Skoda's Fabia light hatch and wagon range has now entered a new generation, with new sheetmetal, new engines, new technology and an evolved platform transforming the Czech five-door from drab to fab.
And the price of entry remains the same despite the myriad improvments, with the manual-only base 66TSI costing $15,990 drive away (a price that's expected to last at least until the end of 2015).
The wagon comes at a $1150 premium, and the auto-equipped 81TSI is priced at $20,240 drive away.
Skoda's designers have nixed the old car's organic bodywork for a crisp, edgy design that's as aesthetically pleasing as its German cousin the Volkswagen Polo. Those design themes continue into the cabin.
Inside, Skoda has equipped the new Fabia range with a 6.5-inch infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring as standard, and it's one of the first cars in Australia to boast such a feature.
Both systems mirror the function of your smartphone (whether it be a late-model iPhone or Android phone) on the screen as long as your phone is compatible and plugged in via the car's USB port.
Through it you can get access to your messages, listen to streaming audio services via your data connection AND access an integrated sat-nav system. Voice assistants like Apple’s Siri will work through the system.
Autonomous emergency braking is also standard across the range, along with rear parking sensors. There's no availability of frontal parking sensors or a reversing camera, however.
Both the 66TSI and 81TSI get cloth upholstery and a leather-bound steering wheel as standard, along with air conditioning, power windows and a trip computer.
Cruise control is only standard on the 81TSI, and only available on the 66TSI if you opt for the $1300 Travel Pack - which also brings 16-inch alloys, LED daytime running lamps and a fatigue detection system.
The 81TSI features an optional Sports Pack, which adds a 15mm lower sports suspension, front foglamps, LED daytime running lamps and the fatigue monitoring system for $1200.
Both models can be had with the two-tone Colour Concept exterior scheme, which brings a contrasting colour for the roof, A-pillar, mirror casings and wheels to help your Fabia stand out in traffic.
Go for the Premium Sports Pack in the 81TSI ($2600), and you also get a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, privacy glass, keyless ignition, digital radio, climate control, dusk-sensing headlamps and rain-sensing wipers.
Either model can be had as a hatch or wagon, a unique selling point in the light car category.
Able to take 505 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats in place, the Fabia wagon is the class-leader when it comes to boot space. Fold the rear seats down and that expands to 1370L.
The hatch can take a commendable 305 litres, swelling to 1125L with the seats down.
Both feature integrated shopping bag hooks and a flexible partition for smaller objects, though only the hatch gets a dual-position parcel shelf that's designed to hold light bags.
The 66 TSI draws power from a Euro 6-compliant 1.2 litre turbocharged petrol four, which produces 66kW of power and 160Nm of torque.
Power goes to the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission with no automatic available, despite the Polo offering the same engine in automatic and manual guise.
Conversely, the 81TSI is only offered with an automatic, the VW Group's ubiquitous twin-clutch 7-speed DSG.
It produces 81kW of power and 175Nm of torque from its 1.2 litre turbo, and consumes 4.8 l/100km on the combined cycle - just like the 66TSI.
15-inch wheels are standard fare for both (steel for the 66TSI, alloy for the 81TSI), though the Travel Pack adds 16-inch alloys for the 66TSI and the Sports Pack brings 17-inch alloys for the 81TSI.
The Sports Pack also nets the 81TSI a firmer and lower (by 15mm) sports suspension.
The 2016 Skoda Fabia range is on sale now, with drive-away pricing listed below. Skoda Australia has pledged to hold that drive away price at least until the end of the year.
- Fabia 66TSI: $15,990
- Fabia 81TSI: $20,290
- Travel Pack (66TSI only): $1300
- Travel Pack + Colour Concept (66TSI ony): $1600
- Sports Pack (81TSI only): $1200
- Sports Pack + Colour Concept (81TSI only): $1200
- Premium Sports Pack (81TSI only): 2600
- Metallic/pearl paint: $500
- Panoramic sunroof: $1000
- Satellite navigation: $950