VIDEO: Škoda Fabia

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The Škoda Fabia is a supermini car produced by Czech manufacturer Škoda Auto since 1999. It is the successor of the Škoda Felicia, which was discontinued in 2001. The Fabia was available in hatchback, estate (named Fabia Combi) and saloon (named Fabia Sedan) body styles at launch, and since 2007, the second generation is offered in hatchback and estate versions. The third generation Fabia was launched in 2015.

First generation (Typ 6Y; 1999–2007)

The first generation Fabia (given the internal type code 6Y) was officially presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1999 and production of this model started in October the same year. The estate version Fabia Combi was introduced in September 2000 at the Paris Motor Show. It was the first model to use the Volkswagen Group's A04 platform, which it shared with the Volkswagen Polo Mk4 and SEAT Ibiza. In the United Kingdom, for 2000, this car won What Car?'s "Car of the Year". The range started with the 1.0 8v Classic (which was cheaper than Volkswagen's smaller 3-door 1.0 Lupo when it went on sale) to the 1.9 PD TDi VRS.

Part of the Fabia's success was the fact that all of its mechanical parts were developed by or in conjunction with Volkswagen, but were offered in a package that is priced to undercut other models in the Volkswagen Group. The only traces of non-VW Škoda left in the Fabia are the 1.0 and 1.4 8v "MPI" engines, which were modifications to Škoda's own 1.3 engine, and were used in pre-Volkswagen Škodas such as the Estelle and Favorit.

In 2004 the Fabia received a facelift, with changed front fog lights and grille, slightly different rear lights, new steering wheel and revised specification levels. The VRS also had its final gearbox ratio changed. Most importantly, the Sport model was added, with the 75 PS (55 kW) 1.4 petrol being offered with a manual transmission. This engine was quickly dropped for the 1.2 HTP, which while not as powerful, was a much more free revving engine giving a more sporty feel and flexible drive. The Sport also had its specification changed to include red seat belts and sunset privacy glass from the B pillar to the rear.

Again in 2006, the Fabia range was shown at the Geneva Motor Show had minor specification revisions. These include a center rear headrest, a central three-point seatbelt and an additional four bodywork colours. The 1.4 16v 75 PS (55 kW) petrol engine was replaced with a more powerful 1.4 16v 80 PS (59 kW) engine.

The term MPI (Multi-Point Injection) is used by Škoda to differentiate from 16v models and (in the case of the Octavia Mk2) FSI engines. The 75 PS (55 kW) version of the 1.4 16v was only mated to Volkswagen's four-speed automatic transmission with fuzzy logic operation until the addition of earlier Sport models which mated it with a manual transmission. The 1.4 8v was dropped in 2003. The Fabia's overall performance and fuel consumption figures fall behind other city cars and small family cars as it is larger and heavier. However, the 1.2 HTP (High Torque Performance) engine was developed specifically for the Fabia and offers better performance and fuel economy, and was later used in Volkswagen's own Polo due to its high acclaim. It was also the highest displacement 3 cylinder petrol engine until 2014 and BMW's 1.5 litre 3 cylinder turbo engine.

Second generation (Typ 5J; 2007–2014)

 The second generation Fabia (internal type code 5J) was officially presented at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2007 and was sold from April 2007. It still uses the PQ24 platform. The car is however slightly larger than its predecessor and takes styling cues from the Roomster, Škoda's small MPV. The exterior of the two cars, Roomster and Fabia, were designed simultaneously to create synergies by Thomas Ingenlath and Peter Wouda.

The estate variant was officially announced[ in August 2007 and was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2007.[ Compared with the first generation the new Combi is 7 mm (0.3 in) longer, 46 mm (1.8 in) higher and the boot has grown by 54 litres (to 480 litres total). The engine portfolio is the same as the hatchback version, without the 1.2 44 kW one.

The initial petrol engine line-up was a mixture of newer engines from Audi and some carry-overs from the outgoing model. In comparison to the 1st-generation Fabia, both basic 1.2-litre 3-cylinders gained 4 kW each: new power peak was 44 kW (60 PS), and 51 kW (70 PS). There was only a single 1.4-litre 16v petrol on this model, producing 63 kW (86 PS). The range-topping petrol engine was the 1.6-litre 4-cylinder with variable valve timing producing 77 kW (105 PS) . There was also an option to mate this engine with a 6-speed tiptronic transmission sourced from Aisin.

The diesel range featured the same 51 kW (70 PS) and 59 kW (80 PS) 1.4-litre Pumpe-Düse 3-cylinders from the predecessor model. The top-of-the-range diesel was a 1.9-litre Pumpe-Düse 4-cylinder producing 77 kW (105 PS).

The second generation Fabia trim levels were Classic, Ambiente, Sport and Elegance. In the UK the trim levels were called 1, 2, Sport, 3, and GreenLine (later S, SE, Elegance, and GreenLine). In India, the trim levels were Active, Classic, Ambiente and Elegance. All models sold within the EU were equipped with ABS, front passenger, driver and side airbags. Curtain airbags and ESC were available as an option.

Though the sedan body, and the VRS version were discontinued (the latter until facelift in 2010), the 2nd-generation Fabia offered variety of new choices. The GreenLine model was the most environmentally-friendly Fabia, with 59 kW 1.4-litre diesel 3-cylinder consuming 4.1 l/100 km, which is 109 g of CO2 per km. At the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) 2007 Škoda presented near-production-state design study of the Fabia Scout: a rugged version of the Fabia Combi. However, it was until May 2009 when this car finally started to roll off the production line in Mladá Boleslav. The new-generation Fabia featured a specific design element: a roof in different colour than the rest of the body was available as an option.

Third generation (Typ NJ; 2014–present)

 The third generation Fabia was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in October 2014, with sales starting in the following month. Production was launched prior to the end of August 2014 in Mladá Boleslav, with manufacturing of the estate version first occurring in December 2014. Due to the low sales of RS models from the previous model generation, a hot hatch variant is not planned for production.

The Mk3 Fabia - like the facelifted Mk5 Volkswagen Polo starting 2014 - underwent a major technical revision, being based on the PQ26 platform: a mixture of the PQ25 platform (Volkswagen Polo MK5 pre-facelift, 2009-2014) and the MQB platform, which is currently used by seven Volkswagen Group models. The chassis has been modified to "revert back to the Fabia’s original, first-generation design" by becoming 90 mm wider and 30 mm lower, resulting in more interior and boot space. Despite being 8 mm shorter, the Mk3 Fabia still offers more passenger room due to its extended wheelbase. Simultaneously, its weight has been reduced by 65 kg (143 lb). A similar approach was applied to the styling, according to Škoda designer Marko Jevtic: "It [the Mk3 model] has the qualities of the first Fabia, [...] We wanted its simplicity; we did not want to overload the design."

The Mk3 Fabia won the "Overall winner" and "Best small car" categories of the 2015 What Car? Car of the Year awards.

The 3rd generation Fabia now comes equipped with the Front assist safety system. It gathers data from a radar sensor to automatically warn the driver and apply the brakes at the possibility of a collision at certain speeds.

The powertrain selection for the Mk3 Fabia was borrowed from the current Mk5 Polo, although the missing 1.2 litre TDI engine was slated to be included in the fuel economy-oriented Greenline model that was due for release in late 2015. Instead, the Greenline name was dropped, in favour of using the TDI nameplate, and a newer inline-three 1.4 litre engine was put to use in the Diesel model instead, with two different levels of power output available. The 1.2 litre inline-three petrol engines from the Mk2 model were replaced by smaller but more efficient 1.0 litre engines, introduced from June 2017.



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