The first generation Fabia (given the internal type code 6Y) was officially presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1999 and production of this model started in October the same year. The estate version Fabia Combi was introduced in September 2000 at the Paris Motor Show. It was the first model to use the Volkswagen Group's A04 platform, which it shares with the Volkswagen Polo Mk IV and SEAT Ibiza.
The range starts with the 1.2 6v Classic (which is cheaper than Volkswagen's smaller 3-door 1.0 Lupo) to the 1.9 PD TDi vRS.
Part of the Fabia's success is the fact that all of its mechanical parts are developed by or in conjunction with Volkswagen, but are offered in a package that is priced to undercut other models in the Volkswagen Group. The only trace of non-VW Škoda left in the Fabia is the 1.4 8v "MPI" Engine, which was a modification to Škoda's own 1.3 engine, and was used in pre-Volkswagen Škodas such as the Estelle and Favorit.
In 2005 the Fabia received a facelift, with changed front fog lights and grille, slightly different rear lights, new steering wheel and revised specification levels. The vRS also had its final gearbox ratio changed. Most importantly the Sport model was added, with the 75PS (55kW) 1.4 petrol being offered with a manual transmission. This engine was quickly dropped for the 1.2 HTP, which was not as powerful but is a much more free revving engine giving a more sporty feel, the sport also had its specification changed to include red seat belts and sunset privacy glass from the B pillar to the rear.
Again in 2006 the Fabia range shown at the Geneva Motor Show had minor specification revisions. These include a center rear head rest, a central three-point seatbelt and an additional four bodywork colours. The 1.4 16v 75PS (55kW) petrol engine was replaced with a more powerful 1.4 16v 80PS (59kW) engine.
The term MPI (Multi-Point Injection) is used by Škoda to differentiate from 16v models and (in the case of the Octavia) FSI engines. The 75PS (55kW) version of the 1.4 16v was only mated to Volkswagen's four-speed automatic transmission with fuzzy logic operation until the addition of earlier Sport models which mated it with a manual transmission. The 1.4 8v was dropped in 2003 as it will fail to meet future emissions requirements. Its performance is heavily hampered by its old OHV (Pushrod) design. The Fabia's overall performance and fuel consumption figures fall behind other city cars and small family cars as it is larger and heavier. However, the 1.2 HTP (High Torque Performance) Engine was developed specifically for the Fabia and offers better performance and fuel economy, but later used in Volkswagen's own Polo due to its high acclaim.