Skoda Fabia Hatch

Monte Carlo 1.0 TSI

Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo, front
Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo, front
Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo, side
Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo, rear
Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo, interior

LOOKING for a Fab motor just got easier thanks to a revamp of Skoda's supermini.

The latest Fabia is a refresh of the third generation motor with the 25-model range starting from £12,260.

It boasts the eye-catching Monte Carlo version at the summit, with the 1.0-litre, five-speed manual model tried here costing £17,185.

Going the full Monte gets you a sleek new design featuring a restyled front that sports a natty honeycomb bumper and a reshaped bonnet, while the back has LED lights tinted with a black edge. There are Monte Carlo logos on the door pillars and kick plates, plus a rear spoiler and diffuser as well as a black grille and door mirrors.

The 16-inch Italia wheels normally present are replaced here by the £350 optional 17-inch Torino black alloys which leave the Fabia suited and booted for action.

Slip on to the body-hugging ‘carbon' leather bolstered sports seats boasting red inserts and stitching and it is clear the improvements haven't stopped with the bodywork. There is also a flat-bottomed leather-covered multifunction steering wheel that's a pleasure to touch and allows you to control the radio, trip computer and a connected smartphone.

Clever ideas are the order of the day so the air conditioning is fitted with a humidity sensor to reduce windscreen misting while an umbrella is located under the passenger seat and an ice scraper is mounted out of sight on the fuel cap.

In the modern era a car must have connectivity and the Fabia is fitted with something called Smartlink+ which allows you to hook up your mobile through the infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The centre of the dashboard is lit up by a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen which also offers handy buttons down the side allowing various treats to be accessed. These include an optional Amundsen sat nav system which will set you back £570, as well as a DAB, AM and FM radio with a surround sound system and USB connection.

There is room for five adults without too much of a squeeze with head and leg room being particularly impressive while the boot offers 330 litres of space, expanding to a maximum of 1,150 with the rear seats folded - plenty of room for practical essentials and leisure time extras.

A decent driving position is easy to sort out thanks to a fully adjustable seat and steering wheel and once comfortable get ready for some fun.

The turbocharged TSI petrol engine is a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing as despite only being a 1.0-litre, 95ps, three-cylinder unit, the power it generates is more than enough to zip you through the mean city streets or cruise effortlessly on a motorway. The five-speed manual gearbox is slick allowing neat and accurate changes to be made so you can reach 62mph from a standing start in a shade over ten seconds on your way to a top speed of 114mph.

Fuel consumption is claimed to be north of 60mpg - I was in the mid-40s during my time with the car - with emissions of 106g/km.

There is also a normally aspirated 75ps version of the engine and a 110ps turbo unit.

If you have the £125 sports suspension that was fitted here then the ride is firm, but not uncomfortable, while the handling is agile and grip levels confidence inspiring.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Fabia Hatch Monte Carlo 1.0 TSI

Price:£16,785

Mechanical:95ps, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:114mph

0-62mph:10.8 seconds

Combined MPG:61.4

Insurance Group:9

C02 emissions:106g/km

Bik rating:25%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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