Japan Car of the Year title was won by the Honda Fit Hybrid, with the prize being awarded by a group of industry movers and Japanese automotive journalists, the international media announced on Sunday. The reasons for Honda Fit Hybrid’s victory included the small-car concept, Honda’s Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive evolution of hybrid technology, and superior space and packaging for its class.
Honda won the award for the 12th time since the awards began in 1980, becoming thus the automaker with the most victories so far. Aside from the 2013 award, Honda receives its most recent prize in 2010 for the CR-Z hybrid. This will also be the third time the Honda Fit itself has taken home JCOTY honors, one for each generation.
The Honda Fit Hybrid is based on the third-generation Honda Fit, which went on sale in Japan in September. It is powered by a 1.5L Atkinson-cycle engine with a built-in lithium-ion battery. The engine and motor can be engaged and disengaged with Honda’s i-DCD (Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive) system. With the help of a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, it has achieved 85.6 mpg, the highest rating for any hybrid vehicle in Japan, according to the media.
During the last years, the award was given mostly to environmentally friendly cars. 2011’s winner was the Nissan Leaf, followed by the aforementioned CR-Z in 2010, Toyota Prius in 2009 and Toyota iQ in 2008.