THE Skoda Fabia is maturing and has grown into a not-so-little supermini with big car features as it enters its fourth generation.
It is now 4.11 metres long - having broken the four metre mark for the first time - and comes with class-leading boot space of 380 litres.
Fold down the rear seats and that becomes 1,190 litres which makes the new Fabia nicely family friendly with more luggage space than the likes of the Ford Fiesta or the Volkswagen Polo.
The Fabia also has a flexible storage netting system fitted into the boot which is designed to hold luggage in place - another example of Skoda's practical approach to motoring.
Priced from £14,905 the latest Fabia is competitively pitched and the four trim line up will top out from £18,980 for high specification SE L models.
That's the version we have just grabbed an early drive in and the car was powered by a three cylinder 1.0-litre engine developing 110ps and mated to a seven-speed semi-automatic DSG transmission.
It has a lively performance and with a 0 to 62mph acceleration time 9.9 seconds and top speed of 127mph it is not only quicker than the previous model but feels and handles in a very sporty fashion.
Skoda has pushed the boat out with its new baby and the latest Fabia instantly impresses with an inch perfect ride in a car that is very well insulated from noise and bumps on the road.
The car we tried was a left-hand drive model and registered in Skoda's Czech homeland. In the UK it would have an on-the-road price of Â£20,330 with extras such as a fully digital instrument panel included in its equipment manifest.
In the UK standard features on the car include a 9.2-inch display screen with high-grade sat nav, lane assist, keyless entry and cruise control.
There's also dual-zone climate control, LED headlights and a full set of anti-collision systems.
There's also some of Skoda's ‘Simply Clever' additions such as an umbrella stowed in the driver's door armrest and an ice-scraper in the fuel flap.
Others making their debut on the new Fabia include a pen holder in the centre console, a removable cup holder and a storage compartment for the rear seat passngers.
Where the new Fabia has moved on considerably is with its build quality and finish and the cockpit is smart, well designed and very comfortable.
Two-tone interior finishes, nice chrome detailing and a quality feel to all aspects of the interior are light years ahead of that seen in the Fabia when it first arrived back in 1999 as Volkswagen began to stamp its mark on the brand.
On the technology front the Fabia is now similar to the larger Octavia, Superb or any of Skoda's SUVs and the benefits include smartphone integration allowing web connectivity on the go and a full set of apps.
A neat touch is the design of the driver's instrument binnacle which has the Fabia name embossed into two gloss black panels on each side while the same finish is used around the air vents at either end of the dashboard.
For a supermini, rear space is plentiful and the new Fabia can accommodate five adults fairly easily with good amounts of leg and head room for each.
A multi-mode drive mode is also fitted with settings for eco and sport as well as regular driving and individual preferences which helps get the best from what is genuinely a sprightly performer.
Fuel economy is also acceptable and while the car was officially rated at 50.4mpg at best with emissions of 128g/km we averaged to notch up 54 to the gallon with ease on a mixed drive taking in a good variety of roads.
Outside the looks are as refreshing as the car's interior ambience and with Skoda's new-style grille, stylish aerodynamics at the front and pronounced body cuts in the doors the Fabia looks a complete package in every aspect.
Mid-grade SE Comfort versions cost from £16,795 with Colour Edition models priced from £17,495 and the engine line up sees 65, 85 and 95ps 1.0-litre manual units also powering the car.
The lower powered engines have five-speed manual gearboxes with the 95ps six-speeds with the DSG transmission available only on 110ps models.
All the engines are from parent-group VW's EVO range which meet the latest emission regulations but there is no diesel in the line-up.
Neither will there be a performance-oriented vRS derivative although a sportier Monte Carlo Fabia is slated to join the range later in 2022.