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Toyota Prius crowned Japan Car of the Year

Toyota Prius chief engineer Satoki Oya holds the Japan Car of the Year trophy

The all-new Toyota Prius has convincingly won the prestigious Japan Car of the Year trophy in Tokyo.

Entering the awards ceremony as the favourite to win, the sleekly-styled Prius polled a massive 360 votes. The BMW X1 finished in second place with 150 votes to take the Import Car of the Year trophy, with the Honda ZR-V crossover came in third with 100 votes.

In the first round of voting in early November, jurors selected the “10 Best” cars for 2023 which included the Toyota Prius, Toyota Alphard, Nissan Serena, Honda ZR-V, Subaru Crosstrek, Mitsubishi Delica Mini, Abarth 500e, BMW X1, Maserati Grecale and Volkswagen ID.4.

According to Prius chief engineer Satoki Oya, the car’s reinvention was a case of extremes when former CEO Akio Toyoda recommended that the Prius, a game-changing petrol-hybrid first introduced in 1997, had run its course and should be retired and relegated to taxi status.

But product planners and engineers, believing the Prius’s fate could be turned around, totally redesigned the exterior and rethought the powertrain, making the hybrid pioneer the most stylish it’s ever been with significantly increased performance and better fuel economy.

In the special awards categories, the 660cc Mitsubishi Delica Mini kei-car won the Design Car of the Year trophy, while the Nissan Serena took home the Technology Car of the Year award for its new e-Power system employing a 3-cylinder 1.4-litre hybrid and Pro-Pilot 2.0 driver assist system which allows hands-off driving on highways.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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