SKODA launched an entirely new Fabia at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, but don’t be alarmed if you can’t tell the difference between this and the old one.
What Skoda now offers as a point of difference is Mirror Link, which “brings the intelligence of your smartphone into your car”.
The Fabia’s colourful little touchscreen can now upload all the apps from your phone, including sat-nav, and you can operate them through the screen. It’s a clever way of piggy-backing on technology you’ve already paid for.
Another system, Smart Gate, works the other way around, sending real-time data about your driving, fuel use and other parameters to your phone for you to study at your leisure at home.
It’s the kind of tech that will appeal to the phone-fascinated younger buyers the Fabia needs to target.
The design brief for the third-generation car was to give it more dynamic proportions and sharpen its lines and contours, but what this seems to have delivered is a highly familiar exterior that’s simply had all the rounded parts replaced with harder edges.
Apparently it’s slightly lower and wider, but still the same length.
This is not to say it’s an unattractive little car, just that it looks more like a facelift than an entirely new generation.
The Fabia shifted 3.5 million units of its first two generations, so it’s an important car for the Czech brand and plenty has been spent on upgrading the interior, improving the engines - which now use 17 percent less fuel across the board - and adding new technologies. All engine variants now come in at under five litres per 100km.
The core brand promises remain; having a bigger and more usable interior than competitors, and the most voluminous boot in the class.
Use of more lightweight materials has also brought the weight of the Fabia under 1000kg, which helps with fuel economy and, Skoda claims, improved handling.
New safety tech includes Front Assist with City Emergency Brake, a system we already know well from its not so distant cousin, the VW Golf.