The Fabia is Skoda’s most popular model in the UK, and with the new third-generation supermini ready to hit showrooms early next year Skoda has unveiled it to the world at the Paris Motor Show.
We were recently given a sneak preview of the car and spoke to senior exterior designer, Marko Jevtic about it.
“First of all, there is better packaging, the proportions are healthier,” said Jevtic. “The previous model was too tall and looked a little heavy over the rear wheels. The new model has a much better balance.”
With the third-generation model, Skoda was keen to revert back to the Fabia’s original, first-generation design, and added 90mm to the width of the car, while taking 30mm from its height.
“It [the new model] has the qualities of the first Fabia,” added Jevtic. “We wanted its simplicity; we did not want to overload the design. The car is not fashion; people who buy it will want the car to look good in five years’ time, so we added a pinch of sharpness.”
One criticism often directed towards Skoda is that its models do not distance themselves enough from parent group Volkswagen. “We are trying to differentiate models,” said Jevtic, “but they are part of a family and every good family will have some common DNA, so we have common elements to the design.”
The engine range from the latest VW Polo will be adopted by the Fabia, too, with prices starting from £10,600.
Skoda hinted at its new styling direction with the Vision C concept at March’s Geneva Motor Show, and the Fabia has embraced many of those design cues, with its contoured bonnet and chrome-framed grille. They help portray a more upmarket look, while wide-set foglights are embedded low in the bumper for a broader stance.
A sharp waistline stretches from the angular headlights to the tail-lamps, to give a longer appearance. But this latest model hasn’t only been restricted to an injection of style, as the new Fabia also boasts inflated proportions. It’s 90mm wider and 30mm lower than the outgoing model, so it should be more stable and practical. It’s the same length as before, but a longer wheelbase will increase interior passenger space.
Boot capacity will also grow from 315 to 330 litres, and by folding the rear seats flat, buyers will be able to free up a maximum luggage space of 1,195 litres – that’s 15 litres more than before. But for those wanting that little bit extra, Skoda will offer an estate version of the Fabia, too – we’re told that this will feature “class-leading space”.
The car has debuted in the metal at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, and with a focus on efficiency, practicality and style, it will attempt to outgun the class-leading Ford Fiesta when it goes on sale in the UK early next year.
Skoda has revealed prices for the new Fabia hatch, which will start from £10,600. First UK deliveries of the new car will be in January 2015. The range also offers a significant equipment upgrade over the last model.
The range kicks off with the S trim level, which includes Bluetooth, DAB, electric front windows and six airbags as standard. SE cars cost from £12,760, adding front assist, air-con, alloy wheels, front parking sensors, the MirrorLink infotainment system, and a leather steering wheel.
Elegance variants sit at the top of the range, costing from £13,610, and add larger 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, automatic air-con, a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control and keyless go.
The cheapest S model you can buy is the £10,600 1.0-litre petrol with 59bhp, while the most expensive is a £15,909 89bhp 1.4 TDI paired up to a DSG gearbox.
The SE range kicks off with a more powerful 1.0-litre unit, boasting 74bhp. Buyers can also have a 1.2-litre turbo with 89bhp or 109bhp and the 89bhp 1.4 TDI.
The Elegance line-up offers the broadest array of engines, including a 1.4 TDI with 104bhp which isn’t available anywhere else in the line-up. That engine will cost you £16,840.
As well as all the standard kit, Skoda has introduced a Colour Concept system, which is aiming to offer buyers a new level of personalisation. The manufacturer says there are 15 different body colours to choose from as well as a number of different wheel, roof and wing mirror options.
The company has also turned to owner Volkswagen for help with the revised engine range, and the 59bhp and 74bhp 1.0-litre petrol three-cylinders from the VW Polo will be offered in the Fabia for the first time. Higher-powered 89bhp and 109bhp 1.2-litre TSI engines will also be borrowed from the Polo.
Fuel-sipping diesel options will comprise 89bhp or 103bhp 1.4-litre TDI engines – both of which will emit less than 90g/km of CO2.
Shortly after the Fabia’s launch, a more efficient 74bhp GreenLine model using the 1.4 TDI will follow. This will be one of the cleanest superminis on sale, promising 91mpg economy and only 82g/km of CO2. Only Toyota’s 75g/km Yaris Hybrid can trump it.
The development of the current model’s platform will be central to these big reductions in running costs. The new Fabia won’t ride on a shrunken version of the VW Group’s modular MQB architecture, but will feature a number of its components. This should help ensure the car weighs less than 1,000kg when fitted with the base 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine – a reduction of around 40kg.
Inside, more features will be shared with the Polo. All cars get a revised dash with a touchscreen, while higher-spec models feature a 6.5-inch display with smartphone MirrorLink function, along with a reversing camera.
Tell us what you think of the new Skoda Fabia in the comments section below. Then check out the cars the Fabia has to beat in our best superminis round-up...