by Jez Spinks

The Mazda CX-5 has won Japan’s prestigious Car of the Year award.

The SUV beat the likes of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ sports car twins to become the first Mazda to win its domestic Car of the Year since the MX-5 in 2005.

The CX-5, the first Mazda to be designed from the ground up with the company’s full range of efficiency-focused Skyactiv technologies, is also the first non-electric car or non-hybrid to win the gong since 2008.

Winners for the past three years have been the Nissan Leaf (2011), Honda CRZ (2010) and Toyota Prius (2009).

Japan’s Car of the Year committee comprises 60 of the country’s automotive experts and journalists.

Contenders must have gone on sale locally between 1st November 2011 and 31st October 2012, and be sold in more than 500 units, to be eligible.

The BMW 3 Series won the Import of the Year award.

  • Shiok86

    Hell, I must trade my GTS 86 when it arrives for the CX-5

    • Who!

      Well you should, this car (86) is very badly sorted, check out the scion forums, 86 with Gearbox issues, noisy engines, rattles everywhere, rough idling, having to raise the engine to change long life spark plugs….without any doubt the Mazda CX-5 is more ground breaking than an old boxster engine….but I guess the 86 is cheap thrills for a cheap ‘sports car’

      • Sumpguard

        Groundbreaking? Do tell!

        • Glenn Stewart

          Both the CX-5’s Petrol and Diesel engines are complete redesigns – first time in 30+ years for Mazda. In doing so, at least 9 world records were broken in engine design. Some of which include, highest compression petrol and lowest compression diesel available on mass produced vehicle, lowest weigh diesel, lowest noise diesel, highest rev diesel.

          Drive the diesel side by side with any TDI in the VW group and you’ll easily hear and feel that the engine is a generation ahead of anything else on market. Unfortunately it also cost Mazda $600 million to develop, which has in turn helped to destroy balance sheet.

          The 86 engine is a fairly standard Boxer thanks to Subaru. Nothing wrong with it, but Mazda had to spend a fortune on their engine technology to catch up to competitors.

          Best example of working hard to get fuel economy down is the i-Eloop system on the new 6.

          3rd place in the Japan Car of the Year award btw went to the BMW 3 Series.

      • Jober As A Sudge


  • Dave W

    It’s probably because the 86/BRZ is a bit underpowered. It’s a great little sports car but it should’ve used at least a 2.5L boxer.

    • Amlohac

      LOL you copuld use the same argument for the the cx5 2.0 petrol too Dave.

      • Sydlocal


      • Dave W

        Indeed, but the CX-5 wasn’t designed as a sports car for drifting, so the lack of power is not as glaringly obvious as the 86.

        • Sumpguard

          Until you go to overtake!

          • Glenn Stewart

            Overtaking with 2.0L CX-5 is shocking. The 2.2L Diesel though is significantly better.

      • What!

        2.5L is available in CX-5 in 3 weeks.

        • AOK

          The 2.5L is OLD news.

        • Glenn Stewart

          In overtaking stakes, the 2.5L Petrol is still going to have trouble against 420Nm at 2000rpm on diesel.

  • Chest Rockjaw

    The Japanese are weird! CX5 over the 86/BRZ… Pffffffttttt.

    • Sydlocal

       Depends what your priorities are. From a driving/selfish point of view, I agree and would choose the 86/BRZ over a CX5 any day engine in Y. However as a family man, I don’t know how the kids/stroller/holiday gear etc would go in the back of the 86/BRZ!!!! Wonder if they sell a tow bar for a small box trailer? Probably not as the 86/BRZ has no real torque, much like the 2L CX5! 😉 😉

      We also have to remember Japan is a different country who obviously look for different things in a car.

      • Showtime

        I saw an 86 the other towing a jetski, so yes you can fit a towbar.

        • Sydlocal


    • LN

      I was in Japan recently and the CX-5 are hugely popular up there. 86/BRZ are driven by cashed up 50yo Japanese businessmen.

  • Darryl

    At least it shows it doesn’t have to be a hybrid or electric to win. Doubt the CX-5 will win any of the myriad COTY awards here though. My money would be on Wheels picking the VW Up! They have form with that brand. And next year the new Golf.

    • Zaccy16

      i reckon the up will win too and the cx5 will be second

    • Where!

      I think the all new Mazda 6 qualifies for WHEELS COTY?

    • Phil

      No, the VW Up! brought over here isn’t good enough to take the gong. It’ll face tough competition from the 3 Series.

    • Golfschwein

      I reckon it’s a 3 horse race: Up!, Volt and 86. And, yes, judging from rave overseas reports, Golf next year.

  • zej

    It must be the unique-to-industry engine oil top-up feature on the diesel model that pushed it across the line.

    • Christian Fischer

      Please show me the hard facts about what needs to be topped up?? I love it when people jump on board to a fact less argument :)