Wednesday, 28 January 2015

What Car? Car of the Year 2015: Škoda Fabia.

The Škoda Fabia has just won Car of the Year for the second time and best Small Car 2015 in the What Car? awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.  There were 16 categories of awards, including a Safety award . The Best Green Car award was missing this year.

What Car? now seems to have gone on an economy drive, as the winning cars on their website all seem to have been photographed indoors with digitalised arty backdrops compared with last year's photos of the winning cars in glamorous outdoor locations. 

Škodas were once derided during the 1980s owing to their dated image, but they were reasonably priced and reliable. When we wanted to upgrade our 2CV for a Škoda, our youngest son persuaded us not to, fearing he would be a laughing stock at school.

In 1991 the Czech company Škoda joined forces with VW, which had a 30% share. This caused a turnaround in public perception and by 2000 Škoda  became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group. Success came in the same year when the Škoda Fabia first won the What Car? car of the year.

What Car? Car of the Year 2015 
Škoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 90 SE
and Best Small Car 

What Car? editor, Jim Holder, said: 'We’ve driven and evaluated all of its rivals and, whichever way you cut it, the Fabia is the most rounded small car on sale in the UK today.'  John McIlroy, the Director of testing, wrote:: “The Fabia undercuts rivals such as the Fiesta and Polo on price, but beats both for space and practicality. The 1.2 TSI engine is punchy efficient too.”

The Škoda Fabia has a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine,  touchscreen display and a ‘Mirrorlink’ system to sync with Android phones for sat nav.

Second-hand deals in  Škoda Fabias 1.2 TSI 105 SE look to be a good bet, with prices from £4500.  

Best City Car  
Hyundai i10 1.2 Premium

The Hyundai i10 1.2 Premium has cruise control, a leather steering wheel, Led running lights, 14-inch alloy wheels, standard five-year warranty and roadside assistance, plus reasonable fuel economy.

Best convertible 
Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.4 TFSI 150 Sport

The Audi A3 Cabriolet is the Best convertible for the second year running, and its new 1.4 engine is economical to run.

Best coupé
Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Sport
£25,000 - £35,000

This new version is lighter and has more power. The TT also has one of the finest cabins of any car, and a Virtual Cockpit display behind the driver, similar to the one in a Lamborghini Huracan. The TT is also a fabulous ownership proposition. Such strong desirability means it’ll depreciate far more slowly than its rivals.

Best electric car 
Audi A3 e-tron
£20,000 - £30,000

The Audi A3 e-tron has a 1.4-litre petrol engine and an electric motor which runs for 30 miles before the petrol engine kicks in, at which point you’re free to do as many miles as you have fuel for.

Best estate car
Ford Mondeo Estate 1.6 TDCi 120 Econetic Zetec

The new Mondeo Zetec  has DAB radio, climate and cruise control, power folding mirrors, and an 8.0-inch touch-screen. It is good value and cheaper to run than most of its rivals, thanks to CO2 emissions of just 99g/km.

Best executive car 
BMW 520d SE automatic
The BMW is the best mid-range executive car, bar none, with improved emissions and an excellent eight-speed gearbox.  

Best family car 
015 Skoda Octavia 1.2 TSI 105 SE

The Škoda Octavia 1.2 TSI SE also won this category in 2014. 

No other family car offers such a strong mix of talents, with good practicality, superb quality and low running costs.  It’s also cheaper to run than almost any of its rivals, whether you’re a private or company buyer, with low CO2 emissions and brilliant finance deals. It also has a 590-litre boot which is far larger than its rivals 

Best Hot Hatch
Ford Fiesta ST-2

Hot stands for high-performance. The Ford Fiesta ST-2 has a 1.6-litre turbo engine, Recaro sports seats and a good-sized boot.

Best Large SUV 
Range Rover Sport SDV6 HSE
more than £40,000

The 288bhp 3.0 V6 diesel engine gives  the Range Rover Sport good acceleration, and there is  sat-nav, leather, climate control and parking sensors. "In a class of its own."

Best luxury car 
Mercedes-Benz S350 Bluetec L SE Line
less than £70,000

The S350 is a quality car, with a 3.0-litre diesel engine and appealing running costs; none of the Merc’s rivals can match the comfort and technology available here.

Best MPV 
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 e-HDi 115 Exclusive

Citroen has seven seats yet plenty of space and a powerful 1.6-litre diesel engine, climate control, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and sat-nav.

Best small SUV 
Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi 110 N-tec 2WD

Last year’s overall Car of the Year is still What Car's favourite small SUV.  It’s great to drive, classy inside and good value – particularly as a company car. The Qashqai continues to impress, with a well-finished interior, a chassis that’s well suited to the majority of Britain’s roads, and a 1.5-litre diesel engine. The  Qashqai is equipped with sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, DAB radio, keyless entry and a lane departure-warning system.

The What Car? Safety Award 
Land Rover Discovery Sport

The judges of the What Car? 2015 Safety award were Matthew Avery, research director for Thatcham Research, Professor Peter Thomas, Loughborough University’s Professor of Vehicle Safety. and Murray Mackay, who started the Birmingham Accident research Centre in the ’70s. 

The Land Rover Discovery Sport was crash tested by Thatcham Research on behalf of euro New Car Assessment Program/NCAP. The damage is the result of a 40mph frontal impact, and its best overall NCAP score of all cars tested in 2014 has helped earn the Discovery Sport the What Car? Safety Award.

Car of the Year Reader Award 2015
Honda HR-V

Readers were given a choice of 16 cars to vote for. The HR-V will go on sale in late spring 2015.