We’ve now driven this car – read our full Skoda Fabia Estate review for more details.
What’s this then?
It’s the all-new Skoda Fabia estate.
It’s smarter, roomier and more efficient than the outgoing model, and also includes some funky new technology that’ll appear in the next generation of Volkswagen Group’s small cars, including the next Polo.
Pretty much everything. From the design to the underpinnings (which are based on the MQB platform that is used for everything from the latest Audi A3 to Volkswagen Golf), it doesn’t share much at all with its slightly gawky-looking predecessor (scroll to the bottom of this page to see a glimpse of the old one).
The big news for people who need a small-but-roomy car to move the family about is that the boot space is impressive – 530 litres with the seats up, or 1,395 litres with it down – which means you can fit objects up to 1.55 metres long into the load bay.
Because Skoda really knows its stuff when it comes to practicality, the boot sill is only 61cm off the ground – impressively low and it should make heaving IKEA furniture or BQ gardening specials into the boot easier than with most cars. You’ll also be able to order an adjustable boot floor, giving you two layers of boot space – perfect for separating wet hiking gear from dry bedding, for example.
The boot is 25 litres bigger than the previous Fabia estate, and for comparison, the Volkswagen Golf has a 380-litre boot space. OK, the Fabia estate is, well, an estate, but we reckon it’ll cost a whole lot less…
The new Fabia estate’s interior is 21mm wider than the previous version which is good news – an occasional criticism of the old car is that driver and front-seat passenger would be slightly closer together than is ideal – leading to an occasional accidental thigh-brushing when changing gear.
What’s this about new technology?
The Fabia will be one of the first Volkswagen Group cars to come with something called MirrorLink and SmartGate technology. MirrorLink simply lets you access some smartphone apps using the car’s built-in touchscreen – we’re promised this will include navigation apps.
SmartGate will let you download and store vehicle data on an app on your smartphone – we’re hoping this will include long-term fuel economy stats, giving you the chance to brag about your eco-driving skills in the pub.
What’s under the bonnet?
A range of three small petrols and three small diesels, all of which meet the latest round of European emissions regulations, called EU6.
In terms of petrols, the Fabia will be produced with engines ranging from 74hp to 108hp, and the diesels (which will all be three-cylinder units), will punt you along with between 74hp and 104hp. No word on engine sizes yet, but expect things to range from 1.0-1.2 litres, and you’ll be able to choose between manual and DSG automatic gearboxes.
The factory will also produce a GreenLine model (that’s Skoda’s ultra-efficient trim level), which will get about 76mpg – impressive! It’s worth noting that Skoda UK hasn’t confirmed exactly which engines will make it to the UK, however. The good news that the new Fabia estate is up to 55kg lighter than the old one, despite being bigger – the wheels are 30mm further apart widthways, and 5mm further apart lengthways.
What about safety?
Being a Volkswagen Group car, you’ll be able to add Front Assistant with City Emergency Braking, which automatically detects imminent collisions and performs emergency stops. There’s also the reassuring multi-collision brake system, which keeps the brakes on if you have a crash so you don’t roll across the carriageway into another smash.
All UK models will have tyre-pressure monitors as standard, and you’ll also be able to get a driver fatigue detection system, hill-hold control and up to six airbags, as well as a system that uses the brakes to keep the car tracking true around corners.
The options list will get some boxes to tick that you only previously got on higher-end cars. These include keyless entry and ignition, a panoramic glass sunroof, ‘new generation air conditioning’ – which is said to regulate air temperature as well as direction of the air streams in the car –, and electric (not hydraulic) power steering.
When can I have one?
It’s expected to go on sale towards the start of 2015, or you can take a look at it at the Paris Motor Show, running from 4 to 19 October 2014.
In a line…
More space, more class and more tech – should be a winner.