New Skoda Fabia spied in production panelling for first time

Latest Skoda Fabia supermini is due to arrive later this year – and our spy photographers have spotted a mule in sporty Monte Carlo trim

Skoda is gearing-up for the launch of its fourth-generation Fabia and this is the first time we’ve seen the new supermini in its production bodywork. The covers will officially come off later in the year,

The spy shots reveal that the Fabia’s track and wheel arches are wider than the old model’s, while its radiator grille has grown in size, which helps to give the hatchback a more imposing presence. However, the car’s roofline remains relatively tall at the rear, as the Fabia still needs to accommodate two adults on the back bench in relative comfort.

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These latest images also confirm that Skoda will offer its Monte Carlo trim-level on the new Fabia, adding even more sporty styling tweaks. The red mule features winglets on the front bumper, wider side skirts, a deeper rear diffuser and a larger tailgate spoiler. Production cars will also come with larger alloy wheels and sports seats.

Skoda will also move the Fabia to the MQB A0 platform as part of the update. Its sister vehicles, the SEAT Ibiza, Audi A1 and Volkswagen Polo, have already made the jump to this newer platform which will bring a major hike in technology, with Volkswagen latest MIB 3.0 infotainment system appearing for the first time. 

It’s likely that some versions of the Fabia will make do with a 6.5-inch infotainment display, but UK models will probably be offered with a choice of eight-inch and 9.2-inch configurations.

Despite the fresh underpinnings, though, the new Fabia’s cabin should be a similar size to the current car’s. Skoda recently launched the Scala to cater to those who need a little more space, so the brand has no reason to upside its supermini to that car’s proportions.

However, the Fabia will still offer enough room to remain one of the more spacious cars in its class – and moving to MQB should bring gains in soundproofing and noise isolation, making the new Fabia’s cabin a more refined place on the move.

The current Fabia was introduced at the end of 2014, so a replacement wouldn’t normally be due until the end of this year. However, speaking exclusively to Auto Express back in 2019, the company’s former boss Bernhard Maier explained how Skoda pressed on with the development of the Mk4 model to hasten the switch to MQB. 

Maier told us: “Yes, of course, we’re trying to push a bit more quickly. If you talk about the cars that are linked to my personal motivation, it’s the Karoq, it’s the Scala, it’s the Kamiq, it’s the Octavia, the now-refreshed Superb, by all means the MEB electric car [Enyaq iV] – and it will be the Fabia as well.” Then he added: “I just last week drove the first prototype of the Fabia, on MQB A0. I can tell you already that I can’t wait to bring that car to market.”

New Skoda Fabia: engines and drivetrains

Under the bonnet, the next-generation Fabia will likely drop the current car’s weakest MPI engine (at least in the UK), along with the aging 1.2-litre TSI unit. Instead, the core of the range will be powered by Volkswagen’s newest 1.0-litre three-cylinder TSI engines, with outputs of either 94bhp or 114bhp.

Volkswagen’s ubiquitous 148bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with cylinder deactivation is also likely to feature – and it’s equally conceivable that higher-end Fabias might get mild-hybrid tech from the Volkswagen Group as this filters down from family cars such as the Golf and new Octavia.

Engineers across the different brands have been working on cheaper 12V systems that could be offered alongside the forthcoming 48V configurations. There are no plans for a plug-in version of the car, though, because the complexity, cost and compromises involved in packaging batteries into such a small model remain prohibitive.

Senior Skoda sources told us to expect the Fabia to make its public debut in early 2021, but the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show next year could change Skoda’s timeline. Still, UK sales starting by next summer are expected. Prices should rise slightly, with a starting figure of around £12,500.

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