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Maree ASKED THE GUIDE

Does the Skoda Fabia have any known issues?

I am looking for a fuel-efficient used car. I am interested in the Skoda Fabia 2012 to 2014, but I hear they have recurrent electrical problems. I have a friend who owns one and has had no problem. Should I avoid buying due to electrical problems?

My other option is a Subaru XV, which isn't as fuel efficient but seems to have fewer poor reviews.

As part of the Volkswagen family, Skoda cars suffer from the same reliability cloud hanging over them in terms of transmission and electrical problems. The era of Skoda you’re shopping for was also one of the most problematic for such maladies, too, so just because your friend’s car has been perfect, doesn’t mean the next one will behave the same.

The Subaru XV is generally regarded as a more reliable long-term prospect but you’re right in suspecting that it will use a little more fuel. Depending on what engine the Fabia is fitted with, the official combined fuel consumption can be as low as 5.3 litres per 100km, while the XV’s will be anything from 7.0 litres and up. That’s mainly to do with the Subaru’s all-wheel-drive which makes the car heavier and requires more fuel to overcome the drag and friction of driving twice as many wheels and axles.

The pay-off is in the superb grip offered by the Subaru’s all-wheel-drive which gives it an active safety edge over two-wheel-drive cars on less than perfect surfaces. However, if fuel efficiency is your holy grail, then a Subaru might be a disappointment.

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