The Skoda Fabia Elegance 1.4 16-valve is great value for money.
The 16-valve petrol engine develops 100bhp giving a 0 to 60 time of around 11 seconds - less powerful engines take an agonizing 17 seconds to reach 60mph. But a major drawback is the throttle-lag as you pull away from rest at junctions and roundabouts. Nippy it isn't. This may be down to the drive by wire throttle control: put your foot down from rest and the response is unpredictable - it may pull away smoothly or it may stagger sluggishly for a few seconds, which, if you're trying to nip out onto a busy road, can be embarrassing at best and dangerous at worst.
Once moving, the Fabia drives smoothly with the feel of a much larger car. It drives well on motorways with little noise reaching the cabin from outside.
Outside, the car is much like any other new small hatchback - high-sided and pretty bland. The interior is worse: dull and lifeless with much plastic.
Seats, though very adjustable, are also very firm, and, on one occasion, the belt-loop on the back of my jeans was forced painfully into my back, making finding a comfortable driving position very difficult. I found this odd: something I hadn't experienced before on any other car.
Rearward vision through the rear screen is compromised by the high head-rests on the rear seat - I've removed them and the view is much better. This may be one reason why a parking sensor is an option on this model, but the door mirrors are large and give a good rear-view, largely compensating for the restricted view through the rear window.
I bought the car because of the high ratings it has received in the motoring press, plus the local dealer runs a friendly and reliable operation, but I'm finding adjusting to the blandness of the Fabia difficult after my previous Ford Ka Millennium and my current other car - a Peugeot 306. Maybe I'll get used to it in time.