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Paris show: Skoda pens Fabia with lower, wider looks

Sketchy details: Skoda’s third-generation Fabia is slowly taking shape ahead of its Paris motor show reveal later this year.

Motorsport influence shapes next-gen Skoda Fabia ahead of Paris debut

22 Jul 2014

VOLKSWAGEN-OWNED Czech brand Skoda has released a sneak peek at its upcoming Fabia city hatchback, showing a concept that shakes off dowdy looks for a sports-honed makeover.

Released as a sketch before its debut at October’s Paris motor show, the re-penned, Volkswagen Polo-based Fabia borrows some of the design cues featured in the Octavia-based Vision C coupe, including a heavily kinked window line and sharp creases along its flanks.

According to Skoda, the new Fabia – due on sale in Australia in 2015 – is 90mm wider and 30mm lower than the current generation based on the Mark IV Polo platform, creating what the car-maker says are “harmonious proportions”.

It says its involvement in motorsport – Skoda campaigns a Fabia S2000 in the FIA-endorsed European Rally Championships – has also influenced the new hatchback’s design.

The new design evokes “more dynamics, passion and emotion” while keeping core parts of the Czech car-maker’s genes and character, such as the shallow notched grille.

Rumours suggest that this generation of the cheap Czech could also adopt Mini-style options for the exterior, including contrasting roof colours, restyled mirrors and more wheel options to allow buyers to individualise their car.

Skoda Australia currently offers the Monte Carlo styling pack as part of its line-up, but it could be joined by a greater range of design packages with the arrival of a new model.

“In addition, the Skoda Fabia now offers a completely new, versatile interior with individual options for customisation,” the car-maker says.

Skoda is expected to dip heavily into the parts bin of parent company Volkswagen to fit-out the interior of its Fabia, including upgraded infotainment systems and city-friendly technology such as autonomous emergency braking, that can either avoid or minimise a rear-end shunt.

The Fabia’s makeover is also expected to give the brand a leg-up in terms of safety, with the current car ranked as only four stars out of five according to independent testing from EuroNCAP.

Drivetrains in the current Skoda Fabia hatch and wagon range, released in 2012, is currently limited to a 77kW/175Nm turbocharged 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine for base models, or a 132kW/250Nm turbo- and supercharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine in RS models.

Engines are mated either to a five-speed manual gearbox, or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission depending on the variant.

Skoda’s Fabia has been little more than a bit player in the city car segment, competing against the likes of the strong-selling, value-driven Hyundai i20, Toyota’s Yaris, the Suzuki Swift and the soon-to-be-replaced Mazda2, selling fewer units than Nissan’s ailing Almera that was recently axed from the Japanese car-maker’s line-up.

In the first six months of this year, the Fabia range attracted 227 sales, well down on the i20’s 7736 sales over the same period.

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