The 2022 Skoda Fabia has been revealed, ahead of its Australian launch expected to occur late in the first quarter of 2022 (March 2022).
The fourth generation of Skoda's popular Fabia city car sees the nameplate migrate to the Volkswagen Group's latest MQB-A0 platform, shared with the Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Kamiq and Skoda Scala – gaining a raft of modern connectivity and active safety features to go with it.
The architecture switch has resulted in a significant growth spurt, with the new model measuring in at 4107mm long, 1780mm wide and 1460mm tall, riding on a 2564mm wheelbase – 110mm longer in overall length, 48mm wider, 7mm lower and 94mm longer in wheelbase than the third-generation Fabia.
Boot space increases to 380 litres with the rear seats in place – up 50 litres – increasing to 1190 litres with the second row folded. Kerb weight hasn't increased significantly over the outgoing car, at around 1100kg.
Buyers keen on even more space will be able to opt for a load-lugging wagon body style, which will return for another generation, and on Skoda Australia's radar for a local introduction.
Skoda's local arm hopes to have the long-roof body style launch alongside its hatch sibling next year, assuming production timing falls into place, however overseas reports suggest the wagon could launch in Europe as far away as 2023.
Clothing the new platform is an evolutionary exterior, with sharper styling than the car it replaces, and design elements inspired by the Scala, Octavia and other recent Skoda models.
Up front, slim bi-LED headlights flank a sculpted interpretation of Skoda's corporate grille, with a wide air intake (with fog lights) sitting below.
A sharp side crease leads to the vehicle's rear end, where slim C-shaped LED tail-lights and a sporty roof spoiler feature.
Wheels ranging from 14 to 18 inches in diameter fill the arches, while expanded underbody panelling, aero-optimised wheel designs, active front grille slats (which alone save 0.2L/100km at 120km/h) and the aforementioned spoiler help lower the drag coefficient to 0.28Cd.
Inside, the brand's latest technologies feature, with flagship models featuring a configurable 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster in front of the driver, and a 9.2-inch infotainment touchscreen atop the dashboard, running Skoda's latest software with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, gesture control, and satellite navigation.
Entry-level and mid-spec models 'make do' with either a 6.5- or 8.0-inch central screen, plus analog instruments separated by a 3.5-inch digital display. Other features on offer include wireless smartphone charging, ambient LED lighting, dual-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, a seven-speaker sound system, and five USB-C ports.
A choice of two- and three-spoke steering wheels are available, while a conventional gear selector sits between the front occupants on automatic models – as opposed to the shift-by-wire unit fitted to the new Octavia.
No less than 43 of Skoda's signature 'Simply Clever' practicality touches are on offer, including a USB-C port in the rear-view mirror for a dashcam, a swipe card holder, a pocket attached the underside of the parcel shelf capable of supporting up to 3.5kg, a removable cupholder, and smartphone storage pockets in the front seatbacks.
European buyers will have a choice of small-displacement three- and four-cylinder petrol engines, available with or without turbocharging. Diesel has been axed in Europe, while mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid options aren't available, in a bid to keep purchase prices down. All models are front-wheel drive.
On track to come to Australia are the 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engines, available in 70kW/175Nm and 81kW/200Nm tunes, likely albeit without the petrol particulate filters offered as standard in Europe.
The 70kW tune is available only with a five-speed manual, completes the 0-100km/h sprint in a claimed 10.6 seconds, and claims to sip 5.1 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.
Meanwhile, the 81kW version offers the choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearboxes, with the latter (likely to be standard in Australia) running to 100km/h from a standstill in 9.5 seconds, while consuming 5.5L/100km of fuel. The manual option is more efficient, at 5.0L/100km.
Optioning a 50-litre fuel tank increases the engines' maximum driving range to over 900km.
A 110kW/250Nm 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder (paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto) sits atop the overseas range – capable of a 7.9-second 0-100km/h dash – while European buyers on a budget can pick from 48kW/95Nm or 59kW/95Nm versions of a 1.0-litre naturally-aspirated three-cylinder petrol engine.
While a performance-focused RS model won't be offered, Skoda will introduce a sport-themed Monte Carlo model later in 2021, with black styling elements, sports seats and specific badging.
On the safety front, a range of active driver assistance technologies are available – many new for the nameplate – including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian/cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, driver attention monitoring, long-range blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, traffic-sign recognition, and semi-autonomous parking.
Adaptive cruise control combines with lane-keep assist and lane-centring assist systems to enable the Volkswagen Group's semi-autonomous Travel Assist system, allowing the Fabia to accelerate, brake and centre itself within its lane on freeways at up to 210km/h.
Nine airbags are available, including driver's knee and rear-side 'bags. There's no centre airbag, however, which could rule the Fabia out for a five-star ANCAP safety rating, given its narrow width means passengers' heads can easily collide in a side impact.
The 2022 Skoda Fabia hatch will go on sale in Europe later in 2021.
While start-of-production dates for the Australian market have yet to be confirmed, Skoda's local arm expects the first examples to arrive locally late in the first quarter of 2022 (which spans January to March inclusive, suggesting a March launch).