Whenever a new vehicle debut takes place, be it from a mainstream or a premium brand, the car is shown in the range-topping specification with all the bells and whistles or at least a high-end version. It's a logical decision taken by automakers because the £20,000 version of a car looks better in almost all cases than a lesser £15,000 spec.
On the other hand, with some cars, most buyers tend to pick the more affordable specifications because adding too many options would increase the price to the point it would be comparable to a model from a segment above. Such is the case with supermini hatchbacks, which end up costing compact car money once you tick a lot of boxes on the options list.
The new Skoda Fabia unveiled last week looked attractive with big alloy wheels, full-LED headlights, and a striking Orange Phoenix paint. Ok, but what about the cheapest version available? Even though the supermini won't be going on sale in the UK until early 2022, it has already been embedded into the Czech configurator where customers can spec their cars.
Gallery: 2021 Skoda Fabia base version
Thankfully, the bone-stock Fabia is featured in its domestic market with a simple white paint, partially LED headlights (halogen for high beam), and glorious 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps. Step inside, there's an analogue instrument cluster instead of the digital driver's display, while the infotainment touchscreen is much smaller and flanked by physical buttons replacing the larger all-screen setup seen in the official press images.
The entry-level trim also does away with LED ambient lighting and the fabric surfaces on the dashboard. Look closer and you'll notice manual air conditioning and crank rear windows, while the steering wheel lacks buttons and is no longer wrapped in leather. The five-speed manual gearbox, no central armrest, and a one-piece rear bench with no split-folding capabilities are also telltale signs we're dealing with a back-to-basics Fabia.
Maths starts at 363 800 Kč, which works out to £12,225 at current exchange rates. That's the price to pay at home in the Czech Republic for the basic version of the subcompact hatchback. For the sake of comparison, the outgoing Fabia Mk3 is offered in the UK only from existing stock and costs from £14,880.
Skoda UK hasn't released details about the level of equipment that will be included in the base version so it's unclear whether our entry-level model will have the same kit as the CZ-spec model. What we do know is the current Fabia Estate will soldier on until 2023 when a new generation of the estate will join the revamped hatchback.