IN a significant nod to the anti-diesel lobby which is currently sweeping Europe, Skoda's latest Fabia models - due to be launched later this year - will not have any oil-burners in the line-up.
The company has decided to restrict the choice of engines to one litre, three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol power units with outputs of 60, 70, 95 or 110hp.
The Czech company claims: "By concentrating on sophisticated petrol engines for its drivetrain portfolio, Skoda is paying careful consideration to the requirements of the target groups in the small car segment. Boasting further improved economy and exceptional emissions performance, the state-of-the-art three-cylinder power units are on a par with frugal diesel engines for fuel efficiency."
The current range includes several diesel variants using either 90 or 110bhp power units so the decision to concentrate on a petrol-only line-up for the facelifted range is a significant one and is a move that other makers may well follow given the slump in diesel sales as a result of the current furore over supposed harmful emissions.
The Czech carmaker's popular hatchback and estate models are being given a new look and a range of new driver assistance systems. They will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show next month but are not due to go on sale until the second half of this year.
The new model will have restyled front and rear sections and be available with LED head and rear lights for the first time, as well as a more refined interior.
The choice of alloy wheels has been extended including the addition of 18-inch wheels for the hatchback while the redesigned instrument cluster, new trim strips for the dashboard and two-tone finishes for the seats update the interior.
Skoda has expanded the choice of driver assistance systems available in the new range and new features will include a Blind Spot Detection feature, a Rear Traffic Alert system monitors and an automatic lighting system which switches the headlights to low beam as soon as oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead are detected.
The latest infotainment system will include a 6.5-inch display with a range of mobile online services from Skoda Connect. Skoda's latest sat-nav system will offer online traffic information with real-time information on holdups.
And if all that's not enough, the latest Fabia will come with an even greater number of what its maker calls ‘Simply Clever' features including a gauge for measuring the tyre tread depth incorporated in an ice scraper which is concealed in the fuel filler flap.