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Skoda Fabia Estate 1.9 TDi Car Review | January 25, 2008

Driven August 2008

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Except in the field of ambitious cake-making, Skoda never tries too hard. Which is refreshing in a world where futile wheel reinvention is the obsession.

So, rather than trying to fashion a utility off-road speedster with seven seats and a hybrid fuel-cell, Skoda gives us a Really Good Little Estate Car powered by a tidy, refined diesel engine. It is unamazing to look at, true, but then again it's so understated it's virtually invisible. Neither thieves nor police officers will nick it.

And all the boxes that matter in this market get a big, fact tick. The engine is placid and unstressed, balancing the promise of 40-plus mpg against a willing nature, and the ride quality and noise refinement are as good as anything for this money.

Most pleasingly of all, the wafty light steering of the Roomster is tightened up, making a surer connection between palms and road. Sadly, the mushy five-speed shifter undoes any suggestion of friskiness, but let's not kid ourselves.

What matters is that the interior plastics look undisposable, the seats (though a hideous blue colour) are exactly good enough and there's space for people with legs in the back. There's also space for their luggage, their children's luggage and their children's friend's dog's luggage. It's big in there. Both big and small. A brilliant car.

Greg Fountain

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