Chris Johnson has taken the Skoda Fabia Hatch Monte Carlo for a spin - and finds that it'll definitely bring a bit of the French Riviera to a country lane near you.

Back in my youth I was one of many young farm chaps who were able to run a decent 'hot hatch' to get me to and from work, out to a farm sale or better still out on a date, he writes.

The thrill of adding a noisy exhaust (why did we think it was cool?), a CD player, Parcel shelf mounted speakers and mud flaps all part of the culture of tasteless tat and an eagerness to look cool. (Bearing in mind a JD 3050 or a MF590 was still fairly exotic back then).

So, on noting the arrival of another car from those clever folk at Skoda I was rather dubious when the spec sheet had the words Monte Carlo blazoned across the header.

Sure enough this bright blue (race blue metallic) hatch back arrived and instantly I had concerns about how my older, more amply frame would fit…

Needless to say, I shouldn’t have been worried, the doors opened wide and I glided effortlessly into the rally style seats.

My eyes darting wildly across the dash, noting the three spoke multifunction steering wheel my mind took me on a nostalgic trip back to my own days in my 205 GTI and whilst the modern twist delivered by Skoda was far improved from my sparsely clad farm racer, I felt a little bit sad that I hadn’t kept my old car in a shed somewhere.

The carbon effect trim, the aluminium pedals, black head lining, dual zone air conditioning and driver aids gave the Monte Carlo a distinctive feel, a sense of pedigree and above all a confidence to drive the car as intended…with determination.

The Scottish Farmer:

The 1.5 TSI engine produces 150ps which attached to the seven-speed old faithful DSG gearbox enabled the car to swiftly proceed down the road, with a top speed of 139mph you certainly feel the dormant hedgerows zoom past and rather rapidly catch vehicles that just a moment ago were dots in the distance.

Despite the engine being 'small' the Fabia is quiet and achieves perfect poise and any speed, the ride is slightly loud but that’s because it had 18” libra black metallic brushed alloys on low profile tyres - so anything less than a tarmac road you’d better take the farm bus!

Returning a decent mpg in the mid 40s the Monte Carlo held her fuel well and despite doing many short journeys the tank read just under half full after a week, so that’s got to be good for anyone, especially on farm wages!

The level of technology on board would embarrass many larger European cars, with everything being easy to operate and to do so efficiently and with a sense of purpose.

The 8” display is perfectly scaled for the car and the leather trim to the handbrake gives that added value as you would expect from Skoda.

It gives you the real sense of being in a quality car that’s packed full of attitude but is perfectly capable of doing the school run without scaring the kids or nipping Mum to the shop without being grounded.

The Fabia as tested did have £3,500 worth of options fitted, which further enhanced the driver experience and the look of the car, but with a base RRP of £23,775 the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo will definitely bring a bit of the French Riviera to a country lane near you.

Pros: Quick and sporty, packed full of tech, low purchase price

Cons: Tyre noise, no sat nav, am I too old?!