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Skoda Fabia taps into Czech emotion

Style rules: Skoda's goal was to inject more emotion into the design of the new-generation Fabia.

Injecting more of a national look helped shape Skoda’s third-generation Fabia


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24 Oct 2014


SKODA sought to rediscover some of the original Fabia’s aesthetic purity when creating the completely redesigned TD series hatch due in Australia in about a year.

Using elements reminiscent of Bohemian Crystal in the lighting and taut surfacing, Skoda Auto exterior designer Dalibor Pantucek told GoAuto the goal was to inject more emotion within the Fabia’s established styling language.

While the outgoing model is narrow and tall with an upright windscreen and floating roof design, the stylists took advantage of the newcomer’s extra width and lower, sleeker silhouette to inject more personality and feeling.

“The previous car is full of practicality but we wanted to also express more emotion – emotion meets functionality,” he said.

Calling it the first production Skoda to really emphasise the company’s new design themes as previewed by this year’s Geneva Motor Show Vision C concept, the Mk3 Fabia uses taut surface lines and tension to help create a more muscular looking vehicle.

With some 90mm of extra width to play with, it gave Mr Pantucek’s team more freedom to be expressive with the front-end lighting, infusing some of that Bohemian Crystal feeling within the lenses to help convey a message of fine craftsmanship.

“It’s a celebration of the Czech glassmaker’s skill,” he said.

The headlights together with big bumper-mounted fog-lights are meant to create a four-leaf clover lighting effect when viewed at night, to convey a sense of “good luck”, according to Mr Pantucek.

“And what we call the wing line running along the side of the car further emphasises the muscular and plays with the light and shadow like a dynamic sculpture,” he said.

Mr Pantucek revealed that he is particularly proud of the rear end’s cleanness, from the crystal-effect tail-lights that had to be aerodynamically designed to cut air turbulence, to the diffuser-free bumper that has been sculptured so as to not need one.

“The back bumper is so balanced it does not need a diffuser to help break up any bulk. It’s also the same with the lack of visible exhaust – it’s so clean it doesn’t need any.” While agreeing that new Fabia is an evolution of the old, there are almost no details that are identical – even the roof that can be configured in a contrasting colour to the rest of the car no longer ‘floats’ now the A-pillars are also painted the same hue, when before they were always black to help create the illusion of a detached turret.

It is part of a personalisation program created to woo younger buyers. The Fabia’s wheels, mirror cappings, dashboard and steering-wheel trim surrounds can also be presented in matching or contrasting colours.

Additionally, the windscreen is at a faster angle than before – enhancing aerodynamics – while the grille is now much longer and with vertical bars that are mirrored within the lower portions of the larger headlights’ internal lenses.

“That whole headlight detailing… is meant to evoke the human eye,” Mr Pantucek said.

The element he is most proud of is the finely cut bonnet creases, which he said were painstakingly difficult to get right. They also presented challenges from a manufacturing point of view, but the designer insists they help convey a sense of crystalline craftsmanship and quality.

From initial sketches to final sign-off, the Fabia’s design process took nearly three years, and was undertaken at the Skoda HQ at Mlada Boleslav.

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