• Fabia
      • Fabia Hatch
        Fabia Hatch from  20,990
        A small car with plenty of attitude
        • ​Smartphone connectivity via SmartLink
        • ​New, fresh interior concept
        • ​The next step in ŠKODA’s design concept
        • till305l /1125l
        • from4.7l/100km
        • from107g/km
      • Fabia Wagon
        Fabia Wagon from  27,390
        Your partner for every situation
        • Powerful and efficient 81kW engines
        • Curtain airbags & 5 Star NCAP rating
        • ​Up to 1,370 litres of boot space
        • till505l /1370l
        • from4.8l/100km
        • from110g/km
  • Rapid
      • Rapid Spaceback
        Rapid Spaceback from  28,490
        Small on the outside. Large on the inside
        •    Sporty freshness and dynamic elegance
        •    Panoramic glass roof and prolonged rear window
        •    A spacious, attractive interior and boot space
        • till384l /1349l
        • from4.6l/100km
        • from119g/km
  • Octavia
      • Octavia
        Octavia from  35,990
        Business pleasure
        • ​​Clear, precise and timeless design
        • ​Innovative comfort and driver assistance systems
        • Powerful and efficient engines​
        • till590l /1580l
        • from3.9l/100km
        • from4g/km
      • Octavia RS
        Octavia RS from  48,990
        The fastest Octavia ever
        • Top speed 250 km/h​
        • 2.0 TSI/169 kW and 2.0 TDI/135 engines​
        • Sporty, roomy, fuctional in perfect balance
        • till590l /1580l
        • from5.1l/100km
        • from134g/km
      • Octavia Wagon
        Octavia Wagon from  37,990
        Business pleasure
        • ​​Class-leading ​legroom and 610 litres of luggage space
        • ​Wide range of 'Simply Clever' solutions
        • Innovative safety, comfort and driver assistant systems​
        • till610l /1740l
        • from4l/100km
        • from103g/km
      • Octavia Scout
        Octavia Scout from  45,890
        A rugged off-roader with supreme handling in harsh conditions
        • Rough road package for under-body protection
        • 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating
        • Available in 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TDI engines
        • till588l /1718l
        • from5.1l/100km
        • from121g/km
      • Octavia RS Wagon
        Octavia RS Wagon from  50,890
        Racing power and a sporty interior in a practical car
        • Innovative progressive steering
        • 2.0 TSI/169​ kW and 2.0 TDI/135 kW engines
        • Sporty, roomy and functional - all in perfect balance
        • till610l /1740l
        • from5.1l/100km
        • from134g/km
  • Karoq
      • Karoq
        Karoq
        The new compact SUV with character
        • ​Full LED headlights and a digital instrument panel
        • ​Off-road mode, state-of-the-art technology
        • Spacious and variable interior thanks to VarioFlex rear seats
        • till521l /1630l
  • Superb
      • Superb Sedan
        Superb Sedan from  47,490
        The best space and comfort in its class
        • ​A spacious giant with the largest interior and boot of its class
        • ​ Powerful yet thrifty engines up to 206kW
        • ​Many innovative safety and comfort assist systems
        • till584l /1719l
        • from4.9l/100km
        • from129g/km
      • Superb Wagon
        Superb Wagon from  50,490
        Exceptionally elegant and spacious with advanced technology
        • ​ The most spacious, luxurious ŠKODA yet
        • ​New-generation, low emission TSI and TDI engines
        • ​Maximum comfort with the Dynamic Chassis Control
        • till619l /1909l
        • from5.8l/100km
        • from130g/km
  • Kodiaq
      • Kodiaq
        Kodiaq from  39,990
        Kodiaq
        • ​Our first car to offer seven seats
        • ​Design, space, functionality and connectivity​​ combined
        • Best large SUV - WhatCar? Car of the Year 2017 awards​
        • till2005l /2005l
        • from5.7l/100km
        • from149g/km

Best little hauler in the west

​​Written By Kyle Cassidy for the magazine NZ Autocar.
​Last year, we quite liked the new Skoda Fabia, naming t our pick in the sub- $30k _ class. Its mix of I entertaining handling I marries well with ^ ^ the turbocharged petrol and twin-clutch transmission powertrain, providing both frugal running or a turn of (relative) speed for whatever the occasion.

