The design story behind the creation of the Czech manufacturer’s new third-generation family hatchback
Matt Burt
23 September 2014

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.”

Our Verdict

Skoda Fabia 2007-2014

Is the Skoda Fabia good enough to challenge for top slot in a sector packed with talented competition?

23 September 2014
sorry, I do. I know a lot of folks think it is dull but I see it as a sharper, cleaner shape that won't age quickly and with a more pleasing interior and hopefully a better drive. The fact that it will hopefully start at city car money makes it more appealing. I liked the original Fabia but the second generation lost me; this is more like it.

23 September 2014
Shrub wrote:

sorry, I do. I know a lot of folks think it is dull but I see it as a sharper, cleaner shape that won't age quickly and with a more pleasing interior and hopefully a better drive. The fact that it will hopefully start at city car money makes it more appealing. I liked the original Fabia but the second generation lost me; this is more like it.

I like the simple, functional shape and lack of superfluous body creases: super-simple, as the designer might say. In the earlier Autocar piece on the new Fabia, there was some tosh concerning upmarket aspirations signalled by the chrome trim on the grille. As far as I can recall, each generation of Fabia has had chrome trim around the grille (apart from the "sporty" variants, where it was blacked out.)

23 September 2014
The previous version. The dullest update of an already dull car. How can this possibly complete with the Fiesta which is in it's seventh year.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

23 September 2014
It's a neat and sensible little car. But comparing its rear lights to Czech Bohemia crystal??? This is super-ludicrous!

24 September 2014
Which is just what you would expect of what is supposed to be a cheap vehicle. Even the dirty mid-blue shown in the illustrations is remarkably like the colour shown in the Dacia advertisements.

The big problem is that, in the Dacia era, the Fabia is not particularly cheap. Are the VW Group doing a Tesco and falling victims to pride?

25 September 2014
Great car, looks classy and sharp!
Not everyone want a spotty faced oiks idea of a car with o-60 of minus three seconds and a four hundred mile an hour top speed.
The vast majority of Autocar readers are more grown up than that.
I shall certainly buy the estate version when it becomes available.
The build quality will be top notch, customer satisfaction with Skoda is better than Audi or BMW. The engineering is at least as good and the prices far less. Well done Skoda

 

 
 
 

26 September 2014
Outside it reminds me of the Mk1 VW Golf, which is a huge complement. Sadly the interior looks like every VW/Skoda/Audi and would cause me to fall asleep at the wheel. I would like to see something more basic and functional inside; stylish and plain, like the Mk1 Golf.

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