Great space, excellent chassis, handsome looks
New Car Reviews
New Car Review | Škoda Fabia Monte Carlo
Good Stuff 👍
Bad Stuff 👎
Not as pretty as the previous generation Monte Carlo, alloys aren’t very big.
What is the Škoda Fabia Monte Carlo?
Škoda’s fanciest Fabia and the third Monte Carlo version
The Škoda Fabia was the AA Ireland Car Award’s Best Supermini of 2022 and there would need to be a dramatic new entrant to the market for that to change as this walked away with the title because of its size, its looks and its value for money. The Fabia was always a well-loved car in Ireland, but the latest, 4th-generation model is enormous; in fact, it is probably the biggest car in the class if you don’t count the Hyundai Bayon as a supermini. Since 2011, the Monte Carlo variants have been a reminder of the Czech brand’s great sporting successes at the famous Monte Carlo rally. In 1936, the Škoda Popular took second place at the event and was subsequently the first model to be given the Monte Carlo name. This was followed by the legendary Škoda 130 RS’s 1-2 class finish in 1977, which the Škoda Fabia Rally2 repeated 40 years later. The second, third and fourth-generation Fabia’s have had Monte Carlo models available since then.
How about the looks of the Škoda Fabia Monte Carlo?
Black accents, and lovely details, but no larger wheels, sadly.
The first two Fabia Monte Carlo’s were really pretty cars, in particular the last generation model, which had a really handsome body kit and alloy wheels. While the latest Fabia is without doubt, the nicest looking Fabia we have seen yet, we are not sure that they’ve done as nice a job with the latest Fabia Monte Carlo. There are two special colours for the Monte Carlo, Phoenix Orange and Velvet red, both striking and the Velvet Red is more in keeping with the Monte Carlo’s of old and you can of course choose the Monte Carlo in some of the regular colours, too. Graphite Grey or Moon White look really good for example.
There are a plethora of black elements on the new car too. There is a surround to the grille, the spoiler lip on the front apron also features a black finish, as do the wing mirror caps, decorative side skirt trim and the diffuser on the sports -styled rear apron. The Škoda lettering on the tailgate is black as standard, while for Ireland the black roof that is an option in other markets comes as standard.
For Ireland however, the car is only offered with the 16-inch Procyon alloy wheels and they look ‘ok’ – with the removable, aerodynamically optimised plastics trims cheapening the look of the wheels somewhat. And while they aren’t listed, you can buy the larger wheels as accessories from your local Škoda dealer and they will make the car look a little more sporty, which is kind of the point.
“There is something very rewarding about driving a car like this ‘enthusiastically’ on a country road.”
What is the inside of the Škoda Fabia Monte Carlo like?
Lots of carbon-fibre look with black and red details
The interior of the Fabia Monte Carlo is really excellent, and it is easily one of the best cabins that you will find in any supermini. The Monte Carlo version takes this up a notch again with a smart, three-spoke multifunction steering wheel and pedal covers in stainless steel. There was the optional digital instrument cluster fitted to our car with a specific, more dynamic background for the layouts. The interior of the Monte Carlo is mostly black with a touch of red, for example on the covers of the sports seats with integrated headrests, which come as standard. There is a horizontal decorative strip on the dashboard, as well as parts of the centre console and the door handles also has a red finish, while the roof lining and roof pillars are black. The armrests on the front doors and the lower part of the dashboard feature a carbon-fibre effect as a decorative trim, with contrasting white stitching on the dashboard. There are also stainless steel pedal covers.
Our test model featured the optional digital instrument cluster – a 10.25-inch customisable digital display which in the Monte Carlo version offers more dynamic backgrounds for the layout. This “Virtual Cockpit” is a €526 option in the Monte Carlo but looks really well and gives the car a much more upmarket feel. Our car also featured a €519 “Monte Carlo” pack, with Climatronic dual-zone air conditioning, wireless charging, two rear USB-C ports and a rear view mirror USB-C port which is very handy for a dashcam.
What is especially impressive, is the quality of the fit and finish in the car. This is a supermini that feels like a bigger can thanks to its large dimensions and large boot (380-litres) and the finish of the materials makes it feel expensive too.
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What is the Škoda Fabia Monte Carlo like to drive?
Not fast, but a willing chassis makes it feel fun.
In other markets, the Fabia Monte Carlo is available with a choice of engines, including the excellent 1.5-litre TSI 150hp unit, which would be a lovely choice for this car, but in Ireland we a stick with the 1.0-litre 95hp unit (which has 110hp if you opt for the DSG version), which is actually very good, but this isn’t a fast car, but it is reasonably peppy and that, combined with a very willing chassis makes for quite a fun package.
There is something very rewarding about driving a car like this ‘enthusiastically’ on a country road. There isn’t enough power to get you, hopefully, in any bother, yet you feel like you are flying because you have to work the engine a little harder than normal to get the best out of it. It takes 10.6 seconds to get to 100km/h and the top speed is a theoretical 191km/h, so this is a car that isn’t that quick but will be fine for most people.
In terms of fuel economy, the WLTP figure of 5.2l/100km was actually very achievable, with us averaging slightly better, at 5.0 l/100km for most of the week. There is just a 40-litre tank in this car and we handed it back with half a tank left, not bad for a modern petrol car.
Which Škoda Fabia Monte Carlo should I buy?
A straightforward choice between manual or DSG.
Škoda has kept the Monte Carlo pretty simple for Ireland. You get it with the 1.0-litre 95hp/175Nm petrol engine and you can have it with either a 5-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG. The jump to DSG (which also jumps a tax band) will cost you €2,600, which is sizeable jump, but you do get a little bit more horsepower in the DSG version (110hp vs 95hp) so you aren’t just paying for the transmission.
We were a little disappointed with the standard wheels on the car, so we would delve into Škoda’s accessories brochure to get the optional 18” wheels which cost €1,196 fitted (excluding tyres) and would make the car look even better.
Is the Škoda Fabia Monte Carlo safe?
One of the safest vehicles in the segment.
The Škoda Fabia Monte Carlo comes with airbags for the driver and front passenger, curtain airbags, and front side airbags as standard. A knee airbag for the driver and rear side airbags are optional extras (€537). You can, and possibly should, opt for the €339 Rear View camera and if you want to go one step further you can choose the €807 ‘Park Pilot’ which offers parallel and perpendicular park assist.
The latest Fabia scored the maximum 5-stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests and is regarded as one of the safest small cars you can buy. It received 85% for Adult Occupant safety, 81% for Child Occupant safety, 70% for Pedestrian Safety and 71% for Safety Assist.
The AA Ireland Jury’s favourite Small Car is likely to stay that way in 2023 unless there is a hugely impressive car launched this year. The Monte Carlo version is a lovely thing too.
Spec Check ⚙️
Škoda Fabia Monte Carlo
999cc four-cylinder petrol engine
5.2 l/100km (combined)
Annual Motor Tax
Price as tested