Skoda has revealed an all-new version of the Fabia, and it’s much like you’d expect. It sits on the same VW Group MQB-A0 platform as the VW Polo, Audi A1 and Seat Ibiza, it comes with a range of inline-three and inline-four engines you’ve seen plenty of times before, and it’s more spacious thanks to a sizeable growth spurt.
However, there is one neat surprise - a door umbrella! Yep, the Fabia has adopted Skoda’s most famous feature, previously reserved for the Superb, Scala and Kodiaq. The brolly is neatly hidden in a special compartment on the driver’s door, ready to save you from a drenching. Especially handy for anyone living in the UK.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom VII may be the door umbrella-equipped car everyone remembers, but the Czech manufacturer was doing it two years prior with the Superb. VW later adopted the feature on the Phaeton, and more recently, Skoda has been expanding it to other models. Others like the Octavia get a less fancy arrangement featuring a brolly stowed under the front passenger seat.
The umbrella is one of 43 ‘Simply Clever‘ practical additions available in the Fabia, including “classics” like the little ice scraper/tyre tread depth gauge hidden behind the fuel filler cap, and new additions including a flexible storage strap in the boot.
The cabin looks a lot plusher and neater than the weirdly aggressive designs found in the Fabia’s platform mates, and we’re particularly digging the ‘pods’ for the outermost vents and the embossed Fabia script on the outside of the instrument cluster. The two-spoke steering wheel won’t be to everyone’s tastes, though.
From the outside, it looks rather like the Octavia, with a similar grille arrangement. Speaking of which, Skoda is proudly boasting that the Fabia’s wheelbase is now longer than that of the original Octavia’s, giving more space for whoever’s in the back. The boot space meanwhile has grown by 50 litres to 380.
That entirely unexpected engine line-up we mentioned earlier includes a naturally-aspirated 1.0-litre inline-three available with either 64bhp or 79bhp, a turbocharged version of the same unit with 94bhp or 109bhp, and a range-topping 1.5-litre ‘TSI Evo’ inline-four making 148bhp. The latter is available exclusively with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, but that makes for decent acceleration - it’ll crack 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds.
That’s as fast as it’ll get, as Skoda won’t be doing a vRS model. There will at least be a ‘Monte Carlo’ edition with sportier looks, though. And anyway, who needs hot hatch performance when you have a door umbrella?