"We are both honoured and grateful that the Mazda2 has received such a prestigious award. This result is thanks to the enthusiastic support of all people who love cars,” Mazda president Masamichi Kogai said.
“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."
The top 10 was rounded out by the odd little Suzuki Hustler kei car, the Nissan Skyline (sold here as the Infiniti Q50), the new Peugeot 308, Jeep’s new Cherokee, the Honda N-WGN and, in 10th place, the Toyota Voxy MPV.
The new Mazda2 will hit local showrooms in November, but, as with many of models built specifically for Japan, models like the Hustler, the N-WGN and the Voxy are not offered in Australia (and likely never will be).
Japan's Car of the Year winners list has been a largely All-Japan affair across its entire history, with the past decade alone seeing only Volkswagen's new Golf take out the top prize.
- 2014–2015 - Mazda2 (Demio)
- 2013–2014 - Volkswagen Golf
- 2012–2013 - Mazda CX-5
- 2011–2012 - Nissan Leaf
- 2010–2011 - Honda CR-Z
- 2009–2010 - Toyota Prius
- 2008–2009 - Toyota iQ
- 2007–2008 - Honda Jazz (Fit)
- 2006–2007 - Lexus LS 430
- 2005–2006 - Mazda MX-5
- 2004–2005 - Honda Legend
- 2003–2004 - Subaru Liberty (Legacy)
So exclusive is the list, in fact, that another prize runs alongside the overall CotY awards: Japan Import Car of the Year.
As for that quirky Suzuki Hustler...