The Skoda Fabia is the second smallest car that the Czech manufacturer offers. It sits between the excellent Skoda Citigo city car and the small family saloon hatch, the Rapid. While it may not be the obvious choice in its segment, this latest Monte Carlo Special Edition really enhances the Fabia’s best features. It looks great, represents good value and comes with an impressive amount of kit as standard.
Skoda really know how to utilise space and when it comes to small cars, the Fabia is probably the most practical in its class. It feels spacious inside because it is, even in the back and headroom is more than ample thanks to its tall body design. There are cup holders fitted in the centre console, it gets large door pockets, a decent size glovebox and it even has additional storage compartments fitted under both the front driver and passenger seats. Its USP however is its 330 litre boot. That’s more than a Ford Focus offers and that sits in a segment above the Skoda Fabia. It is an immensely practical supermini.
The entry level Skoda Fabia is the 1.0 MPI petrol with 60bhp. It is available in three trim specifications starting with Active, Ambition and Style. The entry level Active starts at a very competitive €13,895 and comes with a decent level of specification as standard including electric windows and height adjustable driver seat. The special edition and current top of the range offering is our test car, the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo priced at €19,845. That may look light a hell of a lot more money, but you get a hell of a lot more for your money. This consists of Monte Carlo design including front splitter and black mirrors, Flat bottom sports steering wheel, panoramic glass roof, black/red sports seats, colour touch screen infotainment system and a rear boot spoiler. It is also fitted with a 1.2 TSI petrol engine producing a peppy 110bhp.The combination of these interior and exterior flairs give the Fabia real sporty credentials.
Behind the wheel, the Fabia Monte Carlo is quite a bit of fun. The MPI petrol engines are frugal and refined but the TSI ultimately offers more satisfaction and ‘go’ behind the wheel. As there is currently no vRS model available, the Monte Carlo’s drive is a credible substitute for driver enjoyment. On the motorway, road noise is apparent but acceptable. On B roads, it’s steering is direct and the car feels nimble in the corners and overall its ride quality is decent. The driving position is good too and you can have a bit of fun with it with the sport seats holding you well in place. 0-100kmh is 9.6 seconds but behind the wheel, the overall character of the engine and the 6-speed manual’s neat shift lend to it feeling swifter than it is.
Its practicality is where it excelled over the week long test. Having two young children with car seats usually does not lend to a totally convenient experience with smaller cars. But the use of space made in the Fabia made it surprisingly easy to live with. There was no pulling or manoeuvring of seats to get seatbelts clicked in place and the kids struggled to reach each other. It transported a family of four with ease to my complete surprise.
The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo may sound a touch on the pricey side when you consider its larger sibling the Octavia Active starts at €18,995, but the level of specification that comes with the Monte Carlo, combined with its high levels of practicality make it an appealing option and good value for money.