Skoda’s concerted fettling of the exterior has delivered some modest advantages on the inside, but this is unlikely to be the first thing you notice.
Instead, it’s the first-rate job that the firm has done on the fit, finish and all-round appearance of the dashboard. The new Fabia epitomises Skoda’s slow march upmarket.
Although it lacks the soft-touch plastics of a Volkswagen Polo, this is not merely a functional cabin (as its dutiful predecessor certainly was) but a ripened and fully realised cabin with an element of class about it.
So grown-up is it, in fact, that some buyers may query a lack of personality when compared with the design flair at work in something like a Mini. But that would be to quibble with Skoda’s pragmatic approach to interior design, and most Fabia owners probably won’t miss something as fickle as visual flair.
As for the standard equipment on the Fabia, choosing one trimmed in S specification comes with steel wheels, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, front electric windows, DAB radio, a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity. Upgrade to the SE model and you will find 15in alloys, air conditioning, rear parking sensors, a 6.5in touchscreen infotainment system and six-speaker audio system.
The Skoda Fabia Colour Edition adds some funky colour combinations 16in alloy wheels and cruise control and LED day-running-lights, while the Monte Carlo edition comes with 16in alloys, a panoramic sunroof, sports seats and sporty attire. The range-topping SE-L models come with cruise control and keyless entry and start, and climate control.
Beyond the pleasingly sharp-suited facade is the usual laudible attention to ergonomic detail. Volkswagen DNA virtually guarantees this, although it comes embellished in the Fabia with a number of new 'Simply Clever' advantages, including an ice scraper in the fuel filler cap, a rubbish bin in the passenger’s door, bigger bottle holders all round and a shopping holder to prevent items from moving around in the boot.
As for space, the interior feels ample enough for a five-door supermini. A 2mm increase in rear elbow room seems a ludicrously scant claim, given the extra physical width of the model, and it doesn’t quite fit the subjective appreciation of what seems like a comfortably bigger car than its forebear.
Couples and small families are the catchment area here, and neither will feel cause to complain. Only adults who frequently travel in the Fabia’s back seats may find fault with the claim that this is the most practical car in the supermini class.