Car Reviews Motoring

Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo Review

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

If you’re after a hot hatch, you’ll know you’ve got to spend quite a lot of money.

You have probably yet to consider buying a Skoda Fabia, but it could be the answer.

The Monte Carlo version is the hottest of the Fabia range, with 17-inch alloys, half synthetic leather seats, a rear spoiler, a sports leather steering wheel, aluminium pedals, a carbon effect interior trim with red décor, LED headlights and black door mirrors.

You also get an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with a DAB radio and a 10.25-inch digital instrument display.

While it’s not a proper hot hatch, it looks like one.

There are two engines to choose from: a 1.0-litre three-cylinder producing 110PS with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic, and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder producing 150PS with the automatic.

It is the 150PS engine reviewed here.

The power combined with the car’s smallness means it really gets going. And, while its pace isn’t on par with proper performance hatchbacks, it feels rapid enough.

Lamentably, the transmission doesn’t do it many favours, as it can be hesitant and feels like it’s holding the car back rather than making life easier.

You can use the gear lever to flick up and down gears, but paddles on the steering wheel would be preferable.

Despite being a sports version, the chassis and suspension setup is the same as the rest of the range.

That is not a bad thing, as the Fabia handles well in the bends, with plenty of grip. But any notion it’s a hot hatch ends here, as it’s a worthy blend of comfort and athletic prowess, whereas performance seekers will wish for more of the latter.

The model rides well, loves a motorway cruise, and it’s great around town, where its small size means it can zip through gaps.

The interior is exciting, with lots of red and carbon trim, and the seats are comfortable, with good visibility for the driver.

The infotainment system is friendly and reasonably intuitive to use. But it’s not the most responsive I’ve tried, and it’s inferior to some of its main challengers.

There is a lot of room in the front and back, given this is a small car. But three adults in the rear is likely to be doable only if the journey is short.

A generous 380 litres of boot space are offered, expanding to 1,190 litres with the rear seats folded down in a 60:40 split.

The test car managed an impressive late 40smpg, producing 134-137g/km CO2.

Skoda has a reputation for reliability nowadays, and you get a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty in case anything goes wrong.

Euro NCAP awarded the Fabia a five-star safety rating in 2021. It has a driver alert system, front assist, lane assist, rear parking sensors and pedestrian protection.

Overall, guys, the Skoda Fabia is one of the best cars in its class for sensible things, such as ride comfort and practicality. Some competitors, though, are even more fun to drive.

Fast Facts – Skoda Fabia (Monte Carlo trim) as tested:

  • Max speed: 139 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 8.0 seconds
  • Combined mpg: 47.9 mpg
  • Engine layout: 1.5-litre four-cylinder with front-wheel drive
  • Max. power (PS): 150PS
  • CO2: 134-137 g/km
  • Price: £23,775

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