Skoda’s new fourth-generation Fabia hatchback rolls out of showrooms in early spring — more than two decades after the original version rocked the car market.
As orders were open, I drove one before first deliveries so that I could see how far Czech marque had come. This Fabia is the first to surpass 4 metres.
Skoda’s Fabia was launched in 2000. The Fabia revolutionized engineering and styling, making people pay attention.
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I well remember turning heads when driving an early pre-launch model through London’s Docklands, City and West End, with onlookers asking if it were a new Audi.
Fabia is now available with four options for 1-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engines. These are 65, 80, 96 or 110hp. The 1.5-litre, 150hp engine will be the next. Initially, there will be four trim levels with prices from £15,305 for the entry level Hatch S with only a 5-speed manual gearbox; £17,195 for the SE Comfort; £19,380 for the S EL which I drove; and £17,895 for a more playful and personalised Colour Edition aimed at ‘gadget-focussed’ owners. In the near future, there will be a Monte Carlo trim.
The S offers a variety of 6-speed and 5-speed manual gearboxes, as well as 7-speed DSG automatic DSG. My S EL fitted with that 7-speed auto transmission, priced from £20,730, is a nifty, comfortable and practical run-around which accelerates decently to 62mph in 9.9 seconds up to a top speed of 127mph. You can get up to 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 128 to 137.5g/km.
It’s spacious and well-appointed with a free-standing 9.2-in infotainment screen and is the first Fabia to have a heated front windscreen and steering wheel.
It was awarded five stars in the EuroNCAP Safety Crash Tests. There are a variety of wheel options, from 15in up to 18in.
The boot is large, versatile, and functional. It can hold 380 litres (or 1,190 litres if you have the rear seats folded). The door even has an umbrella.
It covers everything.
High trims include a Virtual Cockpit Driver’s Dashboard at 10.5 inches instead of the standard.
This vehicle is built using a brand new VW Group platform, which makes it longer and heavier but also lighter.
Front doors have body lines that replicate the Czech flag’s distinctive triangle.
You can choose from nine colors, including the vibrant Phoenix Orange metallic and the sober Graphite Gray metallic.
It’s becoming posh for a brand who has been built on the value of money and it isn’t always cheap.
More than 4.5 Million Fabias were sold in three generations since 1999. This includes 375,000 units in the UK.
Skoda was founded in 1925. However, its history dates back to the 19th Century. It began life as a prominent European car maker before the Nazis invaded and then the Soviet Communists occupied it. This meant that it no longer played a major role until Volkswagen Group assumed control following the fall of Berlin Wall and end of Cold War.
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