For the second time in three years, a Mazda is the Japan Car of the Year. This time it's the all-new Mazda2 (known as the Demio in that country).
It's the fifth time a Mazda has won Japan's most prestigious award, following up the Mazda CX 5's win in 2012.
The Mazda2 edged out the Mercedes-Benz C-Class to take this year's title. All passenger cars with expected annual sales of at least 500 units and announced or launched in Japan between November 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014 were eligible for the award.
Recently launched in Japan, the Mazda2 is the fourth new-generation Mazda to be equipped with the full range of SkyActiv technology, joining the Mazda CX-5, Mazda6 and Mazda3.
Mazda says it aspired to build a subcompact that would shatter preconceived notions about B-segment cars, packing the new Mazda2 with a wealth of new technology and innovative design features.
They include a SkyActiv-D 1.5-litre engine, a brand-new clean diesel with CO2 emissions under 90g/km, an ergonomic cabin that includes the first head-up display in the class, Madza’s in-vehicle connectivity concept, MZD Connect, and a suite of i-ActivSense active safety systems.
"Inspired by this award, we will continue our quest to build cars that add a certain sparkle to the lives of their owners, and aim to become a one-and-only brand chosen by customers again and again,” said Mazda president and CEO Masamichi Kogai.
The new Mazda2 won't arrive in North America until well after the new year as a 2016 model, too late to qualify for either the Canadian or North American Car of the Year Awards this year.
It will, however be eligible for the World Car of the Year award, which its predecessor won in 2008. The 2015 World Car of the Year winner will be revealed at the New York International Auto Show next April.