Skoda is one of the world’s five oldest car manufacturers and in five years time it will be celebrating its 125th birthday.

The company founders Václav Laurin and Václav Klement laid the foundations for Skoda’s rise to become an internationally successful car manufacturer in December 1895 and after the repair and production of bicycles began in the central Bohemian town of Mladá Boleslav the first automobile, the Voiturette A, made its debut in1905. 

It quickly proved to be a high-quality everyday vehicle with an excellent price-performance ratio. L&K comprehensively expanded its model range and soon also offered high-performance sports and commercial vehicles that would win over drivers around the world. 115 years later, the automobile manufacturer is active in more than 100 markets, delivering 1.24 million vehicles to customers worldwide every year.

And talking about birthdays the Skoda Fabia will come of his age this year with its 21st birthday.

It first hit the road in 1999, taking over from the Felicia which was discontinued a couple of years later, and within 12 months it was What’s Car? Car of the Year. The third generation was launched in 2015 and in 2018 there was a substantial facelift.

The part of the success of the Fabia is that the majority of parts comes from VW, the parent company. But now it is up against 30 small car rivals in the toughest contested segment in the industry and for value for money it is the number one.

It is a great car on the roads; good for nippy driving; easy to park and generally fun to be in.

There is a good choice of engines and trim levels and it is cheaper than a Ford Fiesta, Seat Ibiza or a VW Polo. The last facelift added new safety equipment and bits of pieces which make it a winner through and through if you are looking for a smaller car.

The experts say the best of the engines is the 1.0 TSI 95 turbocharged petrol as it pulls easily from low revs, dashes easily around town while no problems on any of the roads.

The 1.0 MPI 60 petrol engine that kicks off the range is just about adequate around town, but you’ll find its shortage of oomph frustrating on faster roads.

I had the 1.0 TSI turbocharged engine in the Fabia Hatch Monte Carlo which is the top of the range and with all the kit it will set you back £18,780.

You will easily get 50 miles to the gallon and the top speed is 115mph which is more than enough. Acceleration is 0-60mph in just over ten seconds.

There’s also plenty of grip and you can still corner easily an firmly without worrying about falling off the road. There is sports suspension is an option on SE L and Monte Carlo models.

Steering is light and easy and there is a turning circle which is tight enough to make it easy to squeeze into difficult parking spaces.

You get a five-speed manual gearbox on the 1.0 MPI 60 and 1.0 TSI 95, while a six-speed manual comes with the 1.0 TSI 110. The five speed manual does appear old fashioned at first but once you are used to it there are no problems.

Space is where the Fabia beats the rest because of the tall roofline. The driver and front passenger get an excellent amount of head room and good enough leg room for other tall passengers.

The interior is wide and spacious and both driver and front passenger have generously proportioned door pockets and there is a large cubbyhole by the gearstick with two cupholders. The glovebox is also decent and with Fabias having five doors the access to the back is pretty easy. The rear seats split 60/40 as standard and can fold down to open up the luggage area for bigger loads. The boot is square with a wide opening that makes loading big items easy. A relatively small boot lip helps as well.

All Fabias have six airbags, a tyre pressure monitoring system and child seat fixings. There is an engine immobiliser which is standard. The Fabia has an automatic emergency braking system which was designed to perform an emergency stop if it senses that you’re going to hit the car in front. Then from the SE trim you can have the blindspot motoring and aa driver fatigue alert system that warns the driver if they are becoming drowsy.