Fresh design sketch details the fourth-generation Skoda Fabia’s cabin and infotainment system
Skoda is gearing up for the launch of the fourth-generation Fabia. It’ll break cover on 4 May, with a more practical body and enough interior equipment to compete with the Hyundai i20 and Honda Jazz. Sales will start in the summer, with prices starting from around £15,500.
With the new Fabia’s launch event closing in, Skoda has issued a sketch of its cabin, which details its floating infotainment system and reshaped dashboard; this features a pair of circular vents beneath the A-pillars. The Fabia also looks set to adopt the same two-spoke steering wheel as the latest Octavia, with the brand’s family hatch inspiring much of the cabin’s design.
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From the interior concept sketch, it’s obvious that Skoda hasn’t integrated the car’s climate controls in the infotainment system, either – like the old Fabia’s, the set-up still uses rotary dials mounted beneath the infotainment system.
Previously, Skoda teased the new Fabia’s exterior styling, again with some design sketches. The drawings show the new car will be an evolution of the current model, sharing a similar shape and “face,” although the enormous alloy wheels and shaved door handles won’t make it onto the production model.
Skoda’s drawings of the Fabia’s headlamps and tail lights are accurate reflections of the finished car, though. Both the new LED projectors and fresh V-shaped rear light signature will make it onto the final car, along with a new-look badge fixed to the supermini’s tailgate.
The biggest change for the next Fabia will be its size. Skoda has moved the supermini onto the Volkswagen Group’s MQB A0 platform, the same architecture that underpins the brand’s Scala family hatchback, as well as the Ibiza and Polo superminis from sister brands SEAT and Volkswagen.
As a result, the fourth-generation Fabia will be slightly larger than its predecessor, at 4,107mm long, 1,780mm wide and 1,460mm tall. Its wheelbase will also increase by 94mm, to 2,564mm, boosting the amount of rear-seat legroom in the process.
Skoda says the size increase has also unlocked an extra 50 litres of boot space, taking the Fabia’s maximum capacity to 380 litres. Skoda has explored this avenue in the past – like the Scala, which is slightly larger than the Volkswagen Golf, the new Fabia will be larger than the Polo, with Skoda targeting buyers who want the compact dimensions of a supermini mixed with the practicality of a car from the class above.
The new underpinnings will also bring Skoda’s latest powertrains. Most of the models in the Fabia range will be powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine in varying states of tune. The cheapest MPI variants do without turbocharging, offering either 64bhp or 79bhp.
However, Skoda will also offer two turbocharged versions of the same 1.0-litre engine, with outputs of 94bhp and 108bhp. The former will be mated to a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the latter will feature a six-speed manual – although a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission will be offered as an optional extra.
Volkswagen’s 148bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine will also make an appearance, albeit only with a seven-speed automatic gearbox. However, it’s not yet known if the larger Octavia’s 1.0 e-tec mild-hybrid powertrain will be offered on the Fabia.
There are no plans for a plug-in version of the car, as the complexity, cost and practicality compromises involved in packaging a battery into a small car like the Fabia remain prohibitive.
Skoda is also keen to stress the safety benefits of the Fabia’s new platform, claiming improvements to both active and passive safety systems. The platform performs better in crash tests than the Fabia’s old PQ26 underpinnings, and buyers will benefit from nine airbags, three seats with ISOFIX points and park assist.
Skoda’s semi-autonomous Travel Assist system will also make an appearance on the Fabia for the first time, bringing with it adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and an optional blind spot detection system.
Traffic sign recognition and Skoda’s new manoeuvre assist technology will also feature, with the latter system using sensors to detect obstacles around the car, automatically applying the brakes if required.
New Skoda Fabia: ‘Simply Clever’ features
Like all Skodas, the fourth-generation Fabia will feature a host of ‘Simply Clever’ practicality solutions. The brand will add 13 new features over the previous-generation car, taking the supermini’s total number to 43.
Classics such as the fuel filler door-mounted ice scraper and ticket holder on the A-pillar will make a return, but they’ll be joined by a pair of smartphone pockets on the front seat backs, a new storage pocket beneath the boot board and a new USB-C socket on the rear-view mirror, which allows for the easy installation of a dashcam.
There’ll also be a new card and coin holder for the glove box lid, a pen holder for the centre console, a new storage compartment on the transmission tunnel and a removable cup holder, which will make its debut on the Fabia. The front passenger backrest will also fold flat, allowing owners to transport long items more easily.
New Skoda Fabia: design and interior
Our latest images of the Fabia show that the next-generation car will look very similar to the outgoing model. Its tailgate is a similar shape, while its headlights share the same DRL signature. The Fabia’s roofline also remains relatively high at the rear, as it still needs to accommodate two adults in reasonable comfort.
The new Fabia’s track and wheel arches are also wider than the old car’s (thanks to the new platform), while its grille has grown in size, which should give the hatchback a more imposing stance. It’s not all for looks though, as Skoda has fitted some clever fuel-saving technology as well.
First, there’s some new shutters for the car’s lower bumper intakes, which automatically close when they’re not required for cooling, contributing to a minor fuel economy improvement. The shutters are paired with a fresh set of aerodynamically efficient alloy wheels and a new undertray, which has been specifically designed to reduce drag.
Skoda says the tweaks have cut the Fabia’s drag coefficient from 0.32 to 0.28, making the new model the most aerodynamically efficient car in its class.
Previous spy shots have also hinted that Skoda’s sporty Monte Carlo trim-level will make it onto the new Fabia. The red mule in our gallery features winglets on the front bumper, wider side skirts, a deeper rear diffuser and a larger tailgate spoiler. Production cars will also come with larger alloy wheels and sports seats.
Inside, the new Fabia should be one of the most spacious cars in its class – and by moving to Volkswagen’s MQB platform, buyers will get improved soundproofing and noise isolation, making the supermini a more refined place on the move.
The new MQB A0 underpinnings will also bring a major technology improvement, with Skoda adopting Volkswagen’s latest MIB 3.0 infotainment system. Some versions of the Fabia will make do with a 6.5-inch display, but UK models will likely be offered a choice of either an eight-inch or 9.2-inch touchscreen.
What does the new Skoda Fabia have to beat? Check out our run-down of the best superminis on sale here…
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