Skoda set out to make its new Fabia more visually appealing without sacrificing practicality. Exterior designer Dalibor Pantucek tells Autocar how it was done.
What have you tried to achieve with the new Fabia’s design?
“We have applied the design DNA seen on the Vision C concept. The Fabia has to be fresh, simple and have a very strong character. It should also be timeless – we’re not looking for any unnecessary decoration that could date. We need a combination of emotion and practicality. It has to remain functional and to have a big luggage compartment, lots of space and still be a family orientated brand.”
What are the key design elements that give the car its character?
“We want to bring more muscle to the package and give the car more of an attractive presence on the road. One of the main features is the shoulder line, which has an undercut, something that comes from Vision C. It gives the car a more dynamic look. The nose is another key element; we developed side lines on the bonnet that bring a little bit more muscle and stretch the appearance of the car.”
How important is this current trend for reduction in car design?
“We always try to reduce details to minimum, to give the car a fresh, modern, timeless design. We’re always joking that we’re not designing the Christmas tree, which is full of decoration but then thrown away in January. We have to think about how the car will look on the road in ten years. The car should be super-simple, but with smart little touches to bring some life and emotion.”
Skodas have a reputation for practicality, but how do to marry this with appealing design?
“The car should be super-simple, but with smart little touches to bring some life and emotion. It needs strong character and perfect proportions. Achieving all of this is super-challenging for us. An example can be found on the rear bumper: we want to keep the design super simple without disturbing anything, so you’ll see that there is a very gentle indication of a diffuser, but it is in body colour as opposed to black as it is on some other cars. When cars have a black diffuser, it is often because the design is bottom-heavy and they need to put something in to break it up. The design of this car is so well balanced that we can afford to not have it.”
What are the main influences behind Skoda design?
“Our main inspiration is Czech Bohemia crystal. We try to give the car something special that we can be proud of; it’s not like some global design. The theme is influencing the sharp edges and precise lines; the front and rear lights in particular are inspired by it.”
How important are the customer personalisation options to the new Fabia?
“It is the next quite important feature for us as we continue with this evolution of the cars. So we still have the colour-divided roof, the multi-coloured wheels, exchangeable mirrors and some exchangeable elements of the dashboard and steering wheel. This is basically the first Skoda that you can really customise – you can swap the colours so it brings a little bit of style to the car.”