The new Škoda Fabia still wears a camouflage dress. But after the first outing, a lot can be said about the upcoming “little” Czech. And not only has it grown and it looks a lot sportier than its predecessor.
The Škoda Fabia looks back on 22 years of history and is something of a hero of a young family in the Czech Republic. In fact, it is said that the small car in the house of Hurvinek and Speble is an absolute hit with this clientele. This is partly due to the price, and partly simply smart solutions that Škoda has been using in its cars for years. But a small car made in Mladá Boleslav is also very popular in Germany. Almost atypically for the segment, in 2019 – the first Corona 2020 was deliberately excluded here – almost 39,000 Fabia were sold in Germany.
And it is expected that the fourth generation, whose production will start in June, and which will be sold in September, will be a sustainable success at Škoda. And that’s the Czechs, because this time the engineers put a lot of effort into the fourth edition of the Fabia, as revealed by a visit to ntv.de during the so-called covered drive. On the outside, the Czech is still wrapped in a wild camouflage dress so as not to reveal too much of what will only be shown in May at the official world premiere. Inside, too, the journalist is allowed to inspect the dashboard and steering wheel.
Welcome to the club
Still, much can be said about Fabia IV. For example, to use VW’s MQB-A0 platform for the first time, which is also used by Audi A1, Seat Ibiza V, Škoda Scala, Škoda Kamiq, VW Polo and VW T-Cross. The list clearly shows that this can only be good for Fabia. So Škoda’s new boss Thomas Schäfer lovingly grew up as “our new little one”. Watch out, in length. Here it now measures 4.10 meters instead of 3.99 meters. But the increase in wheelbase is even clearer. Here the Fabia grew by nine inches to 2.56 feet. Just for comparison: It’s just one inch smaller than the Golf V, which dominated the compact car segment from 2003 to 2008.
As always, the lush wheelbase benefits second-row passengers. Which brings us back to young families who can now anchor three child seats in the back seat using Isofix. And if you’re on the road with such a load, you should also be pleased that the Fabia’s trunk in the new edition offers a storage space of 380 liters. And yes, the debate lasted a long time, but there will still be a Fabia caravan for those looking for a cheap cargo master. It takes a little more time than a hatchback, but it will certainly come and thus ensure complete control of Škoda in this segment. Because no other manufacturer currently has such a vehicle in its range.
Engines from the EVO family
Of course, such a Fabia also wants to be driven. It will be, and exclusively from new EVO engines. These are two three-cylinder units in particular, each with two power levels. On the one hand, the revised MPI engines of 65 and 80 hp and a maximum torque of 95 Newton meters, which is transmitted to the front wheels by a five-speed manual transmission, and two TSI engines with 95 and 110 hp. The smaller one distributes its power of 175 newton meters in five gears, and the larger one of its 200 newton meters manually via six or automatically via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DSG).
The latter was also fitted to the test car at the first exit. If you don’t want to maintain performance and don’t have problems with the three-winged growl, you can put up with this engine and DSG. Motorized like this, Fabia hangs on a gas well, she could react a little more spontaneously to gas commands, but she’s pretty brisk when she accepts it. Both direct and smooth handling and fierce biting brakes are striking. Here the Czechs seem to have given preference to the sporty as well as the chassis, in keeping with the sporty look, which is recognizable despite the camouflage dress. Because Fabia left a very heavy impression.
At the moment, however, all of this needs to be enjoyed with some degree of caution, as this was a pre-production vehicle that has yet to be fine-tuned. But it can be announced with certainty that the peak of performance in the form of the 1.5 TSI EVO will be very attractive for Fabia. Yes, a connoisseur knows: This is a 150 hp four-cylinder with 250 Nm and a 7-speed DSG, which not only drives the latest VW Golf, Škoda Octavia and Seat Leon, but can also shut down two of its cylinders to save fuel. The fuel will in the future be powered by special models of the Monte Carlo series.
Proud of aerodynamics
Nonetheless, all Fabians benefit from tight aerodynamics, which gives them a drag coefficient, i.e. a drag coefficient of 0.28, which should be unique in this class. The Czechs have also upgraded assistance systems, which are no longer inferior to those in the group’s compact cars. For example, there is a travel assistance system, which now also supports longitudinal and lateral guidance of the car, and in combination with an adjustable distance assistant even up to a speed of 210, taking into account the vehicles in front. There is also an additional side assistant that warns of vehicles approaching from behind. For those who don’t like parking, a parking assistant can also be ordered for the new Fabia, which drives the car to parallel or vertical parking spaces without the driver having to take the steering wheel in their hands.
But what would Skoda be without the aforementioned Simply Clever features? In the new Fabia, there are a total of 13 designed to make life easier for passengers. There are, for example, a folding front passenger seat, two pockets for storing smartphones on the backrests of the front seats, a USB-C port on the interior mirror for the Gopro, a foldable and flexible trunk compartment, a storage compartment in the tunnel in front of the rear seats with cup holder and with one removable sun visor for the panoramic roof. What? Why a sun visor for a panoramic roof? Simply put: Škoda increased the panoramic glass roof and got rid of the blinds in the backrest. This should have no consequences for the composition of the glass, but if you are outside and outside in a very hot climate, you can install a sunscreen.
Now many nice tricks suggest that Fabia is getting more expensive. But that, according to the Czechs, is what they want to avoid. Final prices have not yet been determined, but it is strongly assumed that they will not deviate significantly from current ones. So, the bid for the opening should still be below 14,000 euros, and the end of the pole 23,000 euros.