Rejoice, car lovers, because it’s New Škoda Day! The Czech carmaker has debuted the fourth-generation of the Fabia, which is based off the MQB-A0 platform from Škoda’s parent company, Volkswagen.
That’s the same platform that underpins the current VW Polo and T-Cross, which means the new Fabia has actually grown up a bit. Its new engine options are more efficient, to comply with Euro 6d. The standard engine is a 1.5-liter turbo four making about 148 horsepower, but there’s also a 1.0-liter turbo inline 3 that makes about 109 HP. The standard transmission for the new Fabia is a seven speed DSG automatic from VW, but there are also some configurations with either a five- or six-speed manual.
It’s become a little heavier, a little longer, a little wider. Just bigger overall, but it’s gained cargo capacity in the process. Even though I would normally complain about this kind of thing — I hate when great small cars become average medium cars — I won’t complain about it now, because Škoda knows how to use that extra space in genuinely clever ways.
The first thing to note, though, is how alike the new Fabia looks to something from BMW. If you split the single grille into two and over-styled the car’s profile, maybe added a Hoffmeister kink, this new Fabia (along with some other late model Škodas) could fool a lot of people into thinking it’s a BMW. All you would need to do is slap a roundel over it’s winged arrow badge.
The interior, however, could teach BMW a thing or two about simplicity. It’s a clean dashboard, and somewhat like that of the new Hondas. The large touchscreen at its center may not be ideal, but the Fabia does not overload its driver with more touch inputs, and the climate controls are dead simple.
Once again, Škoda has shown how thoughtful its designers are. The Fabia is full of useful extras throughout its cabin. For example, there is an umbrella near the door sill. There are smartphone pockets on the pockets of the backrests. A card and coin holder lives in the glove compartment. The sunroof screen folds and stores under the hatch shelf, and there’s even a folding basket back there.
My favorite, though, is the USB-C socket on the rear-view mirror. It’s perfect for connecting a dash cam, and eliminating unsightly, long power cables for any windshield mounted electronics. That mirror USB connector is genius. The USB ports below that in the center console are backlit, too. Oh, bless you, Škoda!
Overall, the interior design of the new Fabia puts a bunch of expensive cars to shame, all because the carmaker takes a little time to think about its drivers.