By Mike Torpey on 2024-01-22 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Skoda Fabia 1.5 TSE
Monte Carlo DSG
MANY of the world's most celebrated car brands can claim a genuine affinity with Monaco, and its best-known district Monte Carlo.
Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Audi and Maserati have all won either the Monaco Grand Prix, the Monte Carlo Rally or both.
But only one motor manufacturer is permitted to display the famous Monte Carlo name on its cars - and believe it or not that company is Skoda.
Back in 1936 the Skoda Popular Roadster defied all odds to finish second in the 1,500cc class of the Monte Carlo Rally and, with the blessing of the Monaco authorities, became known as the Skoda Popular Monte Carlo.
The nameplate was revived in 2011 with the first Fabia Monte Carlo and has since been extended to other models, the Fabia currently joined by the Kamiq crossover and Scala hatchback.
Fabia models built their enviable reputation thanks to a combination of space, practicality and value for money, and the Monte Carlo adds a sporty, more lifestyle appeal to what's already a compelling package.
Distinguished by its unique front and rear bumpers and black design elements, stand-out badging and optional black roof, this variant also includes fog lamps, gloss black 17-inch alloys plus some sophisticated touches like an actively adjustable cooling shutter and extensive underbody cladding.
Step inside and the predominantly black cabin with its red highlights and carbon-fibre effect lower dash add to the car's racy persona.
With a trio of petrol engines and gearbox combinations up for grabs, the line-up starts with a 1.0-litre TSI model producing 110ps and there's also a three-cylinder 1.0 unit also generating 110ps.
Our version features a higher output 1.5 TSI engine developing a handy 150ps and using a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission.
It can accelerate from 0-62mph in exactly eight seconds and has an official fuel consumption of 48.4 miles per gallon, our own economy of 45.5 no doubt assisted by the car's active cylinder tech which automatically shuts down two of the four cylinders when engine load is low.
Out on the road it feels comfortable and well balanced with plenty of punch when you need it, all witnessed from a cabin of real quality with strong and durable seats.
Another beauty of the Monte Carlo is that despite its sharp styling and cool stance on the road nothing is sacrificed in the way of practicality - this is still extremely spacious, especially in the back, for a small car and its 380-litre boot has long been among the largest in its area of the market.
If the Monte Carlo moniker has been around for decades then it is predated by another Skoda innovation dating back to the 1920s.
Simply Clever is all about smart solutions to everyday problems and now totals more than 60 little pieces of inspiration.
In fact there's so much Simply Clever stuff scattered across Skoda models these days that you could offer a prize to the family member who could spot the most - and the smartest.
Skoda Fabia 1.5 TSE Monte Carlo DSG
Mechanical:150ps, 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine driving front wheels via DSG automatic transmission
0-62mph: 8.0 seconds
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