Skoda’s Fabia Combi R5 concept Hulks out with rally-car styling

Skoda Fabia Combi R5 concept
If you’ve never heard of Skoda, it’s essentially a Czech version of Buick, building mildly upscale but nondescript cars as part of the mighty Volkswagen Group empire. Lately, though, Skoda has tried to change its humdrum image.

Every year, VW gives a big “thank you” to its fans by unveiling a series of concepts from its different brands at the Worthersee festival. So far this year, Skoda has already teased a cute Fabia FUNstar pickup truck, but it’s following that up with something a little more aggressive.

The Skoda Fabia Combi R5 concept is what the Czech brand imagines it would be like to combine a rally car and a station wagon.

Although the name isn’t as recognizable as Audi, Ford, or Subaru, Skoda has a long history in rallying. Its latest Fabia R5 rally car debuted last month in the Czech Rally Championship, winning its first race.

Skoda decided to capitalize on the win by turning the Fabia R5 into a wagon. So it took a stock Fabia Combi and pumped it up with 18-inch alloy wheels, a more aggressive front fascia, mud guards, a huge rear spoiler, and a rear bumper enlarged to accommodate a central exhaust tip.

Then there’s that green, black, and white livery, which could prove advantageous in an actual rally by giving the competition seizures.

Power for the concept comes courtesy of a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is connected to a five-speed sequential transmission and all-wheel drive.

While Skoda does make hot versions of the road-going Fabia, a production version of the Fabia Combi R5 is a long shot. And even if it did get built, like the rest of the Skoda brand, it wouldn’t be offered in the U.S.

Almost 40 years after the AMC Gremlin went out of production, Americans seem to have finally gotten over their disdain of hatchbacks. But as usual, Europe is way ahead of us when it comes to small, sporty cars.

The Ford Focus ST is available as a wagon in Europe, and there’s a VW Golf GTD Variant on the way as well. Along with this Skoda concept, they show the potential of these vehicles as an evolution of the hot hatchback.

But with wagon sales subsumed by crossovers in the U.S., that may be a trend we’ll miss out on.

Skoda Fabia Combi R5 concept
Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what’s leaving in January 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for January 2019 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.
Cars

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Cars

Allegro.ai is helping Hyundai mine the artificial intelligence gold rush

In November 2018, Hyundai invested in a startup named Allegro.ai. We talked to the company's founder to learn more about what that means for consumers in the not-too-distant futures.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Cars

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.
Cars

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.