In Europe, where they are taking real steps to help curb climate change, EVs are all the rage, and for good reason. But their strict emissions regulations don’t necessarily mean that every new car has to be an EV. Enter the Skoda Fabia, which has an optional 50-liter (13 gallon) fuel tank.
The Fabia, a subsubcompact car that still manages to have four doors and can fit four humans, is in its fourth-generation this year, and for the Fabia and every other car in Europe it is a new world there. Many have gone electric, and electric sales as a result are booming. Skoda does sell some all-electric models, but it went a different route with the Fabia, and it’s hard not to be charmed.
I mean, just look at all these options:
The all-new FABIA is offered with a choice of five drivetrains from the Volkswagen Group’s EVO engine generation, all of which meet the Euro 6d emissions standard. The two 1.0 MPI engines now deliver an output of 48 kW (65 hp) and 59 kW (80 hp). A manual 5-speed gearbox is installed for both engines, as well as the 1.0 TSI with 70 kW (95 hp). The 1.0 TSI with 81 kW (110 hp) comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox or 7-speed DSG. The most powerful engine for the new FABIA is the 1.5 TSI with 110 kW (150 hp) and a 7-speed DSG. The majority of the engines and all the transmissions for the new ŠKODA FABIA are produced in the Czech Republic. The MPI engines and 1.0 TSI powertrains are produced in Mladá Boleslav and the manual transmissions also leave the assembly line at ŠKODA’s main plant. The 7-speed DSG is manufactured at ŠKODA’s Vrchlabí plant. For the first time, the FABIA can be ordered with an optional 50-litre fuel tank instead of the standard 40-litre tank, which, in combination with four of the five engines, enables a maximum range of more than 900 kilometres in the WLTP cycle.
That is almost 560 miles of range with the big fuel tank, which is a long way. Meanwhile, all of the 1.0 TSI engines are three-cylinder affairs, and the 1.5 TSI is a four-cylinder. Skoda said it has made little improvements almost everywhere to reduce both emissions and fuel consumption, and its press release on the matter is an engineer’s dream. This is what it looks like when an automaker has a real incentive to do lean and clean:
An optimised crankshaft drive complete with pistons and piston rings reduces friction losses. Targeted modification of the water circulation system around the cylinder head and engine block ensures greater cooling efficiency for the cylinders, combustion chambers and integrated exhaust manifold. Moreover, the three-cylinder MPI engines operate on the Atkinson combustion cycle, in which the intake valves only close during a piston’s compression stroke. As a result, part of the air-fuel mixture is pushed back into the intake manifold. This reduces the compression ratio, which in turn lowers the fuel consumption. The two 1.0 TSI direct injection engines use a high injection pressure of 350 bar. Their innovative plasma coating is just 150 micrometres (0.15 millimetres) thick and replaces the cast-iron cylinder liners in the aluminium cylinder crankcase, reducing internal friction inside the three cylinders. This lowers fuel consumption and emissions even further, while reducing the thermal load through a more even distribution and dissipation of heat in the combustion chamber. The three-cylinder MPI engines also operate in the fuel-efficient Miller cycle and the turbocharger has variable turbine geometry. This results in a higher torque that is available over a wider range of engine speeds, while at the same time reducing emissions. The plasma coating and 350-bar injection pressure are also featured in the new top-of-the-range 1.5 TSI engine. Thanks to active cylinder management (ACT), the four-cylinder engine automatically deactivates two cylinders under light load conditions, a process that is virtually imperceptible to the driver and also helps to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
It is deeply cool that there is a modern European automaker making a 65-horsepower car and still innovating so that it can continue to do so. Also, shutting down two cylinders in a four-cylinder engine to reduce fuel consumption and emissions? That’s what winning looks like. This would only be better if Skoda did that with the three-cylinder engines, too.