Underneath all the swirly camouflage, you're looking at the fourth-generation Skoda Fabia, landing 22 years after the Czech company's supermini debuted.
Physically bigger, subjectively grander
Even with the obfuscating disguise, it's clear to see the Fabia takes its styling cues from the current Scala and Octavia relations. Skoda talks about LED lights on all models, with various upgrades that can improve the exterior illumination further. Inside, the digital Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster takes its bow in the Fabia line for the first-ever time, while there's a free-standing centre display for the infotainment.
Oliver Stefani, head of Skoda design, said: "Skoda has consistently continued to develop its design language with the new Fabia. The compact hatchback is particularly sporty and elegant visually. Sculptural lines, dynamic proportions and modern light units with LED technology and the crystalline structures typical of Skoda make for a dynamic and modern appearance."
This is the first Fabia based on the MQB-A0 platform, which means it is bigger in all dimensions compared to its immediate predecessor but it is broadly the same weight as the car it supersedes. The car measures 4,107mm long, with 2,564mm of that accounted for by the wheelbase, while it is also 1,780mm wide (front track 1,525mm, rear track 1,509mm) and stands 1,460mm tall. Meanwhile, it will be able to claim a 380-litre boot, a 50-litre increase on the old model's figure and a fact which makes the Fabia's cargo area about as accommodating as most vehicles in the larger C-segment these days. With the rear seats folded down, there will be 1,190 litres of carrying capacity, this number also up (by 40 litres) compared to the Mk3.
Petrol power only
Under the bonnet, Skoda's going to kick things off with an entirely petrol-powered engine line-up. Two MPI normally aspirated units and three TSI turbocharged motors will be available, with every one claimed to return around 5.0 litres/100km (56.5mpg) of combined fuel economy; also thank the new slippery shape for such parsimony, as the Fabia Mk4 has an aerodynamic figure of 0.28Cd, considerably reduced from the blocky older car's 0.32Cd.
The good news is that the Fabia is getting quite a bit of power this time, in the form of a new range-topping engine. This is the Volkswagen Group's 1.5-litre TSI Evo four-cylinder unit, producing 150hp and 250Nm, and - in the Fabia - driving the front wheels through a seven-speed DSG auto transmission only. The TSI has active cylinder technology, which means when there are low demands on the powerplant then it can run on two cylinders only to save fuel. All the other engines are three-cylinder, 1.0-litre mills, with the MPI models delivering either 65hp/95Nm or 80hp/95Nm, and the TSI turbocharged motors upping the same figures to 95hp/175Nm or 110hp/200Nm. All of these models are front-wheel drive, and all of them also feature a five-speed manual transmission as the only gearbox choice - except for the 110hp 1.0 TSI, which comes with a six-speed manual as standard or a seven-speed DSG as an option.
Skoda promises 'excellent' active and passive safety from the Fabia Mk4, which is nothing less than we'd expect of this likeable marque these days, while 13 brand-new 'Simply Clever' features in the cabin aim to make the day-to-day user experience much easier; this is in a total of 43 Simply Clever touches available in the Fabia overall.
Johannes Neft, Skoda board member for technical development, said: "Boasting an emotive design language, the new Fabia is a true Skoda at first glance. Compared to its predecessor, we have significantly improved the interior - offering a high level of comfort, advanced infotainment and innovative assistance systems. An even more spacious interior, engines that are as efficient as they are powerful, and excellent handling round off the car's appeal. Our new entry level model has everything you could want from a modern small car - and more."
We'll bring you full details on Irish prices and specs, as well as the undisguised looks of the Skoda Fabia Mk4, just as soon as we have them.