Engine / Performance: Performance isn't the right word for this car, however, the engine does have a gruff growley sound when pushed, it's just a shame the car doesn't accellerate in the same way as it sounds. When idle the engine has a wobbley character about it that wobbles the car, this is especially noticable when stopped at traffic lights (most likely due to the 3 cylinder engine). The engine is adequate to set off from lights in a nippy enough way, and keeps up with traffic.
Handling and Driving: The biggest problem I found when driving this car was the general feeling that I was driving a van - the car seems to tower over similar class cars, and you can't see the front of the car. There seemed to be little feedback from the steering or wheels. The car has a light steering and a light clutch so is easy to drive.
Interior and space: Suprisingly spacious - seemed more spacious inside than the MK1 Octavia - makes me wonder why cars are different sizes when the insides always seem the same - ie they almost always easily fit 4 people in them. ISOFIX as standard in rear - large car seats and toddlers fit with space for their feet, even with a 6foot tall person in the front. Unfortunately the front passenger seat isn't adjustable for height. The interior ceiling is high with lots of head room.
Sound System: This was probably the base model (Fabia 1) as it only had speakers in the front - but these sounded suprisingly capable with good bass and treble. The CD unit is the same that is in the VW Golf, with seperate treble, mid, bass controls and loudness settings and radio text, so was quite impressive, however there was only AUX in (next to the handbrake), and no USB in.
Other things: Doesn't seem to have a temperature guage on the display - how do you know when the engine's at normal running temperature? ISOFIX labelled up nicely, but one of the fixings is inbetween the seat belt sockets (which could be a little awkward). Full size spare wheel provided (Bridgestone) - cars go on about safety and 5 star euroncap ratings, and then provide a space saver spare wheel which in my opinion makes the car unsafe! AC provided, ands works well.
Overall: Priced at around £9.5k, and considering it's a nice enough car, but nothing particularly stands out about it, I'd be considering a KIA Ceed or Hyundai i30 for a similar price, especially as these come with 7 or 5 year warranties. But I suppose if you want a "smaller" car from a quality "budget" manufacturer then it could be a good choice.
More pics: (click to embiggen)