The car you see here beneath the digitally themed camouflage is the fourth-generation Skoda Fabia. Although it is still six months away from a planned UK launch, we can confirm that it is very much a new car, right down to its platform – the same MQB A0 structure used by its Volkswagen Group siblings, the Volkswagen Polo and Seat Ibiza.
The new platform replaces the structure used by the third-generation Fabia launched in 2014 – the PQ26. It is in essence a complete reset for Skoda’s most affordable model, now that the Citigo has been retired from the Czech car maker’s line-up.
The adoption of a new platform is only the start of a wide range of changes, though.
The Fabia also receives a number of other key developments, including greater structural rigidity, a revised range of engines and a more advanced electronics architecture with more contemporary infotainment and connectivity functions, among others, all of which promise to increase the competitiveness of the Fabia, not only alongside its popular Volkswagen Group siblings but also against other compact hatchback favourites such as the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208 and Renault Clio.
Not that it has ever really lacked buyer appeal. Since its introduction in 1999, the Fabia has racked up more than 4.5 million sales worldwide, making it the second most popular Skoda model after the Octavia and a key player in its sales growth over recent years.
The prototypes we drove all wore a liberal covering of camouflage wrap. However, the new model does appear to include many of Skoda’s signature design elements, including a prominent grille, angular headlights and a characteristic kick within the rear side window ahead of the C-pillar.
Dimensionally, it has grown: length is up by 111mm at 4108mm and width increases by 48mm to 1780mm. The changes are accompanied by a 94mm- longer wheelbase and wider tracks – both of which play their part in providing the car with a distinctly more confident stance. Larger wheel housings also accommodate a new set of wheels that range from 14in to 18in.
Despite the Fabia’s larger dimensions, Skoda claims a best-in-class drag coefficient of 0.28, helped in part by additional underbody panelling and a newly developed spoiler mounted above the tailgate that helps to accelerate airflow across the roof.