2020 Carsales Best First Car Award

2020 Carsales Best First Car Award

Encore performance for Skoda Fabia in 2020 carsales Best First Car Award

Czech won two: VW’s junior partner has scored consecutive wins with the Fabia light hatch

The Skoda Fabia has won the carsales Best First Car Award for 2020, the light hatchback’s second win in a row.

Seven judges settled on the Fabia for this year’s award, which was decided by a ‘bench test’ rather than a field test due to restrictions on movements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In another change to the modus operandi this year, the eligibility criteria now includes a price cap of $25,000, which is $5000 more than last year.

This reflects the rapid price shifts for vehicles at the budget end of the market.

SKODA Fabia for Sale

And editorial staff at carsales also acknowledged that raising the price cap to $25,000 allows for the inclusion of small SUVs to suit inexperienced drivers demanding a little more room inside.

To be considered eligible, each car had to be fitted as standard with autonomous emergency braking and a reversing camera.

The process began with using New Car Showroom and RedBook to arrive at a list of 10 contenders for this year’s running of carsales Best First Cars.

To ensure that each vehicle was actually eligible, pricing and specifications were cross-checked against the respective brand’s public-domain website.

The judges taking part were asked to rate the cars in a two-stage process, firstly allocating a score out of 10 for each of the 10 contenders – in order to narrow the field down to five finalists.

From there, the judges were to select three ‘best on field cars’ from the finalists using an AFL Brownlow Medal-style count (three, two and one to score the points in descending order).

Although this year’s new eligibility criteria allowed small SUVs to be considered for the award, the five finalists were all passenger cars, three from the VFACTS light car segment and two from the small car segment.

The Skoda Fabia came out on top in the preliminary judging phase, ranking highest among the 10 contenders, but also peaked among the five finalists – making it a clean sweep for the light hatch.

While the Fabia only just edged out the Kia Cerato in the preliminary judging, in the second round of judging, it doubled the points score of the second-placed Cerato, for a decisive win.

“It might not be the newest car in its class, but the evergreen Skoda Fabia continues to tick more boxes than any other sub-$25K car with all the requisite safety gear, once again making it the most suitable first car available in 2020,” said carsales editor in chief Mike Sinclair.

At entry level, the Fabia 70TSI hatch (from $18,390 plus on-road costs) comes with a 70kW/160Nm 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine with a manual transmission. For an extra $3000 – from $21,390 – the Fabia 81TSI has a higher output (81kW/200Nm) with a dual-clutch automatic as standard.

A flagship Monte Carlo version of the 81TSI Fabia is also available (from $24,990), and all three variants can be had in a wagon body style for an extra $1100.

The finalists

  • Hyundai i30
  • Kia Cerato S
  • Kia Rio GT-Line
  • Skoda Fabia 70 TSI
  • Volkswagen Polo 85 TSI Comfortline

The judges

  • Mike Sinclair – editor in chief
  • Marton Pettendy – managing editor
  • Ken Gratton – technical editor
  • Sam Charlwood – news editor
  • Feann Torr – senior journalist
  • Nadine Armstrong – consumer editor Paul Gover – contributor

Click here to read the full article.

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