A new Skoda Fabia hatchback and wagon range offers Volkswagen engineering and quality at value prices, writes Chris Nixon.

From $15,990 drive-away, the 1.2 litre turbocharged Fabia is right in the price ballpark for light-car buyers.

List prices excluding on-road costs are higher for the VW Polo, Hyundai Accent or Renault Clio. The Suzuki Swift, Kia Rio, Mazda2, Ford Fiesta or Honda Jazz, have equal or lower list prices
but the buyer must add hundreds at the showroom for what Skoda provides free for now.

The delightful Fabia resembles the previous model but looks more grown-up. As a product of the Volkswagen family and close cousin of the Polo, unsurprisingly it offers good-quality finish and equipment, now including automatic city emergency braking, engine idle-stop and the ability to access smartphone features through Apply Car Play or Android Auto.

Top this up with optional fatigue detection, navigation sports suspension, cruise control and other features.

Choose a 66 kiloWatt engine with five-speed manual or 88kW version with seven-speed auto. Although the 88TSI is superior on paper and faster, I enjoyed the lively 66TSI much more during an introductory test drive.

The 66TSI Fabia wagon is particularly tempting. It’s the only wagon in the light-car class, looks good, is genuinely spacious and you can drive it away for an extraordinary $17,140.