With the capacity to seat four, or five at a pinch, it’s a boon to find also that the Skoda’s usefully shaped boot swallows 300 litres, 40 litres more than before and ahead of anything else in the class. There are no clever new storage solutions, but the Fabia’s boot does have useful shopping bag hooks, a basket for loose items and two positions for the parcel shelf.
The rear seats lower to a true horizontal, but require two-stage operation (the squabs must first be folded forward and the head restraints removed) and there remains a lip between boot floor and lowered seat backs. The driver’s seat adjusts for height and the steering column for both reach and rake. This is nothing new, yet as all our test drivers found a naturally comfortable, relaxed seating position, we can’t help but conclude that Skoda has excelled in this most basic of areas. Our only criticism is the seats’ lack of lateral support.
The cabin architecture draws heavily on that of the Roomster, which means familiar VW-sourced switchgear, arranged efficiently but with a shade more idiosyncracy than you’d find in a Polo. Everything is clear, easy to use and inoffensively designed, with touches of aluminium-look paint around the vents, dials and gearlever to lift the otherwise dark cabin. On close inspection, it’s clear that money has been spent on the tactile surfaces, while in other less conspicuous areas (the roof lining, for instance) the finish is less convincing. That said, in ambience and finish the new Fabia betters the previous VW Polo by some margin, squeezes ahead of the Clio and comes close to unseating the Corsa as an optimum supermini interior, even if it lacks the flair of a Fiesta's.