With no RS model on table, it’s up to the stylish, warm-ish new Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo to keep the Czech brand’s left-field faithful happy. Given the previous-gen Monte Carlo filled 40 percent of Fabia orders, that shouldn’t be difficult to match with this much more sophisticated offering.
In line with a range re-shuffle for the 2017 model year, the Monte Carlo slots in where last year’s 81TSI with Sports Pack left off, only this black-wheeled baby scores kit you simply couldn’t option previously.
Top of the list is Monte Carlo-specific seating, with exposed stitching, striped centre trim and striking rear seatbacks and rear headrests, giving the funky Fabia some real visual flair inside its neatly drawn cabin.
This time, however, you can get the Monte Carlo in a wagon bodystyle as well as a hatchback, giving the Fabia a genuine USP over every competitor in Australia’s ‘light’ car class. Indeed, one third of local Fabia sales go to the wagon, far outstripping Skoda’s predictions.
As well as the rear-view camera now fitted to every MY17 Fabia (in conjunction with standard collision assist, autonomous emergency braking, and multi-collision brake), for its $23,490 sticker ($24,640 as a wagon), the Monte Carlo boasts a host of visual dress-up gear, including the aforementioned sports seats and black 17-inch alloys.
A black grille, front spoiler, side skirts, door mirrors, rear diffuser, a darkened panoramic glass roof and rear privacy glass visually toughen the Monte Carlo, backed up by sparkly projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights and front fogs. It also rides on sports suspension 15mm lower than stock, which strikes a pleasant compromise between enhanced agility and decent ride comfort, and can be painted in the almost-matte Steel Grey hue from the Skoda Octavia RS.
Inside, unique instrument graphics, a perforated-leather flat-bottomed wheel with red stitching, silver Monte Carlo sill strips, stainless-steel pedal covers and a front-centre armrest complete the look.
Available solely with an 81kW/175Nm 1.2-litre turbo-petrol four and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the Monte Carlo can be further enhanced via two comprehensive options packs.
The ‘Tech Pack’ ($1800) adds keyless entry/start with alarm, adaptive (instead of regular) cruise control, rear parking sensors, digital climate control, auto headlights/wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, digital radio and fatigue detection.
Amundsen sat-nav ($950) and metallic paint ($500) are also extra, while a Skoda 5-year care Pack ($2899) bundles together two years additional warranty coverage with five years/75,000km worth of servicing.
The rest of the MY17 Fabia range gets a slight pricing reshuffle. The 66TSI five-speed manual base model kicks off at $16,490 driveaway, while its 81TSI seven-speed dual-clutch sister is now $19,490 driveaway.
The 81TSI has been slightly de-specced to match the 66TSI for equipment (cue 15-inch steel wheels with wheelcovers instead of 16-inch alloys), but both can be significantly enhanced via optional Sports Pack ($1800) and Premium Sports Pack ($3600) equipment bundles with more gear than a princess on holiday.
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