Skoda has lifted the wraps from its latest Fabia … and in many ways it’s essentially a shrunken Octavia; and that’s no bad thing. Set to go head-to-head with its VW Group stablemates, the VW Polo and Seat Ibiza and the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Renault Clio, the new MkIV Fabia goes on sale later in 2021 with prices expected to start around £14,000. First deliveries are scheduled for early next year.
At 4,108mm bumper-to-bumper, the new Fabia supermini is 111mm longer than the model it replaces, is 48mm wider and has a 94mm longer wheelbase. Now measuring 2,564mm, the Fabia’s wheelbase is longer than the original Octavia’s was back in 1996. The new Fabia’s also got a boot capable of swallowing 380 litres — an increase of 50 litres — making it, according to Skoda, the largest in class.
The front of the new Fabia sports Skoda’s latest grille and swept-back headlights. From the side you’ll spot the new crease at the bottom of the doors, plus the window line sweeps up to meet a characteristically thick C-pillar.
At the rear of the latest model there’s a spoiler which has been integrated into the top of the tailgate, plus Skoda’s new lettering is stretched across the centre of the bootlid. There’s also wider rear lights than its predecessor.
Built on the VW Group’s MQB A0 platform — which, no surprise, is also used for the Polo and Ibiza — the Fabia has clever active cooling shutters in the front lower bumper which help reduce the Fabia's drag co-efficient to 0.28Cd
It also comes with engines both its immediate family rivals won't get. There’s three versions — 64bhp, 79bhp and turbocharged 108bhp — of the 1.0-litre three cylinder, plus a 148bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder. The latter engine is unavailable to those wanting a new Ibiza or Polo, at least in the UK.
With no plans for an electric Fabia, nor even the inclusion of mild-hybrid tech, the cleanest new model will be the 94bhp TSI. With an official economy of 55.4mpg, CO2 emissions are as low as 113g/km. And depending on spec and equipment levels, the 148bhp auto will deliver a best of 142g/km,
There are changes too inside the cabin which sees a significant overhaul to its layout. Noticeably there are now details already introduced in other recent Skoda models, including digital instruments, a two-spoke steering wheel and optional climate control. Skoda says 10.25-inch digital instrument panels will be available as an option, but conventional dials and a 3.5-inch information screen will be fitted as standard.
Entry-level models retain a 6.5-inch infotainment system with DAB radio, but an eight-inch Bolero touchscreen system that features Bluetooth and wireless Android and Apple smartphone integration will be standard on the bulk of new Fabias.
The new range will also include a 9.2-inch system that offers online-supported navigation and a WiFi hotspot, plus VW Group's Travel Assist which bundles lane keep, traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise into one system. Gesture control will also be available, as will up to five USB-C ports, including one mounted in the rear-view mirror making it easy to power a dash cam.
Buyers will be able to choose from a palette of nine body colours, including the new Phoenix Orange shown in these official press pictures. You can also opt for a contrast-colour roof on some versions. Plus there’s a choice of 14-inch or 15-inch steel wheels, or 15-18-inch alloys.
While the range will be supplemented by a Monte Carlo version of the Fabia, featuring sportier styling — a recipe which has already been a success with the Skoda Kamiq and Scala models — there are no plans to introduce a vRS version of the latest generation of the Czech supermini.
But, it you really want out-and-out performance, worth bearing in mind that Skoda is pushing ahead with development of a new R5 rally version of the Fabia. Okay, it won’t be ideal for taking the kids to school or parking in your local supermarket car park, but boy will it be fun.