Ford Fiesta vs Skoda Fabia

28 August 2015
 by 
, CarsGuide
Ford Fiesta and Skoda Fabia go head to head in this comparative review.

Value

Ford Fiesta Trend

from $17,825

Buyers will need $2000 to upgrade the Trend's manual transmission to a six-speed auto, which puts it perilously close to the newer Skoda. If you're happy with the five-speed manual, though, a national deal has the Trend at $17,990 on the road. There's a three-year warranty and capped price servicing will cost $705 for the first three visits, which are every 12 months/15,000km.

Skoda Fabia 81 TSI

from $20,290

A seven-speed dual-clutch auto is a standard inclusion for the $20,290 starting price, on a par with its European rivals. The warranty matches the Ford but the 12 months/15,000km services run to $1177 for the first three visits. Finance the car with Skoda and $1799 adds servicing for the first three years, five-year warranty and guaranteed buyback price.

Ford Fiesta Trend

Design/Tech

The Fiesta is a smartly styled car and looks the goods from most exterior angles. It looks positively dated inside, highlighted by the 3.5-inch central display mounted in the top of the dash. The rear seats are as supportive as a park bench and headroom and legroom will be a struggle for full-size bodies. The Trend rolls on 15-inch alloy wheels and is fitted with cruise control and front fog lights.

Skoda Fabia 81 TSI

Design/Tech

Skoda is adding form to function and the Fabia no longer looks dowdy, inside or out. The outer pews in the back have a semi-scallop in the base to help avoid sliding. The 6.5-inch touchscreen is linked to six speakers and rear parking sensors are standard. The 305L boot just edges the Ford and is fitted with pockets and a mesh hoop to hold small grocery bags.

Technology

Ford Fiesta Trend

Engine

A 1.5-litre four-cylinder mill is good for 82kW/140Nm and, being naturally aspirated, requires revs on board before it starts to sing. It is a tractable, smooth-sounding powerplant but buyers wanting more go need to turn their attention to the more expensive 1.0-litre three-cylinder in the Fiesta Sport. Fuel use is a claimed 5.8L/100km overall and 7.7L around town.

Skoda Fabia 81 TSI

Engine

Look under the bonnet and there's a diminutive 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo with 81kW/175Nm. Peak torque is on tap from just 1400rpm to give the Fabia a solid kick off the line, once the dual-clutch indulges in its initial hesitation. Official fuel use is a frugal 4.8L/100km or 5.9L in urban running but the Fabia needs 95RON petrol.

Safety

Ford Fiesta Trend

Seven airbags and a solid five-star ANCAP safety rating show Ford isn't mucking around with passive safety. That's the good news. The bad is there's no reversing camera or rear parking sensors. That might've been OK when the facelifted Fiesta launched in 2013 but the omission of both looks prehistoric against the best-in-class vehicles now on sale.

Skoda Fabia 81 TSI

City speed autonomous braking is the Fabia's headline trick and it's backed by six airbags and a five-star crash rating if things do go wrong. Sadly, the Fabia also misses out on a reversing camera but it does at least have rear parking sensors with an "optical display" to show how close the rear end is to other objects.

Driving

Ford Fiesta Trend

The sweet-handling Fiesta performs well whether it is hitting speed bumps or highway speed limits. The steering has some play on dead centre but comes alive as soon as the tiller is turned. Ignore the generation-old interior and it isn't hard to appreciate the Fiesta for being an admirable all-purpose vehicle. Manual and auto transmissions alike do the job without being wonders.

Skoda Fabia 81 TSI

Refined best describes the Fabia's ride. It punts along as an enjoyable ride around town but sits reasonably flat in the twisties and the auto blips up and down the cogs to keep it revving in the sweet spot. It is a big step up for Skoda and a warning shot across the nose of the Asian brigade that dominates this class.

Verdict

Ford Fiesta Trend

17.5/25

Better luck
next time :(

Skoda Fabia 81 TSI

20/25

Winner winner
chicken dinner!

The Fabia isn't quite fabulous but it is a fun and functional car that earns its win here in all areas.

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