Volvo XC60 crowned Japanese Car of the Year
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After a vote-counting ceremony which saw the lead change three times between top contenders', the Volvo XC60 has been named Japan's Car of the Year 2018.
Awarded by a select committee of 60 members including motoring journalists, TV presenters, industry professionals, race and rally drivers and even a DJ, Volvo's new luxury crossover pulled away in the closing moments to poll 294 votes and clinch the brand's first Japanese COTY award.
Judges praised the XC60 for its 'comfort, functionality, enjoyment of driving required for contemporary SUVs in an easy-to-handle affordable body at a high level.'
The XC60's interior was described as 'beautiful' and the Scandinavian-designed exterior looked and felt 'high quality are superb.'
Volvo's safety equipment gained the XC60 more points as well as the addition of 'abundant powertrains including plug-in hybrid.'
Volvo Japan CEO Takayuki Kimura said before the night started he'd have been happy with the Improt Car of the Year award (if an imported car wins Japan COTY, the Import COTY award is void).
"To come away with the overall Japan Car of the Year is totally unexpected and sincerely humbling ... I dedicate this award to the 100 dealers and 1400 staff across the nation,” said Kimura.
The first Volvo XC60s arrived in New Zealand last month and will be in consideration for Driven Car of the Year awards next year.
The Volvo finished 52 votes clear of the BMW 5-Series in second place and 62 ahead of the closest Japanese competitor, the Toyota Camry.
The Suzuki Swift finished in fourth place, ahead of the Honda N-Box(Japan only Kei car), Lexus LC, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Mazda CX-5, Citroen C3 and Volkswagen Tiguan.
Toyota Executive Chairman, Takeshi Uchiyamada, shows off his trophy for the 10 millionth hybrid sale since 1989.
In the special award categories, Toyota picked up a hat-trick of trophies; one for Best Innovation for its Prius PHEV while the Lexus LC captured the Emotional Award.
Then, in this, its 20th anniversary since launching the Prius hybrid, Toyota picked up the COTY steering committee’s ‘Special Achievement Award’ for the brand’s 10 millionth hybrid sale.