What is it?
We've had two tastes of the new Skoda Fabia so far. On both occasions, the Czech Fiesta-fighter came in for high praise for its generous and well-appointed cabin, comfortable ride and willing performance. This is our first go in one in the UK, though: it's a left-hand drive, 83bhp, 1.4-litre model.
What's it like?
Although there wasn't a lot to be critical of about the last Fabia, to these eyes it always looked awkward and bland. The new one is a big improvement; it's still not going to tempt many out of their Puntos, Clios and Minis, but with blacked-out A- and B-pillars, an expressive Skoda 'face' and a roof and door-mirrors you can have painted white or cheque, it's a million times more interesting to behold than the last one.
On the inside, the improvements continue. Formerly among the largest superminis on sale, this new Fabia is actually only 22mm longer than the last; that actually makes it shorter than a new Corsa, Punto and a 207.
That's because Skoda has chosen to expand it upwards rather than outwards. This Fabia is 50mm taller than the car it replaces, and the difference that makes to the feeling of interior spaciousness is remarkable. From within it actually feels like a car from the class above; that's partly to do with the generosity of adjustment in the driving position, partly the impressive material cabin quality, and partly the extra headroom.