SKODA FABIA MONTE CARLO

It’s a baby hatch match, play­ing sporti­ness against cute­ness. Then, says Craig Duff, weigh the tech tricks against the com­forts

Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

VALUE

The Skoda comes stan­dard with AEB that op­er­ates up to our high­way lim­its, a sun­roof, seven-speed dual-clutch auto and 17-inch al­loys. Spend another $1800 for a Tech Pack and get adap­tive cruise con­trol, rain-sens­ing wipers, key­less en­try/start, dig­i­tal ra­dio and dual-zone air­con. Sat­nav is a $950 op­tion, oth­er­wise use the Ap­ple CarPlay or An­droid Auto to run maps off the mo­bile phone. Ser­vice in­ter­vals are 12 months/15,000km and an up­front $1149 cov­ers the first three visits.

DE­SIGN/TECH

It’s hard to ig­nore the hard plas­tics in what is meant to be the flag­ship ver­sion but the multi-coloured seats and red-stitched steer­ing wheel draw at­ten­tion away from the aus­tere el­e­ments. Black exterior high­lights give it a sporty look and younger buy­ers will ap­pre­ci­ate the mul­ti­me­dia set-up’s im­proved smart­phone in­te­gra­tion. Lug­gage space is 305L.

EN­GINE

The 1.2-litre four-cylin­der turbo (81kW/175Nm) pro­vides more than ad­e­quate mo­ti­va­tion, though there’s lit­tle point push­ing to the rev limit. Claimed thirst is 4.8L/100km but it uses 95RON against reg­u­lar un­leaded in the Mazda, which will push up the weekly run­ning costs.

SAFETY

The Fabia is a five-star/six airbag car backed by one of the bet­ter au­tonomous brak­ing set-ups in this seg­ment and it is stan­dard across the range. The only dis­ap­point­ment is a rel­a­tively low frontal crash score of 13.68 out of 16 (the Mazda scored 15.69). If the driver and/or AEB do their job, that shouldn’t be an is­sue.

DRIV­ING

The Fabia hoses the 2 in a straight line but isn’t quite as con­vinc­ing through a series of turns. Given the re­mit of th­ese cars, few peo­ple will no­tice the han­dling dif­fer­ences but they will ap­pre­ci­ate the Skoda’s ex­tra urge.

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