Fabia Monte Carlo Czechs all the right boxes
What is it?
The smallest of the Skodas, the Skoda Fabia, tested here in top of the line Monte Carlo trim. The Fabia is Skoda’s answer to the likes of the Mazda2, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and of course, the Fabia’s twin under the skin, the Volkswagen Polo.
What’s it cost?
The Fabia range starts off with the entry level Fabia 70TSI manual which is priced from $16,990 drive away and extends to the Fabia 81TSI Monte Carlo (as tested) DSG which is priced from $25,490 drive way.
Equipment levels on the Monte Carlo are decent: there’s a raft of safety features including rear cross traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring in conjunction with a raft of airbags.
Other key features include heated wing mirrors, leather handbrake cover, a leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, sports pedals, smart red and black trim and a smattering of “Monte Carlo” badging inside and out.
Interestingly, and for a city car especially, parking sensors are offered as standard. We did find, though, that the rear cross traffic alert compensates while reversing. Rear parking sensors are available as part of the $1,400 Vision Pack.
Sat nav isn’t offered as standard – it’s a $950 option – either, but Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are on the standard equipment list.
What’s it go like?
The Fabia 81TSI Monte Carlo is powered by a 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled petrol engine that produces 81kW @5500rpm and 200Nm @ 2000-3500rpm. The little engine is mated to VW’s seven speed dual clutch automatic transmission which sends power to the front wheels.
As you can imagine – and as suggested by that 200Nm @ 2000-3500rpm power band – the engine does like to rev, but it’s reasonably quiet and smooth, only making itself heard in the upper echelons of the rev range. As with all three-cylinder engines, there’s that throaty and distinctive warble. Performance is surprisingly peppy and the little power plant is always eager to please, delivering good pulling power from a standing start.
Handling is neat and tidy, with well-weighted and quick steering coupled with tidy handling and well sorted ride make the Fabia are great drive both around town and on the open road.
What’s it like inside?
The Fabia Monte Carlo’s interior is simply designed, well screwed together and those red highlights and Monte Carlo monikers add hints of fun.
The seats are comfortable, there’s a decent head, leg and shoulder room for the front two passengers and the dashboard ergonomics are clean and simple. Where the Fabia’s interior does fall down is oddment storage. The absence of a centre console is frustrating, but that armrest does open and can hold small items.
Fit and finish is generally very good, although some plastics on the lower part of the dash were a little hard and scratchy.
Hop in the back and you’ll notice that the rear bench is soft, well-padded and supportive and head room is acceptable for anyone under six foot or so. Rear legroom is tight though, and is probably best suited for very short trips.
Overall, the Fabia Monte Carlo’s cabin is funky, fun and well executed.
What we like:
- It’s a hoot to drive
- Equipment levels
- Premium feeling
What we don’t:
- Parking sensors should be standard
- Tight rear legroom
- DSG can be a little coarse on take off
- Not a whole lot else
The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is a small car that’s big on style, value, and performance. Definitely worth a look.