Haters, step aside.

My unwavering love for Škoda finds itself once again justified on the most official of levels; this year’s third generation Fabia has scooped up the prestigious What Car? Car of The Year 2015 award. Alongside that it earned the Best Small Car title, while the Octavia has been named Best Family Car.

The Fabia is no stranger to the top ranking; it initially won Car of The Year back in 2000, when the first generation took the streets by storm. The new Fabia is a stunner: it boasts more space, significantly lighter weight, and a EU6-compliant engine making it up to 17% more efficient. It continues to be, as it has for fifteen years, devilishly handsome, reliable, and cheap to run – not to mention the fact that you can buy the brand new model from a mere ten grand.

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This car is at the top of its class, having beaten off endless competitors (again) to get there. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t feel personally satisfied by this announcement – lord knows the editor asked me to write it knowing how damn smug it would make me. The thing is, I still think of Škoda as the underdog, and I love seeing this company win. Many might disagree, given the brand’s enormous success, but I know from experienced that motoring prejudices run deep, and Škoda remains the butt of so many unkind and inaccurate jokes.

Perhaps it’s time to loosen the shackles of preconception and see the bigger picture. In the last fifteen years, over 3.5 million Fabias have been sold worldwide, numbers which generously assist Škoda’s record sales during the past half-decade. Škoda shifted 100,000 more cars in 2014 than in 2013, undoubtedly aided by the well-received new Citigo and Rapid hatchback models.

The reason for all of this is that Škoda offers quality for money the likes of which would be suspicious if it wasn’t proven true time and time again. Awards like this aren’t handed out on a whim; editor of What Car?, Jim Holder, referred to the victory as Škoda’s overall quality combined with “the rivals it has managed to dispose of in the process”, while the brand’s CEO stated that the Fabia is “in every respect, simply more car”.

There’s no debating this, friends. Škoda’s comeback wasn’t a fluke – it was a drawn-out and spectacular dramatic entrance.

Deal with it.