WITH an enviable history in the Monte Carlo Rally over several decades it's hardly surprising that Skoda chose the rally name for its latest flagship Fabia model.
And while the Fabia Monte Carlo may not have the same oomph as the versions which regularly take part in the iconic road event they are still pretty lively and great fun to drive.
And best of all they have dramatically distinctive sports styling both inside and out which makes them stand out from the rest of the model line up.
All Monte Carlo models come with a 1.0-litre, three cylinder engine in various stages of tune and are distinguished by their black roof, black door mirrors, black grille and heavily tinted rear windows - not to mention a rear spoiler and rear diffuser.
The car driven here had contrasting red bodywork as well as bold red and black panelled sports seats making for a particularly vivid, impressive interior, especially set against the carbon effect finish on the dashboard.
A nice touch on the front seats are the carbon-look leather bolsters to match the dashboard.
The high backed front seats and alloy pedals all add to the sporting nature of this car and the additional £125 for the optional sports suspension is definitely money well spent.
A little more costly at £960 are the full LED headlights with adaptive front lighting and cornering fog lights but again well worth the extra.
The 95bhp engine is the middle of the range available and makes for a surprisingly rewarding drive thanks to its eager, high revving nature. Wind it up and it delivers well above any expectations you would normally have for a 1.0-litre engine.
A time of 10.8 seconds from 0-62mph might not sound that fast but it's in its mid range performance that the Monte Carlo comes to life adding a bit of sparkle to everyday motoring.
There's a nice sporting sound to it too - partially created by the three cylinder set up - which adds to this car's appeal.
There's only a five rather than six-speed gearbox but the gear change is one of the smoothest on any car around today and a delight to use.
And over a week's motoring I managed to average more than 50 miles per gallon, which is spot on the official figure issued by Skoda.
The Fabia is one of the most spacious of the superminis with plenty of head and leg room for five as well as good all round vision thanks to its deep side windows.
Boot space is not bad either with some 330 litres available with all the seats in use rising to 1,150 with the seatbacks folded down.
And it's nice to see that with the Fabia you still get an umbrella under the front seat not to mention a windscreen clip to stop parking tickets blowing off the dashboard as you close the door. On the minus side there are no rear cupholders.
The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is a light, easy to drive responsive car which is equally at home around towns and cities as it is at high speed on the motorway.