Most of us wanted something compact, which would be cheap to run and easy to drive and park.
So we flocked to the Ford Fiesta (still Britain’s best-selling car), Vauxhall Corsa and… well, about 20 other different models.
And despite the attractions of the SUV – some of which are now built on the same platforms as superminis – the small car is still proving popular.
The one drawback with superminis though, is their obvious shortage of space.
However, this Skoda Fabia does rather break the mould and offer more room in the cabin and boot than most.
How it does so is a bit of mystery, but it’s one that buyers aren’t interested in solving, because they’re too busy buying it and making it the Czech carmaker’s second most-popular car in the UK.
The current generation of the Fabia (the third) went on sale in 2015, so Skoda has given the model a bit of an update, revising the design, tweaking the range of interior and exterior options, and adding some more safety and infotainment equipment.
Starting with the design, Skoda has done the usual carmaker thing of updating the design of the front, with a new grille, bumper and lights – which include daytime running lights for the first time (and LED headlights as an option).
It’s the same story at the back, with a new bumper (including integrated reflectors) and tail lights (LEDs are also optional here).
Also revised is the engine line-up, which is now exclusively petrol (the 1.4 TDI diesel has been dropped) and all 1.0-litre, three-cylinder units.
The least powerful is a 74bhp engine, which has had some upgrades to help make it comply with the forthcoming latest fuel economy and emissions testing procedures.
It now returns 58.8mpg average fuel economy and produces 110g/km emissions.
There are also two versions of the turbocharged 1.0 engine, with 94bhp and 109bhp outputs.
Both have also been fitted with engine technology that makes them cleaner and more efficient, such as a particulate filter that reduces the number of tiny pieces of soot entering into the atmosphere.
Average fuel economy for both engines is 61.4mpg, while emissions are 104 and 105g/km respectively.
The 94bhp of the lower-powered unit will be plenty for many buyers, especially if the car is used primarily in urban environments (that said, it acquits itself well on motorways and doesn’t feel as if it’s straining) with a 0 to 60mph time of 10.6 seconds and 114mph top speed.
The extra 15bhp of the more powerful engine offers a little extra boost, but it doesn’t fundamentally change the car.
What these two engines have in common though is a lovely off-bear engine sound that is characterful: think of it as half a V6 and you’re not far off.
The entry level 1.0-litre and lower-powered 1.0 turbo are mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, while the range-topping engine is available with either a six-speed manual or an optional seven-speed DSG dual-clutch semi- automatic.
The five-speed is fine, but you do feel yourself reaching for another gear on the motorway.
From experience, the DSg semi-automatic should be superb. This revised Fabia performs consistently and without drama on rougher roads too.
The handling falls short of the engagement you’ll find in the Fiesta or Polo, but there’s accurate steering, plenty of grip and decent body control.
The ride is better: more forgiving, it soaks up the imperfections and, overall, offers a comfortable in-cabin experience.
Talking of the cabin, the revised Fabia has updated trims, new upholstery materials and new instrument cluster, all of which help create the impression of a freshened-up interior.
The range of infotainment systems has also been updated, with four to choose from, including features such as a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen and full smartphone connectivity in some versions which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
We referred to the amount of space in the Fabia at the top of the review and Skoda has managed to somehow make room for five passengers and one of the biggest boots in the class, at 330 litres (or 1,150 litres if the rear seats are folded down).
The other thing that Skoda manages to do is back up its ‘Simply Clever’ tagline with some genuinely useful little additional features, such as a windscreen ice scraper in the fuel filler cap that also has a gauge to measure tyre tread depth, a double-sided boot liner and a parcel shelf that can be fitted in two different positions.
Skoda has also made some significant upgrades to the Fabia’s safety equipment, with Front Assist included as standard on all versions.
In addition, there are numerous new options, including adaptive cruise control, a rear-view camera, driver fatigue assistant, blind spot detection and rear traffic alert – all of which are safety features that you’d expect to find in more expensive cars.
In terms of price, the Fabia starts at a competitive £12,840, for the base S trim, rising to £18,435 for the sporty Monte Carlo edition (in between are SE, SE L and Colour Edition trims).
The Fabia is the kind of supermini that will keep buyers coming back to it, as it’s accomplished, practical and highly usable.
True, it isn’t as engaging to drive as the Fiesta or Seat Ibiza, and it’s not as pretty as those two cars or the Renault Clio, but it still offers much to commend it. So we will. Who needs an SUV, anyway?
Model: Skoda Fabia
On sale: Now
Price range: £12,840 – £18,435
Engine range: Petrol – 1.0, 1.0 turbo, 1.0-litre turbo 109bhp
Power: 0 to 60mph in 9.3 seconds, 121mph top speed (1.0 109bhp)
Average fuel economy: 61.4mpg (1.0)
CO2 emissions range: 104g/km – 110g/km
Rivals: Citroen C3, Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208, Vauxhall Corsa