New Skoda Fabia previewed

New Skoda Fabia previewed

Official design sketch points the way for third-gen Czech supermini; new options to include dual-clutch automatic gearbox

Skoda has revealed a sketch of the all-new Fabia, officially unveiling the direction of the supermini’s reworked design for the first time.

Borrowing heavily from the styling accents already seen on the new Octavia, the third generation of Fabia will benefit from the sharply styled panels, shorter overhangs and better shoulder line definition that has become a hallmark of the VW Group’s current output.

Still just under four metres in length, the supermini retains its sub-compact credentials but has swollen 90mm in width to apparently incorporate new axles front and back. Along with the wider wheels already snapped by our spy photographers, this ought to lend the car a broader stance and enhanced on-road presence.

Although few genuine risks have been taken with the model’s crisp new appearance, a 30mm drop in height should mean the Fabia exudes at least a smidgen more athleticism than the upright model it replaces.

A more dynamic theme ought to continue underneath where Skoda is believed to have used elements of Volkswagen’s latest modular platform tech to underpin a new Euro 6-rated engine line-up, comprised of two petrol units and the latest all-aluminium, 1.4-litre three-cylinder diesel unit.

The latter, a recent addition to the Polo, is understood to emit just 82g/km in a 74bhp Greenline variant – a car likely to be capable of more than 90mpg. Even the most powerful 103bhp iteration, mated to a standard five-speed manual, will emit less than 95g/km.

Furthermore, it’s anticipated that customer demand will see Skoda offer the mid-specification 88bhp version with a seven-speed DSG – the first time an automatic transmission has been offered in an oil-burning Fabia

Also new to the range will be the entry-level 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol motor, making its logical migration from the Citigo in both 59bhp and 74bhp flavours.

Given the obvious weight-saving potential of the smaller engine and lighter five-speed manual gearbox, the cheapest Fabia is almost certain to be the lightest, with the new model predicted to fall marginally below 1000kg.

See spy shots of the new Skoda Fabia

Modest reductions made to the kerb weight ought to help Skoda extract the best from the chassis, which is understood to use the same MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension as its predecessor – albeit in realigned format to take account of the lower centre of gravity.

Torque vectoring, delivered via the XDS+ stability system, will potentially be a standard feature of every model – as will electric power steering.

The more familiar 1.2-litre TSI four-cylinder petrol engine rounds out the range, with a 109bhp version providing the gutsiest output.

Trim levels are thought to closely resemble the manufacturer’s current line-up, although naturally the latest tech available from VW Group’s latest modular template will be added.

Expect to see larger touchscreens made available in more expensive models, alongside the Mirror Link system that is capable of presenting a clone of your smartphone’s display.

Any new kit will be absorbed into an optimised interior. Skoda is certain to have exploited the Fabia’s newfound girth to best packaging effect with luggage capacity now understood to top the class at 330 litres.

A revamped dashboard will obviously feature, although it won’t stray too far from the sensibly arranged and utterly logical layout that has become a hallmark of the Czech manufacturer.

As previously forecast, Skoda will ditch the vRS following disappointing sales of its forbear, and a four-wheel-drive Fabia has already been ruled out.

However, Skoda will go someway to patching up the hole in its range with the introduction of a Monte Carlo edition – a ritzier trim variant already established elsewhere in the manufacturer’s range.

Expect to see a more aggressive use of two-tone colour schemes, along with the application of the bigger sills and rear spoiler that would previously have been the preserve of the range-topping vRS.

Unlike that model, the Monte Carlo is likely to be made available with the choice of any engine or gearbox – although it will offer buyers the chance to spec their car with a 15mm lower ride height if they want to further enhance the more aggressive appearance.

The new Skoda Fabia will make its official debut at the Paris motor show in October, prior to going on sale in early 2015.

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