The ŠKODA FABIA, the second biggest-selling model in the brand’s modern history, has levelled up and undergone design and technical changes. Below we shine some light on what’s new…

…And we mean that quite literally, because one of the most important innovations has been the incorporation of LED technology into the headlights and rear lamps to make you see and be seen better. The new headlights sit perfectly in the car’s reshaped fascia, which radiates fresh energy and elegance. To make the FABIA look even more stylish, you can take your pick of an expanded range of alloy wheels, with 18-inchers now available for the hatchback for the first time.

The interior has also been reworked, boasting new décor and upholstery materials and colours, enhanced functions and practical new features. These include the redesigned instrument panel, Style trim-level seats combining Suedia and fabric (the sports seats come with additional contrasting red stitching), and electrically controlled and heated wing mirrors as standard from the Active trim level up. The popular one-touch automatic roll-down for the driver’s window has been extended to all electrically controlled windows. The list of 'Simply Clever' features, already impressively long, has been extended to include additional practical items: rear passengers now have their own double USB port and tablet holder, there’s a double-sided mat in the luggage compartment, and the boot in the estate version also incorporates an optional removable LED torch.

The ŠKODA FABIA has also taken a technological leap forward. All infotainment systems now have 6.5” displays and feature BT, USB, and SD card connectivity. The Swing Plus and Amundsen versions also include SmartLink+ – a system that can mirror a smartphone via MirrorLink®, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto – and support the connection of ŠKODA Connect online services (Infotainment Online, Care Connect).

New technologies also ramp up the safety. The more powerful LED headlights are equipped with Auto Light Assist. Blind Spot Detect has your back when you change lanes by monitoring the traffic and alerting you to vehicles in your blind spot. Rear Traffic Alert warns you of traffic behind the car, useful when you’re backing out of a parking spot.

Click to unveil the updated ŠKODA FABIA:

The innovated ŠKODA FABIA is being rolled out with four petrol engines. The entry-level option is a naturally aspirated three-cylinder 1.0 MPI engine with 44 or 55 kW output. This can be upgraded to a supercharged 1.0 TSI variant with 70 or 81 kW output. The most powerful member of this quartet can be combined with a seven-gear DSG transmission.

A MODERN DESIGN AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES

The modernised ŠKODA FABIA is set to face fierce competition. With around 14 million small cars sold annually, this is one of the most important classes worldwide. In Europe, this segment continues to lead the field, accounting for over 20 per cent of the entire market. This means that the constant innovation and modernisation of design, technologies and accessories are a must. One opportunity for a general overhaul is what is known as a “facelift”, a stage that tends to come into play at around the mid-point of a model’s production lifespan.

The key to success, contrary to what you might think, is not a race to the bottom in pricing. On the contrary. Demand is growing for high-end accessory configurations and technologies that only recently were limited to bigger cars. Taking Germany as an example, 34 per cent of the vehicles sold in this class are fitted with high-level accessory configurations, a figure that JATO Dynamics says keeps growing. The situation in the UK and the Czech Republic is similar – most customers buying a ŠKODA FABIA opt for the top-end Style trim level.

Stephanie Labussiere-Metz
head of the FABIA Product Marketing Department

“We monitor these trends very carefully. Besides safety and design, we paid particular attention to extending the portfolio of new technologies and driver assist systems when we were modernising the ŠKODA FABIA,” says Stephanie Labussiere-Metz, head of the FABIA Product Marketing Department. “This enables us to offer our customers technologies that have not previously been available in our cars of this class as they were the exclusive domain of those owning higher-end vehicles.”

A team led by Jiří Hadaščok, one of the brand’s exterior design coordinators is responsible for brushing up the ŠKODA FABIA’s design.

Jiří Hadaščok
brand’s exterior design coordinator

HOW LONG DID YOU WORK ON THE CAR’S NEW FACE?

J.H.: Any new project, including a facelift, must follow a strict timeline to meet the market launch deadline. The design process is a thread running throughout the development of a new model. An all-encompassing activity, it takes dozens of months and lasts right up to the production stage. However, the timeframe from the first drafts to the solid final design of this model was around ten months.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO REVISIT YOUR PAST WORK? DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS ENHANCING YOUR BABY WITH THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT, OR IS IT A NECESSARY REJUVENATION?

J.H.: We designers can always spot areas that could be improved. Obviously, creative juices can run more freely when we’re faced with a brand-new model, but even here we seldom hit on the right design at the first attempt. It usually takes months to fine-tune the final look. With a facelift project, most parts of the car are simply a given, and the redesign of modified components must stay in line with those parts while moving the overall design forward. In some respects, designing a facelift is more challenging than designing a brand-new car. And modernising a model like the third-generation ŠKODA FABIA, already an enormously successful car, always comes with a great deal of responsibility and motivation.

WHAT SORT OF IMPRESSION DO YOU BELIEVE THE MODERNISED FABIA WILL MAKE?

J.H.: We at ŠKODA Design strive to design cars for all kinds of customers. I believe that the facelift will be an elegant breath of fresh air. As usual with the ŠKODA FABIA, this car will be appreciated both by sports-minded customers and by those who like a chic design. Bearing in mind that practicality, roominess, and 'Simply Clever' solutions are par for the course in our vehicles, I hope that this modernised vehicle will also be attractive to young families with children.

WAS THE MODERNISATION OF THE FABIA THE WORK OF THE SAME TEAM OF DESIGNERS WHO HAD COME UP WITH THE ORIGINAL VERSION?

J.H.: Our team is constantly expanding. With over a hundred people from twenty-five different countries, we want our people to rotate across various projects. We look for new ideas and methods that, under the guidance of the chief designer, we then coalesce into a uniform and distinct design language. The FABIA’s new look was largely designed by a team of people different from the original one. However, as those of us working for ŠKODA Design consider mutual cooperation to be highly important, we always consult new ideas and pitch them to the studio’s broader staff. Everyone can voice their opinion and have a say in the end result. Teamwork is always the name of the game.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE CAR’S DESIGN HIGHLIGHTS?

J.H.: We have managed to emphasise the car’s sporty and sleek features while also underscoring the purity of its crystalline design. The headlamps, the crisper radiator grille and the new front bumper have completely changed the character of the car’s fascia, and the rear light clusters make ŠKODA’s signature C-shaped taillights stand out even more than ever before. The rear bumper has also been reworked and new designs have been added to the range of wheels.

WHAT WOULD YOU WISH FOR THE NEW FABIA AS IT MAKES ITS WAY INTO THE WORLD?

J.H.: My wish is that little boys will turn their heads and little girls will point at it as it drives down the street, that drivers will enjoy driving it, and that all passengers experience the sheer joy of a drive that brings a smile to their face.