The design of the new Škoda Fabia Combi proves that an estate car does not have to be a utilitarian vehicle with features dictated by practicality at the expense of elegance.
The design of the estate is derived from Škoda Fabia hatchback, with a totally new rear section.
The synthetic body-colored bumpers connect seamlessly to the radiator grille, clear headlights, and the rear section of the body. The bumpers give the car a highly distinguished appearance, improve aerodynamics reducing wind resistance and noise, and are strong enough to absorb impacts of up to 5 km/h without permanent damage.
The most vulnerable parts of the bumpers are protected by plastic strips, which are also found on the side panels of higher specification models starting with the Comfort.
Tight shut lines around the doors, bonnet and tailgate confirm the impressive accuracy and the overall quality of the fit and finish. The body is made from fully galvanised highly corrosion-resistant sheet steel, and comes with a ten-year manufacturer's warranty against rust perforation. The steel panels are of a different, precisely defined thicknesses which warranty the extraordinary strength and torsion rigidity.
The ŠkodaFabia Combi not only surpasses the competition with its luggage space but also by its passenger room. The comfort measure - the distance from the pedals to the back of the rear seat is 1870 mm - excellent for a car in this class. Even rear seat passengers have generous leg and elbow room (1392 mm rear) and there is more than adequate headroom (distance from floor to ceiling is 952 mm).
High level of active and passive safety
ŠkodaFabia Combi meets all the current safety standards for frontal, rear-end, roll-over or side impact in the counties where it is exported, and even meets standards which come into effect in the future. ŠkodaFabia Combi also meets the demanding requirements of the NCAP European test and, of course, all the Volkswagen Group new car safety standards, which in many cases are way above the international legal requirements. For example, crash tests were carried out at speeds of up to 64 km/h, even though the required standard requires crash-testing at a speed of only 48 km/h. This higher crash speed puts almost double the demands on the ability of the body to absorb energy and on the restraint systems.
When the airbag is activated the electronic system automatically cuts off the fuel pump, preventing a short circuit and the start or spread of fire, and the interior and hazard warning lights are activated simultaneously. The fuel tank is located in the safest place, in front of the rear axle.
Dependant on the engine type, ABS is standard or available as an option with a combination of MSR (drag torque regulation) or ASR (anti-spin regulation). The ŠkodaFabia Combi Elegance with a two litre petrol engine is offered with an electronic stability programme (ESP). Note: Standard equipment will vary between export markets and according to the regulations of each country.
Three specifications - Classic, Comfort and Elegance
ŠkodaFabia Combi offers its customers levels of comfort normally associated with cars in a higher class.
Every model from the Classic up has the latest electro-hydraulic power steering, driver airbag, tilt- and rake-adjustable steering wheel, immobiliser, rev counter with digital clock, asymmetrically split rear seats, fully carpeted luggage compartment and tailgate release from the driver seat. The "Slush" moulded dashboard has a pleasantly soft feel and it flows smoothly into the centre console. The large easy to read dials (in all models with a rev counter) have a green background light. There is an audible warning signal if the lights are left on. Another pleasing feature of the ŠkodaFabia Combi is the delayed courtesy lights, which come on automatically when the ignition key is removed and slowly dim when the doors are closed after a short delay. They also switch off automatically when the engine is switched on, or after 30 minutes if accidentally left on, preventing a flat battery. The heating and ventilation system includes a pollen filter and internal air re-circulation feature. There are numerous pockets and bins for storage of small items.
The Comfort also has double airbags, front fog lamps, protective side mouldings, body-colour door mirrors, height-adjustable driver seat, reading lamps in the front and rear, tinted windows with UV filters, electric front windows, on-board computer with outside temperature display, and remote fuel cap release and central locking with deadlocks.
The top-of-the-range model, the Elegance, is equipped with many additional features. The automatic air conditioning also cools the glovebox and a drinks holder. There are chrome highlights on the gear knob, door lock safety latches, and handbrake button. The handbrake also has a protective gaiter. Warning lights indicate if the doors are not closed properly or if the driver seat belt is not fastened. Other details which add to driver and passenger comfort include electric windows front and rear, pockets in all four doors and a light in the glovebox, remote control central locking, heated front seats, and a choice of beige or grey/black Onyx interiors. Windscreen washer nozzles are heated, and door mirrors and heated and electically adjustable. 14" light alloy wheels complete the picture.
