fab little car | 

Skoda goes full Monte with its sporty little Fabia

The smallest car in the brand’s stable is packed with lots of the features from its larger siblings

The new Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is a sportier version of the popular hatchback

Piping on the seats and around the centre console

The new Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is a sportier version of the popular hatchback

Robbie FarrellSunday World

Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo

So it seems 2023 is all about the SUV. In fact, just a couple of weeks back regular readers of this column will remember that when myself and my fellow Motormouth, Daragh, announced our very own Car of the Year awards for 2022, the Opel Astra was the top pick for both of us.

We both gave our reasons why we believe that old-school family hatch/saloon cars still have a future despite a major shift in favour of SUVs/MPVs.

With car prices, especially electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), sky-rocketing over the last number of months, we feel that the traditional family car still offers the best value to new customers who are not yet ready to switch over to electric models just yet.

Another such car that ticks all the boxes, especially to younger buyers, is the new Skoda Fabia — especially in Monte Carlo guise.

Piping on the seats and around the centre console

Now in its fourth generation, the Skoda Fabia has been a long-term favourite in Ireland, with fans of all ages.

One of the main reasons for this is the fact that, although it is now the smallest car in the Skoda stable since the departure of the Citigo in 2020, it is packed with a lot of the modern technology and safety features that have trickled down from its much larger siblings in the range.

Believe me when I tell you that this little motor has set the small car market alight and is held in very high esteem among the motoring journalists.

So what exactly is the Monte Carlo model?

Well in a nutshell the range-topping Monte Carlo is a sportier version of the little hatchback that had already made the motoring headlines for its stylish looks.

The new Monte Carlo features a bespoke design package to make it stand out from the crowd and comes with 17-inch Procyon black painted diamond cut alloy wheels.

It also features new sports bumpers, along with door mirrors and radiator grille finished in gloss black.

Unique Monte Carlo badging and black Skoda lettering for the tailgate complete the exterior design package.

The inside too is treated to a sportier look and my test car featured orange/red (I’m going colour blind in my old age) piping on the seats and around the dash and centre console.

It’s surprisingly spacious too for all occupants despite its appearance, and I would have no problem sitting in the rear on a long-distance journey.

The cabin is modern and has a very de-cluttered look about it, which is probably down to the fact that it comes as standard with an eight-inch ‘Bolero’ touch-screen system that I found very user-friendly.

Elsewhere you will find height-adjustable sports front seats and a three-spoke leather multifunction steering wheel.

An ambient lighting package, and aluminium pedals are also fitted as standard.

On the road, the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is only available with a very impressive 1.0-litre TSI turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine.

My test car featured the FIVE-speed (I know unusual for this day and age) manual gearbox that outputs 95bhp.

The new Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is a sportier version of the popular hatchback

However, there a seven-speed DSG automatic on offer that has a little more pep in its step outputting 110bhp.

I have to say that, although it’s only a three-cylinder petrol engine, I found it surprisingly powerful during my week-long test drive and it has more than enough punch for around town and on motorways.

Overall, I think the Skoda Fabia is both the perfect starter car for young drivers trying to get on the insurance ladder and for slightly older parents whose children have fled the nest.

The entry-level model in the Fabia range, which only comes with the 1.0-litre TSI three-cylinder petrol will set you back €20,040.

However, the fact that it doesn’t feature the turbo-charged engine like the Monte Carlo makes perfect sense for younger motorists insurance wise as it only outputs 65bhp. Cracking little car all the same.

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