SKODA'S smallest car, the Fabia hatchback, has put on a growth spurt for its fourth generation and now stretches further than opposition like Ford's Fiesta and the VW Polo.
It is also longer between front and rear wheels than the Skoda Octavia of 1996 which was judged a comfortably sized family car in its day.
At a length of 4,108mm, it exceeds the fourâmetre mark for the first time. Compared with its predecessor, the new Fabia is 111mm longer; its wheelbase has increased by 94mm to 2,564mm, and at 1,780mm, it is 48mm wider.
The outgoing Fabia had the largest boot in its segment but the new model's luggage space has increased to gigantic proportions. The new Fabia now offers 380 litres of storage space, which is 50 litres more than before. By folding down the rear seats, the capacity of the boot can be increased to 1,190litres.
The Czech company's engineers have reduced the new Fabia's drag coefficient to 0.28 (down from 0.32), setting arecord in the small car segment.
An important aerodynamic feature is a new type of cooling shutter in the front bumper's lower airinlet, which the Czech company is using for the first time in this vehicle segment. Actively adjustable slats automatically close when there is little need for cooling, improving aerodynamics and reducing fuel consumption.
Five engines from the Volkswagen Group's latest EVO generation will be available for the new Fabia, with power outputs ranging from 64bhp to 148bhp. Unusually, a bigger, 50-litre fuel tank is available as an option which, with four of the five power units, provides the capability for the latest model to cover more than 550 miles between refills.
The 1.5TSI with a power output of 148bhp is fitted with a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox as standard. The models delivering up to 94bhp are fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox, while there is achoice of a six-speed manual gearbox and an automatic seven-speed DSG for the 1.0TSI, producing 108bhp.
Inside, the Fabia is characterised by the free-standing infotainment display measuring up to 9.2inches and can also be fitted with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster for the first time.
Comfort features measure up to those found in higher-tier vehicles with optional items such as a heated windscreen and heated steering wheel making their Fabia debut.
On the safety front, the latest Fabia will be available with a range of the latest high-tech assistance systems including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeoing assistance, blind spot detection and parking assistance.
And as owners have come to expect from Skoda, there's a range of what the company calls 'Simply Clever' features including smartphone storage pockets, map, pen, card and coin holders, a folding, flexible storage compartment in the boot and a removable sun visor on the optional panoramic sunroof.
The new, fourth generation Fabia represents a significant shift up-market for Skoda. Details of the UK model line-up, prices and specifications have yet to be decided and it's not likely to arrive here before the end of the year - but when it does, it could be Czech-mate for the Fabia in the supermini sector.