Four petrol, two diesel engines
The ŠkodaFabia Combi has a wide range of engines: four petrol and two diesel. Almost all petrol engines fulfil the strictest EU 4 emissions standard, which will apply in EU countries from 2005. In some countries these cars are eligible for tax allowances. The car can be also supplied with engines that comply with the valid EU 2 standard. Diesel engines conform to EU 3.
The basic power unit for the Estate is the 1.4 litre petrol engine producing 50 kW/68 bhp and a maximum torque of 120 Nm at 2500 rev/min. The maximum speed is 164 km/h and the average consumption is 7.1 litres of 95 RON petrol per 100 km. The knocking sensor permits the use of cheaper 91 RON petrol with only a nominal reduction in performance. The engine complies with the EU 4 standard, but an EU 2 version is also available.
The next engine also has a displacement of 1.4 litres. It differs from the previous one in that it has two overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. It produces 55 kW/75 bhp and a maximum torque of 126 Nm at 3800 rev/min. The maximum speed is 170 km/h and average consumption is 6.7 l/100 km. In combination with automatic transmission this engine conforms to EU 3.
For exceptionally relaxed driving the ŠkodaFabia Combi is also available with the 55 kW petrol engine and automatic transmission: it is a four-speed automatic transmission with a hydrodynamic converter. In gears 3 and 4 the converter has a clutch lockup to transmit the drive force so there is no loss of performance. The automatic transmission electronic system works on the Fuzzy Logic principle: gear changes adapt to both road conditions and driving style.
The 1.4 litre power unit is also available in a more sporty version: it develops a maximum of 74 kW/101 bhp. ŠkodaFabia Combi with this engine can reach a maximum speed of 186 km/h and accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 11.6 sec. The average fuel consumption is 7.1 l/100 km.
The top power unit is the two-litre engine developing 85 kW/115 bhp, and a maximum torque of 170 Nm at 2400 rev/min. The ŠkodaFabia Combi with this engine is very dynamic: the maximum speed is 197 km/h, and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes 10.1 sec, which is a very impressive performance for a compact Estate. This engine complies with the strictest EU 4 standard and has an average consumption of 7.8 l/100 km on 95 RON petrol.
The ŠkodaFabia Combi gives the customer the choice of two diesel engines with the latest direct injection, both have a displacement of 1.9 litres.
The SDI engine produces 47 kW/64 bhp and a maximum torque of 125 Nm in the range 1600 to 2800 rev/min. The maximum speed is 158 km/h and average consumption is 4.8 l/100 km.
The top diesel power unit is the new TDI engine with high-pressure direct injection and pump nozzle system. It delivers 74 kW/101 bhp and supplies its greatest torque of 240 Nm at 1800 to 2400 rev/min. The engine has tremendous pulling power. A maximum speed of 187 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 11.6 sec. At the same time it is also incredibly economical: average consumption is only 4.9 l/100 km!
The chassis of the ŠkodaFabia Combi comes from the ŠkodaFabia. Its characteristic feature is its long wheelbase and wide front and rear track. This wide track has a positive impact on road holding and gives the car a powerful and sporty appearance with safe driving characteristics.
The front axle has MacPherson struts with lower wishbone arms and torsion stabiliser. The rear axle is a proven design: a compound link crank-axle with torsion stabiliser. The coil springs and shock absorbers have been strengthened and adapted for higher loads compared to those used in the ŠkodaFabia hatch.
Most of the car's electronic units (E-accelerator pedal, sensors in the engine, power steering control, automatic transmission, ABS, MSR, airbags and indicators are inter-connected via an innovative CAN bus. This provides rapid and safe exchange of digital data between the electronic management units.
The petrol engines, which fulfil the strictest EU 4 exhaust emissions law have two catalytic converters and two lambda probes which control and manage the combustion process. These engines are fitted with on board diagnostics (EOBD, European On Board Diagnosis). Any non-compliance in engine parts influencing exhaust gas components is signalled by warning lights on the instrument panel informing the driver that repairs are needed. The electronic memory makes it easy to diagnose and repair defects.
Photos: Skoda Auto