Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo reviewed

* Rally-inspired Fabia Monte Carlo * Priced from 12,875 - 15,120 * Black alloys, darkened windows, rear spoiler and diffuser...

Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo reviewed

What is it? A special-edition Fabia, built to celebrate Skoda UK's participation in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), that comes with flourishes of sporty touches including 17-inch black alloy wheels, black gloss door mirrors, roof- and rear spoilers, rear diffuser, darkened headlights, sports seats and sports suspension.

What's it like to drive? Pretty much like any other Fabia. The sports suspension firms things up a little but there's still a lot of body lean in bends and the steering and gearshift are vague. Our test car was fitted with the clattery 104bhp 1.6-litre diesel. While its low CO2 emissions and 67.3mpg are impressive, its handling and pace doesn't really fit with the rally image.

The turbocharged 104bhp 1.2-litre petrol would be a better bet. There's also a non-turbo with 68bhp, an 85bhp turbocharged 1.2 and a 74bhp 1.6 diesel in Monte Carlo spec. All come with a five-speed manual gearbox.

What's it like inside? The sporty theme is emphasised in the cabin, with aluminium, Monte Carlo-branded kickplates on the door sills, darkened rear windows and leather-trimmed steering wheel with red stitching.

The Fabia sits at the larger end of the supermini class, so it has plenty of space to offer. There's plenty of head- and legroom in any seat enough for four large adults to travel in comfort.

Should I buy one? If you are a Skoda-mad rally fan who can't quite stretch to the 16,000 Fabia vRS, then you could love a Monte Carlo especially fitted with higher-powered of the turbocharged 1.2 petrols.

However, the Fabia is getting a little long in the tooth, now, and looking at a blinged-up Fabia is a bit like watching your dad trying to dance at a nightclub. There are better, more modern superminis on sale that young buyers can spec up to the nines think Mini, or Fiat 500 or even Citroen DS3. Those cars are where our money would go.

Mini One
Citroen DS3

What Car? says