What is it?
The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is not a replacement for the now defunct and much-loved Fabia vRS, the go-faster version of the Czech supermini. That may be what this car looks like, with its painted alloy wheels, tinted windows and Monte Carlo Rally-aping badges, and it may be what the motorsport-inspired name leads you to expect, but it’s not what you’re getting here; not quite.
This is, in fact, a new mid-range trim level for the Fabia supermini range. Based on SE trim, it adds 16in painted alloy wheels, sports front seats, some racy-looking pedals and a red-stitched sports steering wheel. Tinted windows and some gloss black body trim help lift the car’s exterior styling above the slightly dowdy level of the standard car, and it's an aesthetic effort which, at least in isolation, is worthy of recognition.
Three petrol and two diesel engines are on offer in the car, allowing owners to balance sporting zest against running costs to their own particular liking,. But that the most powerful of them only gives the car 108bhp is a good indication of about how seriously this Fabia's performance ambitions are to be taken.
For those that want to maximise the sportiness, 17in wheels and sport suspension are both available as options. But our test car – a mid-range 89bhp 1.2-litre TSI – had neither.