by Seán Creedon

Skoda has given their Fabia a mid-life make over. As with most facelifts you would need to be wearing your motoring anorak to spot all the changes/improvements.

The main changes are to the lights front and back. Other areas where there are slight changes are in the radiator grille and bumpers front and rear.

New alloys are available and the 17-inch Torino black alloys on the sporty-looking Monte Carlo version I drove, certainly looked impressive.

Skoda first introduced the Monte Carlo version of the Fabia in 2011 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the famous race. It’s simply gorgeous.

The interior of the Škoda Fabia Automatic.

In the cabin there are also minor alterations and you now get Blind Spot Detection, Rear Traffic Alert and Auto Light Assist. You get reversing sensors, but no reversing camera. The Apple Car play worked very well and overall the dash area is well laid out with all the controls user friendly

Important Car

I have written here recently about how well Skoda is doing in Ireland and the Fabia is an important car in their expanding range of cars and SUVs.

Skoda use a grey colour in many of their cars. You will be familiar with great Octavia taxis and similarly with the Fabia. But my Monte Carlo test car came in a Corrida Red with black roof.

The Czech company used to sponsor the Tipperary hurlers and footballers, but it’s a pity they don’t link with the Cork hurlers or Bohemians soccer club as those red and black colours would be ideal for promotional purposes.

The Škoda Fabia. (Picture: Ivo Hercik)

The Fabia is a very neat supermini and after driving a couple of huge people carriers in previous weeks, it made a pleasant change to sit into what you could describe as a fairly normal small car. It’s very neat and ever so lively. It reminded me a skinny Opel Corsa that I owned in the eighties.

There is also a change of engines. Gone is the 1.4-litre diesel and it’s replaced with a 1.0-litre turbo petrol. My test model had 110 brake horse power which was very lively, but also frugal.

My wife liked the Fabia and she found it very easy to get in and out, which for her was a big plus. She said that when I ‘really’ retire we should invest in a Fabia. And it wouldn’t have to be the sporty Monte Carlo version.

The Fabia remains one of the finest cars around if you want to look outside the traditional big three in this sector: Fiesta, Polo and Ibiza.

Prices for the regular Fabia start at €15,600 which is great value. As usual with Skoda there are three trims: Active, Ambition and Style. The sporty Monte Carlo version I drove, which has some lovely black touches and badges, starts at €19,445, but my test model with a sun roof and a few more extras brought the price up to €21,285. Road tax is €190. The boot is a decent size and you get a full-size spare wheel.

If you opt for that red and black version your car will certainly stand out from the crowd and you should get some envious glances in the supermarket car park.