Today’s motorists don’t need to compromise on practicality when choosing their next supermini. Manufacturers know that buyers of these small cars still want space in the cabin and make this a key feature during the design process. ŠKODA takes things a step further by offering an estate version of its compact Fabia, but how does it compare with rivals? Auto Express pitched the vehicle against the latest-generation Nissan Note to find out.
In five-seat guise the Fabia Estate pips the Note to the post with its 530-litre boot capacity – 119 litres more than its competitor. However, both offer the flexibility to fold the rear bench flat and when you do so the Note’s total cargo capacity grows to 1,495 litres, 100 litres more than the ŠKODA. What’s more, with this configuration the Note’s load area is completely flat but for the same convenience the Fabia Estate ŠKODA asks you to purchase the optional variable boot floor.
Practicality and convenience go hand in hand when it comes to vehicle design, so which of the models triumphed in this area? As Auto Express explains they each arrive with a touchscreen infotainment system, and where the Note includes satellite navigation as standard the Fabia Estate requires users to access the function via their connected smartphones. This MirrorLink software is joined by SmartGate which uses a WiFi connection to send vehicle information to your chosen device.
Both cars offer audio streaming from devices and USB connectivity to link up an external music player, but the Fabia Estate’s overall system feels that bit more sophisticated next to the Note’s dated display.
Engines and running costs
Running costs are a major selling point for any vehicle, particularly in the supermini segment which typically features refined, low-capacity engines. The vehicles tested were both fitted with a diesel engine, and the Fabia’s 1.4-litre TDI featured three cylinders to the Note’s 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit. ŠKODA’s offering returns an impressive 83.1mpg combined and emits only 94g/km of CO2. Meanwhile the Note achieves up to 80.7mpg with 90g/km. Similar output then, but over the car’s lifetime the Fabia Estate will generate better savings if driven carefully.
Overall, the Fabia Estate has the better of the Note where it matters. The Czech model boasts a larger boot when you need to carry four passengers, and its infotainment system feels more slick and intuitive as you move between functions. It also surpasses the Note for efficiency which could make all the difference for buyers who are on the fence.
Speak to Johnsons ŠKODA to find out more about the new Fabia Estate and to experience it for yourself