The covers have come off the fourth-generation Skoda Fabia, and the compact hatchback has unsurprisingly grown in size. Now sitting on the MQB-A0 platform that also underpins cars like the Volkswagen Polo, SEAT Ibiza and the larger Skoda Scala, the new Fabia stretches beyond four metres in length for the first time.
It features a more mature exterior design that is readily identifiable as a Skoda. Details such as the company's signature front grille design, strong C-pillar and distinctive LED rear lights add to the look. In keeping with the trend on its other models, the Czech brand spells its name out across the rear. Compared to the model it replaces, the new Fabia is 111mm longer, 48mm wider and has a wheelbase that is 94mm longer at 2,564mm. For context, that is now a longer wheelbase than the first-generation Skoda Octavia had when it debuted in 1996.
One of the benefits of the growth in size is that the Fabia now has one of the largest boot capacities in the segment. At 380 litres, it is an increase of 50 litres over its predecessor and matches the volume of the current Volkswagen Golf. When the rear seats are folded down, the cargo volume grows to 1,190 litres. Skoda will continue to offer the outgoing version of the Fabia Combi (estate) until the new version arrives in 2023.
New Skoda Fabia to get class-leading space
Skoda has long been a byword for practical interior space, and the new Fabia will continue that by offering one of the roomiest cabins in the segment. Up front, there is a clean dashboard layout with a free-standing central touchscreen display. The standard item is a 6.5-inch unit, with upgrades to the 8.0-inch 'Bolero' and a range-topping 9.2-inch 'Amundsen' infotainment system available. Wireless smartphone links with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available and there is the option of a wireless charging pad.
An analogue instrument cluster with a 3.5-inch screen will be standard, but a 10.25-inch digital instrument display will be optionally available. The instrument binnacle includes a nice design touch that features the 'Fabia' name in a cutaway on the side. Other optional elements include a heated windscreen and a heated steering wheel. Skoda will also offer up to five USB-C sockets, including one on the rear-view mirror for connecting a dashcam.
Thanks to its new vehicle architecture, the Skoda Fabia can be had with more driver assistance systems. These include Travel Assist, which can help control the car when moving in heavy traffic, and adaptive cruise control that works at up to 210km/h. Blind Spot Detect can sense vehicles moving up to 70 metres away in the car's blind spot. A Park Assist function can find suitable parking sports at up to 40km/h and then steer the vehicle into a space hands-free. Traffic Sign Recognition, Front Assist with Predictive Pedestrian and Cyclist Protection is also available.
An all-petrol engine range
Skoda will launch the new Fabia with a line-up of exclusively petrol engines. These will start with a 65hp 1.0-litre MPI engine, similar to what appeared in the smaller Skoda Citigo. Mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, it produces 93Nm of torque and consumes as little as 5.1 litres/100km. That same engine is also available with a more powerful 80hp output. It also matches its less powerful version in the fuel consumption stakes.
A 95hp 1.0-litre TSI engine is likely to be more engaging without conceding any ground with regards to fuel consumption. This power unit has slightly lower CO2 emissions of 113-128g/km and produces more torque, at 175Nm. Skoda also uses this engine, in conjunction with a six-speed gearbox, for its more powerful Fabia, which has 110hp and 200Nm. Furthermore, this engine is the first in the Fabia line-up to be available with the seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.
Topping the new Fabia engine range is a 1.5-litre TSI EVO engine with 150hp and 250Nm. Available only with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, it is the fastest Fabia with a 0-100km/h time of 7.9 seconds, though it is still capable of 5.6 litres/100km officially.
Active aerodynamics to reduce emissions
Active shutters behind the car's front bumper can close when cooling for the engine is not required. With these shut, the aerodynamic drag of the car reduces, thus improving fuel consumption by up to 0.2 litres/100km and lowering its CO2 emissions by as much as 5g/100km.
Air curtains direct some of the air around the front wheels and down the side of the car. Two of the wheel designs available include plastic trim pieces that make them more aerodynamic. More panels underneath the Skoda give the bottom of the car a smoother surface. Other passive aerodynamic features include a larger rear spoiler that helps airflow on the back of the Fabia, an area that usually accounts for one third of all drag according to Skoda. The shape of the door mirrors contributes to the car moving more cleanly through the air, too, creating less turbulence, which can help lower noise within the cabin.
A variety of colours and specifications
There will be a choice of nine exterior colours for the Skoda Fabia, including two metallic paint colours named Phoenix Orange (pictured) and Graphite Grey. Buyers can also specify two-tone colours schemes with either pearl-effect Black Magic or metallic Graphite Grey as a contrasting colour for the roof, door mirrors and grille surround. Wheels will start with either 14- or 15-inch steel rims depending on specification, with alloy wheels available between 15- and 18 inches in diameter.
Irish specifications and pricing have yet to be confirmed for the new Skoda Fabia.