It’s unusual these days for a new car to be launched without even the promise of a hybrid or electric version as part of the line-up, but Škoda clearly believes there is still a market for a petrol-only compact hatchback.
This is the fourth generation Fabia, with the outgoing model having proved to be a popular model with Irish customers, over 5,280 units having left showrooms in the past five years. It arrives here after a delay to the original planned market launch last October due to the global shortage of microchips, but Škoda tells us it is now in a position to deliver around 500 units this year.
Looks wise you’ll immediately recognise it as a Fabia, though suitably refreshed compared to the old version. The front in particular features current Škoda styling cues, with more than a hint of Enyaq in the bonnet creases and curves.
Inside it’s all very pleasant too. The Fabia might be the entry model to the Škoda family these days, but like the rest of the range it certainly doesn’t feel like the budget option it might once have been.
Four trim levels are offered, three of them the familiar Active, Ambition and Style specs, with a range topping Monte Carlo version coming soon. Prices currently range from €19,150 to €25750, though Monte Carlo trim prices have yet to be confirmed.
Entry level Active models come with air conditioning, the ‘Swing’ infotainment system with 6.5” touchscreen, Bluetooth, DAB radio, 15” steel wheels, a spare wheel and LED headlights amongst others.
Active models get 15” alloy wheels as well as rear parking sensors, cruise control, Smartlink connectivity, front fog lights, a split folding rear seat and the trademark Škoda umbrella in the front door. Style models add chrome window surrounds, 16” alloys, keyless entry and start, the ‘Bolero’ infotainment system with an 8” touchscreen display and a Style interior pack with unique comfort seats and upholstery, plus dashboard and trim inserts.
Safety wise all models get Lane Assist including active steering, Driver Alert, Front Assist forward collision warning and a Speed Limiter.
There’s a choice of four power outputs from one litre petrol engines, ranging from 65hp and 80hp 1.0MPI units to 95hp and 110hp TSI versions. A 1.5 litre version of the TSI is not being sold here. The 110hp version is matched to a 7-speed DSG auto box only, and is only offered in Style and Monte Carlo trims. All other engines come with a 5-speed manual gearbox. CO2 emissions range from 115 to 130 g/km while official fuel consumption figures run from 6.1 to 5.0l/100 km (46.3 – 56.5mpg).
The new Fabia is built on a new modular platform, MQB-A0 – which enables Škoda to provide more room than in the already spacious outgoing car, notably in the boot which gains an extra 50 litres to a generous-for-the-class overall volume of 380 litres. The Fabia exceeds four metres in total length for the first time, meaning rear seat passengers are well catered for with decent legroom for full sized adults.
A brief run around South Dublin in a 95hp 1/0 TSI in Style trim indicates a car that is quiet and refined, with little in the way of wind or road noise. It’s sturdy on the road with the steering feeling nicely weighted, while the 95PS power output is brisk if not rapid – we suspect the lesser powered ones may feel rather anaemic for any use outside of city driving.
According to Škoda, the most common reasons for buying a Fabia included its value for money, low running costs and impressive amount of space. All those factors are at least matched if not improved in this new car. For anyone looking for a compact, sensible and cheap to run hatchback that isn’t yet ready or able to make the move to electric or hybrid, the new Fabia will remain a serious consideration.