ON THE ROAD- IAN LYNAS PREVIEWS THE NEW SKODA FABIA
Time really does fly past; it is twenty two years since I drove through the streets of Prague in a new car from Skoda- the Fabia. I recall great pride from the locals as they saw this new car which marked something of a new beginning for the Czech carmaker which some eight years earlier had become a part of the giant Volkswagen Group.
To date, more than four and a half million Fabias have taken to the road and on the special stages, the Fabia took on a new and successful role as a rally car. Now, news of a fourth generation model which is based on Volkswagen Group’s modular MQB-A0 platform and is the most spacious car within its segment, boasting further improved comfort features and numerous advanced safety and assistance systems. Classic and appealing brand qualities, such as value for money, high levels of functionality, and a plethora of Simply Clever features; surely must be the recipe for further success. The new model has everything it takes to seamlessly build on the success of its predecessors and it offers more space than its competitors, perfect connectivity, advanced assistance systems and an emotive design.
With the new platform, it has been possible to make the interior even bigger, which now exceeds the four metre mark, considerably longer than its predecessor. The boot which was already the largest in the segment has gained an additional fifty litres to a capacious 380 litres. Emotive design and self-assured proportions make the newcomer very appealing with razor-sharp headlights, as well as tail lights with modern LED technology and crystalline structures, emphasise its dynamic appearance. The redesigned interior features a symmetrical dashboard with a free standing central display, an optional digital instrument cluster and horizontal decorative strips. From market launch, the S, SE and SE L trim levels will be available and the sporty Monte Carlo variant will follow later.
Powering the new Fabia is a portfolio of five petrol engines from Volkswagen Group’s current EVO generation, with power outputs ranging from 65 PS to 150 PS. With a drag coefficient of 0.28, the new Fabia is the most aerodynamic car in its segment, which together with an optional 50 litre fuel tank allows for a range of more than 900km (560 miles). Exterior colour can play an important role in attracting the buyer, and there is a choice of nine body colours with the two metallic paint finishes, Phoenix Orange and Graphite Grey, making their debut for the brand and the range respectively.
Metallic Graphite Grey and pearl-effect Black Magic can also be chosen as contrasting paintwork for the roof, wing mirror caps and the grille surround. The options for the wheels include 14 inch and 15 inch steel wheels, as well as nine different alloys ranging from 15 to 18 inches. The optional, burnished 18 inch Libra alloy wheels in black are for the range-topping variant. This is the first Fabia that is optionally available with a digital instrument cluster, which boasts a 10.25-inch digital display. Drivers can choose from different layouts to suit their needs and these include the Classic layout, which is based on the style of analogue round instruments, as well as the Modern, Reduced and Extended layouts. As part of the optional Dynamics pack, there’s a fifth option, the Sport layout, in which the rev counter takes centre stage. The ‘Virtual Cockpit’, as the digital instrument cluster is also referred to, can display radio station emblems, covers of music albums and stored pictures of callers, among other things. Furthermore, the map can zoom in on junctions and display them in a separate window. As standard, the new model comes with an analogue instrument panel and a 3.5 inch information screen.
Finally, will we witness rally versions of the new Fabia? I reckon yes.