Andrew Chesterton road tests and reviews the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo hatch and wagon, with specs fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch.

Even the most ardent Australian motorsport fans tend to draw something of blank when it comes to Skoda. The once-Czech, but now VW Group-owned car company is a staggering 121 years old, but with a large chunk of that time spent hidden behind the impenetrable iron curtain of Eastern Europe, its racing history, if not its very existence, is something of a mystery to many Aussies.

Skoda’s latest efforts to change that begin with this, the 2017 Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo, named after one of the world’s most iconic races, the Rallye Monte Carlo – an event Skoda has contested since the late-1930s, and dominated throughout the 1960s, though not in the top-flight division.

But if you’re expecting a race-spec pocket rocket, prepare to be a little disappointed. That ship sailed with the Fabia RS hot hatch, which has been discontinued globally. But while there’s no mechanical changes between the Monte Carlo and the existing top-spec Fabia 81TSI, you do get a heap of extra technology, style and safety equipment. And it’s available as an uber-practical wagon for the first time.

The $23,490 Monte Carlo sits atop the Fabia range, all of which has been refreshed for 2017.