For the first time in the 33-year history of the Japan Car of the Year (JCOTY) awards, a non-Japanese model has won the overall Car of the Year title and it is the Volkswagen Golf Mark 7. This is quite an incredible achievement for Volkswagen as an imported model sold in a market where there are strong domestic carmakers which make fine products. The jury, consisting of Japanese journalists and experts in the field, is certainly sending a message to the Japanese carmakers that while they may produce fine cars with superior quality and advanced engineering, the Germans still have an edge in total vehicle design.

In explaining their choice for the overall title, the 60-member jury praised the MQB modular chassis which provides a ‘fine ride and precise handling’ and sets a benchmark for the segment. They also found the Golf to be a fun to drive car in all environments and that it has a reasonable price (in the Japanese market) helped it score many points.

Being the Car of the Year in Japan is a significant award for the Golf but it has also been winning awards for its excellence in other countries since its launch in late 2012. Besides being the 2013 European Car of the Year, it is also the overall winner in the 2013 Autocar ASEAN Car of the Year awards, the second time that the Golf has won the overall title in the award’s 10-year history.

Based on number of votes awarded by each juror, the rankings for the models which had earlier been selected as the ‘Best 10 Cars of 2013-2014’ are as follow:
1. Volkswagen Golf – 504 points
2. Honda Fit/Fit hybrid – 373 points
3. Volvo V40 – 167 points
4. Mercedes-Benz S-Class – 149 points
5. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – 99 points
6. Mazda Atenza (Mazda6) – 96 points
7. Toyota Crown Royal/Athlete/Majesta – 59 points
8. Fiat Panda – 27 points
9. Subaru XV Hybrid – 18 points
10. MINI Paceman – 8 points

3rd generation of the Honda Fit/Fit Hybrid (Jazz in Malaysia)

Also notable is the fact that half the finalists for the JCOTY this year are non-Japanese models. The highest-placed Japanese model was the new generation of the Honda Fit/Fit Hybrid (Jazz) which was runner-up. Honda must have been hopeful that the model would be overall winner again as the first and second generation were overall winners.

Mazda Atenza (Mazda6) received a special award for its 'Emotional Appeal' with its design which is fairly close to that of the concept car known as the Shinari that introduced Mazda's new design philosophy known as 'KODO - Soul of Motion'

Special awards were also given to the Mazda Atenza, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Suzuki Spacia/Mazda Flare and Daihatsu Move.

1980/1981: Mazda Familia (323)
1981/1982: Toyota Soarer
1982/1983: Mazda Capella (626)
1983/1984: Honda Civic
1984/1985: Toyota MR2
1985/1986: Honda Accord
1986/1987: Nissan Pulsar
1987/1988: Mitsubishi Galant
1988/1989: Nissan Silvia SX
1989/1990: Toyota Celsior (Lexus LS)
1990/1991: Mitsubishi Galant
1991/1992: Honda Civic
1992/1993: Nissan March
1993/1994: Honda Accord
1994/1995: Mitsubishi FTO
1995/1996: Honda Civic
1996/1997: Mitsubishi Galant
1997/1998: Toyota Prius
1998/1999: Toyota Altezza (Lexus IS250)
1999/2000: Toyota Vitz (Yaris)
2000/2001: Honda Civic
2001/2002: Honda Fit (Jazz)
2002/2003: Honda Accord
2003/2004: Subaru Legacy
2004/2005: Honda Legend
2005/2006: Mazda MX-5
2006/2007: Lexus LS460
2007/2008: Honda Fit (Jazz)
2008/2009: Toyota iQ
2009/2010: Toyota Prius
2010/2011: Honda CR-Z
2011/2012: Nissan LEAF
2012-2013: Mazda CX-5

To test-drive the latest Golf, contact Wearnes VW or any authorized Volkswagen dealer nationwide (visit for showroom locations).

[Chips Yap]

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