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Driven: Skoda takes Fabia to Monte Carlo

Turbo tiddler: Skoda’s Fabia Monte Carlo does not make any more power than the standard Fabia.

Special Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo returns for 2016, this time in wagon form too

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Skoda logo5 Sep 2016

By TIM ROBSON

SKODA Australia has fleshed out its Fabia light-car range by re-introducing the sporty-looking Monte Carlo edition, in lieu of the popular RS performance variant that was deleted from the local range after the Fabia was updated in 2015.

The Monte Carlo costs $23,490 before on-road costs and is based on the top-spec 81TSI version of the front-wheel-drive Fabia. It is being offered in hatch and – for the first time – wagon versions.

It goes up against other warmed-over superminis including the Abarth 595 at $27,500 plus on-roads, the Peugeot 208 GT-Line at $27,490 and the Renault Clio GT at $25,990 (driveaway).

Skoda Australia director Michael Irmer told journalists in Sydney that the previous generation version of the Monte Carlo was “very important” to the Fabia line-up, and the new version would be the same.

“It made up 40 per cent of the sales of Fabia,” he said. “You see a lot of Monte Carlos on the road when you see Fabias.”

Mr Irmer said that while the RS was missed, the fact that it would not be produced anywhere in the world meant that the new Monte Carlo would take pride of place in the line-up locally.

“There’s no RS version coming out,” he said. “There’s simply not enough demand for it in markets where the Fabia is sold in large numbers. It would certainly help us, and if there were an RS available we would take it as we did with the previous generation, but it’s just unrealistic.

“I think we have a unique offering with the Monte Carlo, and with the previous generation making up 40 per cent (of sales). I don’t see why this won’t be the case going forward.”

Mr Irmer also dismissed the notion of aligning with an aftermarket tuner to produce a hot version for Australia.

“Warranties would be an issue with this,” he said, “and the ownership experience, also.”

There are no increases in performance for the Fabia’s stock 1.2-litre EA211 four-cylinder powerplant, with the Monte Carlo making 81kW between 4600 and 5600rpm, and 175Nm of torque between 1400 and 4000rpm.

It will dash to 100km/h in 9.6 seconds on its way to a 199km/h top speed.

Official fuel consumption is 4.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle for the Euro 6-rated engine, with a CO2 output of 111 grams per kilometre. The Fabia needs 95RON premium fuel, according to Skoda.

It is combined with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which is the only one available to Monte Carlo buyers.

Exterior changes include a blackened grille frame, side skirts, door mirror caps, front chin spoiler and rear diffuser trim, along with 17-inch black alloy rims and a fixed-glass sunroof with a manually operated fabric cover.

It also uses projector headlights teamed with LED daytime running lamps and tinted foglights.

A bespoke high-mount spoiler for both wagon and hatch and rear privacy glass is also added to the Monte Carlo.

The chassis rides 15mm lower than the stock version on stiffened springs, but no other changes have been made to the suspension or driveline. It sits 36mm longer than the regular car, thanks to the chin spoiler, measures the same in width (1732mm) and is slightly lower (1455mm) than the stock car.

The Monte Carlo also features numerous changes on the inside, including sports seats in striped cloth trim, leather-wrapped flat bottom steering wheel, leather gear gaitor, alloy pedal covers and model-specific speedometer and tachometer dials.

The launch of the Monte Carlo model also marks a running change to the Fabia line, with all variants now equipped with a rearview camera, in addition to its two-stage automatic emergency braking system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, standard cruise control and post-collision braking.

A $1800 Tech Pack provides keyless entry and start, rear parking sensors, dual-zone air-conditioning, adaptive cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and digital radio.

Premium paint is a further $500 option, while satellite navigation is $950.

The wagon is an additional $1150, and carries the same specs as the hatch in all respects including power output and fuel economy. At 1087kg, it is 45kg heavier than the 1042kg hatch.

It can also carry more cargo at 505 litres with the seats up and 1370 down, versus 305 and 1125 litres for the hatch.

The Fabia sits towards the back of the light-car pack when it comes to sales, with Skoda shifting 615 units so far this year, a 58 per cent improvement over the same period last year.

2016 Skoda Fabia pricing*
66TSI Hatch$15,990
66TSI Wagon$17,140
81TSI Hatch (a)$20,290
81TSI Wagon (a)$21,440
Monte Carlo Hatch (a)$23,490
Monte Carlo Wagon (a)$24,640
*Excludes on-road costs

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