The Czech model, which also won the Small Car category at last night’s ceremony, scooped the main prize exactly 15 years after winning it for the first time.
What Car?’s Car of the Year Awards, in association with Warranty Direct and held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane, are highly-prized by manufacturers and the car-buying public. Awards are presented in 16 categories but only the car that delivers best against the judging panel’s stringent criteria wins the overall Car of the Year prize.
The winning Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 90 SE model beat stiff competition from 25 other vehicles that made the overall COTY shortlist.
What Car?’s panel of judges praised the Fabia’s turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine, which combines punchy and flexible performance with impressive efficiency credentials – vitally important for private and company car drivers who will appreciate its potential 60.1mpg (EU combined) and 107g/km emissions, putting it in VED band B (£0 first year, £20 thereafter).
It also beats its main rivals in the small car class – the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo – for space and practicality, while the technology that comes as standard on the Fabia includes a 6.5-inch touch-screen and system that can sync with Android phones to provide sat-nav.
What Car? editor Jim Holder said: ‘The Fabia is a fully deserved winner of our most sought-after award. Whichever way you cut it, the Fabia is the most rounded small car on sale in the UK today.’
Other winners include another Skoda, the Octavia, in the Family Car sector, the Audi A3 e-tron (electric car), Citroen Grand C4 Picasso (MPV) and the Sunderland-built Nissan Qashqai.
Land Rover’s Discovery Sport won the inaugural What Car? Car of the Year Safety Award, presented in conjunction with Thatcham Research, the UK’s only Euro NCAP crash test centre.
What Car? winners
Hyundai i10 1.2 Premium
Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 90 SE
Skoda Octavia 1.2 TSI 105 SE
Audi A3 e-tron
Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Sport
Ford Mondeo Estate 1.6 TDCi 120 Econetic Zetec
Citroën Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 e-HDi 115 Exclusive
Ford Fiesta ST-2
Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.4 TFSI 150 Sport
Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi 110 N-tec 2WD
Range Rover Sport SDV6 HSE
BMW 520d SE automatic
Porsche Boxster 2.7
Mercedes-Benz S350 CDI Bluetec L SE Line
Land Rover Discovery Sport
CAR OF THE YEAR