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Road Test: Škoda Fabia 1.0 TSI Monte Carlo

Sportiest trim shows there’s still plenty of life in Škoda’s supermini, thinks Martyn Collins.

SECTOR Supermini PRICE £16,785 FUEL 47.1 – 50.4mpg  CO2 106g/km

Škoda Fabia Monte Carlo

Despite last year’s minimal Fabia facelift, there’s no doubt that compared to sister car, the SEAT Ibiza – awarded Best Fleet Supermini in the 2019 Great British Fleet Awards – the current model still looks a bit angular and dated.

That’s not the case with the Monte Carlo version we’ve driven. In fact, it’s amazing how a thorough dechrome can make a car look more contemporary. Along with the added exterior styling pack, and optional 17-inch Torino alloy wheels filling the arches, I reckon it’s the sportiest Fabia I’ve seen yet.

The interior gets colour-coded cloth and rather OTT carbon-fibre like trim on the sides of the seats, one-piece sports seats, and a sports, leather-trimmed three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, but apart from that it’s all standard and sensible Fabia. This means lots of high-quality angular design, loads of stowage, good levels of interior space, plus a decent-sized 330-litre boot.

Think this is another high-performance version of the Fabia hatch, helping in part to fill the gap left by the former vRS? Well, you’d be wrong as the Monte Carlo is just the range-topping trim level. In fact, our test car wasn’t even fitted with the highest-power 110hp version of the 1.0-litre TSI petrol. Instead, it had the most popular 95hp version, which offers impressively spirited performance, especially around town – although the gearbox is a bit notchy and you do miss a sixth gear on the motorway.

On the road, the optional bigger wheels and sports suspension equal more road noise and a slightly unsettled ride. However, this Fabia is still good to drive, with precise steering, good control and negligible body roll.

Rival supermini models in the Volkswagen Group might be getting all the attention at the moment, but I reckon the Škoda Fabia is still worth a look, although for business buyers, the mid-spec SE trim makes more sense.

FW Rating: 3/5

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Martyn Collins

Martyn has 18 years experience as a motoring journalist, working across a wide selection of B2B and consumer titles. A car enthusiast since his early years, Martyn has a particular interest in the latest models and technology and in his spare time enjoys driving his own Minis.