It may be small but it packs a lot of style. Matt Kimberley tries the latest Fabia to wear the Monte Carlo badge
The first Fabia Monte Carlo was released in 2011 as a special edition to celebrate the brand’s rally heritage, but it was such a raging success that they kept the idea going.
The new Fabia has been given the Monte Carlo treatment with black wheels and bodywork detailing, sports seats and the now-familiar special badges you’ll see dotted around it.
Looks and image
One of the key reasons (probably THE key reason) the Monte Carlo was such a hit is that it combined the frugality of small engines with even more visual impact than even the brisk vRS model offered. It became a thing in its own right, known among owners as something a bit cooler than the standard Fabia. They have a point. With red trim, proper side bolsters on the front seats and a black roof complete with panoramic glass the Monte Carlo really looks the business.
Behind the wheel
The steering is a real surprise. It transmits genuine feel and feedback from the road’s surface, proving that it can be done with electric set-ups where so many engineers fail. The rack is quick enough to have the front end darting into turns like an eager puppy and thanks to those tyres it grips like the figurative limpet. Few superminis have such a light front end or show so much enthusiasm for corners.
Value for money
The specification in this model is loosely based on SE L level, with additions like the sunroof and special black bits. An equivalent, but rather normallooking, Fabia SE L is more than £1,000 cheaper already, and the test car has £500 worth of navigation software, £180 heated front seats and £140 in Simply Clever packages added. It’s enough of a price gap to leave it down to the individual as to whether they think it’s worth it. As for fuel economy, the test car only had 1,500 miles under its belt and may need to loosen up a bit, but even when trying I couldn’t even get close to the official 60mpg average. Expect mid-40s.
Who would buy one?
At its best the Monte Carlo is a smart-looking and functional supermini with lots of practical touches and enough style to cut it on the high street. It’s a good second car for a family that already has an estate or MPV on the drive.