economy - 50-55mpg

  • Insurance groups - 2-19

  • Tax bands - G to H (£165/year)

Skoda Fabia maintenance costs

Maintenance costs soon add up, which is why it’s important to factor them into your decision when it comes to buying a car. Annual maintenance costs typically include an MOT, a full or interim service, an aircon regas and potentially an oil change.

Maintenance TypeAverage CostFabia Average Cost
Full Service£176.17£169.35
Interim Service£114.60£103.99
Aircon Regas£67.06£67.04
Oil Change£82.39£76.46

As you can see, the Fabia is cheaper than average in four out of five maintenance categories.

Are Skoda Fabias reliable? - recalls and repair costs

The third generation Skoda Fabia (2014-2021) finished 15th in the city and small car category of WhatCar?’s reliability survey with an impressive score of 92%. 

In the most recent survey, Skoda finished in 12th place out of 30 manufacturers, which bodes well for the fourth generation Fabia, but only time will tell whether it lives up to the excellent reputation of its predecessor.


Skoda Fabia common faults

There are some commonly reported faults you should be aware of:

  • DSG automatic gearbox - can be overly jumpy when shifting gears

  • Driver’s airbag - the driver’s side airbag of certain models might not deploy fast enough (affected vehicles have been recalled)

Skoda Fabia recalls

Date of RecallReason
01/12/2021Right rear seat backrest frame has reduced strength
05/03/2019Airbag might not inflate quickly enough
05/12/2014Fuel may leak
03/07/2007Incorrect curtain airbag may activate
17/02/2005Bolts of the tandem fuel pump cover may break
11/05/2001Passenger airbag concern

Skoda Fabia repair costs

According to WhoCanFixMyCar data from 2021, the six most popular repair jobs for the Skoda Fabia are: cambelt and water pump, clutch replacement, front pads and discs, front pads, front and rear pads and discs, and puncture repair.

RepairAverage CostFabia Average Cost
Cambelt and Water Pump£397.09£389.58
Clutch Replacement£522.93£438.90
Front Pads and Discs£210.25£169.47
Front Pads£94.61£79.94
Front and Rear Pads and Discs£414.17£295.09
Puncture Repair£20.75£20.37

The Fabia is cheaper in all of the above categories, showing that overall it has low repair costs compared to average. Some additional average repair costs are included below.

RepairAverage CostFabia Average Cost
Alternator Repair£329.10£234.28
Battery Replacement£169.70£148.31
Engine Management Light£59.41£57.21
Wheel Bearing£236.85£184.41

Is the Skoda Fabia a good first car?

Not only is the Fabia more affordable to buy than its rivals like the VW Polo, it also has considerably lower than average maintenance and repair costs, which, combined with its high reliability score, make it a very good choice for a first car.

This is particularly true if you’re looking for a city car that will get you from A to B on short journeys without any trouble. Due to the Fabia’s relatively low horsepower and the fact that the fourth generation can’t be bought with a diesel engine, it isn’t the best choice for people who tend to drive longer distances regularly. 

If you’re thinking about buying a new Fabia, it’s worth noting that Skoda’s standard warranty is better than most, offering two years with unlimited mileage and a third year of warranty up to 60,000 miles. Additionally, there is a 12 year body protection warranty on all new Skodas.

The advantages of buying a small car like the Skoda Fabia

  • Better fuel economy than larger vehicles

  • Less expensive

  • Easier to park/manoeuvre 

  • More reliable

  • Lower road tax

  • Low insurance costs


Which is the best Skoda Fabia engine?

In our opinion, the best engine is the 108bhp 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine. It isn’t a world beater, but it's well suited to the Fabia’s purpose which is undoubtedly comfort over high performance. 

Is the Skoda Fabia good on motorways?

The fourth generation Fabia is a pleasure to drive on motorways thanks to its smooth engine and generous suspension. It feels very stable even on rough roads and the engine is pretty quiet as well. 

The only issue is that the fourth generation doesn’t come with the option of a diesel engine, which would undoubtedly be better suited to long journeys on motorways. 

Is the Skoda Fabia similar to the VW Polo?

Volkswagen and Skoda are both part of the VAG group, so naturally they share a lot of similarities under the bonnet. Their engines are almost identical, and the difference in performance between the two is negligible. 

The key differences, then, can be found on the outside and in the cabin. Skoda has a better reputation for reliability than Volkswagen, but the former manufacturer focuses on budget, whereas the latter has a reputation for being more stylish. 


Here's how the two cheapest versions of each model compare.

Polo LifeFabia SE Comfort
Price From£18,855£17,800.00
Engines3 petrol4 petrol
0-62mph15.5 seconds15.5 seconds
Max speed116mph111mph

Enjoyed reading this article? There's more where that came from! 👇