And the Fabia looks much better too, almost handsome, along with being good value.

Now there's a further variant in the wagon. An estate of this size is a rarity. In fact, there are no direct rivals as such, and so Skoda pretty much owns this space; the Fabia Wagon is said to be the world's best selling mini hauler. The only other sub-$30k wagon on the New Zealand market is the Corolla, coming in at $28,990 for a manual. When we checked the price of the CVT version on the Toyota website, we noted it currently listed with a promotional price knocking $4000 off the tag to exactly match the Fabia at $26,990. Toyota clearly sees the wee Skoda wagon as a threat, and is protecting its patch in the cheap and cheerful wagon market. Not that the Corolla wagon is particularly cheerful with its 80kW/136Nm 1.5-litre matched to a CVT. It's memorable for how happy we were to give it back.

The Fabia wagon, however, was something we actually took a shine to. The little 'load hauler' is 265mm longer than the hatch, all of that added to the rear end creating a pretty impressive cargo hold. But then it is a Skoda, and big interior space is its thing. The quoted cargo volume is 505L, 200 more than the hatch, and 98L more than the Corolla. It's a well shaped hold, with reasonable width and good height. The back seat folds 60/40 and while the extended load space isn't quite flat there are handy storage bins found behind the wheel arches for smaller loads, like bags of groceries, and plenty of little hooks as well. So it works nicely as a wagon. And there's pretty okay room in the rear with good headspace.

While the seat is a little upright, the leg room is certainly adequate.

The wagon costs $2000 more than the 81kW hatch at $26,990 and

mirrors its specification. Recapping, the engine is a 1.2 turbopetrol with 81kW, and 175Nmfrom 1400rpm matched with a seven-speed twin-clutch. This makes short work of commuting, the low-end torque getting the job done easily. At times, it can take a moment to marshal the Newts but it's usually because the transmission is deciding whether second gear is right for the job. Ideally, it would just slot first and get things moving.

Usually selecting Sport mode, which is a simple pull of the lever away, sorts this. And it's the way to go whenever the road turns interesting, ensuring the 1.2 delivers its best. It does okay out and about considering its modest capacity, but you do have to pick your moments for overtaking. It's good at maintaining speed through the curves though - 215-cross section Potenzas see to that - as does a decent chassis that's keen on a few bends.

The electric steering guides it accurately with enough feedback to keep it tidy, especially helpful in the wet. There's the usual play from the rear-end with its torsion beam set-up, but it's generally well behaved, and the ride is acceptable too. Expect fuel use in the five litre per 100km range for highway cruising, eights in town and high sixes overall.

The quoted average is 4.8L/ 100km.

It's a fairly basic fitout but it does the trick with the usual safety collateral, auto wipers and lights, manual air and cloth trim. It may be simple but it's easy to use, like it always used to be. Even the infotainment system, which is fairly basic, works well. About the only thing lacking is a reversing camera, which should be standard on all models, especially given the rear view out of the Fabia wagon isn't particularly great. At least it has rear sensors. While this end of the market is particularly price sensitive, it's noted that autonomous emergency braking is a $600 option. Hard plastics are common in the cabin but the seats are worthy, the storage is tops and it's all put together rather well.

As for the looks, it's better than the old one but the proportions aren't as well executed as in the hatch. And if looks and rear passenger space are important, perhaps try the Rapid Spaceback, which is probably the wagon's biggest threat, although it is pricier ($28,490). But as a work wagon, you could do a lot worse (the alternative rhymes with ebola dragon) and in some instances it could even do the same job as the Octavia wagon while saving you $10k. -Kyle Cassidy EC


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