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, we spoke to senior exterior designer, Marko Jevtic, all 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, with prices expected to start from just under £10,000.
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 will debut in the metal at October’s 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 also revealed it has ditched the vRS model following poor sales, although it will continue to offer a more luxurious Monte Carlo edition, featuring plush exterior styling. Official pricing has yet to be announced, but buyers can expect a small rise over the current model’s £9,945 starting figure.
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...