It’s a hat-trick of COTYs for the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf. After winning this year’s European Car of the Year and World Car of the Year awards, the benchmark C-segment Euro hatch has picked up its third major international car trophy – the Car of the Year Japan award.

What’s more significant is that the Volkswagen Golf becomes the first ever non-Japanese car to win Japan Car of the Year in the awards’ 34-year history.

In a contest that was expected to see the latest Golf trade blows with the new Honda Fit (Jazz in Malaysia) for honours, the Golf polled strongly from the outset and ended up amassing 504 votes from the 60 jurors in attendance. The versatile Fit/Jazz came in second with 373 votes and the Volvo V40 placed third with 167.
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“This is a very special award for us in so many ways. Firstly, our Golf 7 has become the first ever imported car to win Japan’s COTY award, and we achieved this in our 60th year since Volkswagen imports started into Japan,” commented Shigeru Shoji, president of Volkswagen Japan.

In three new minor awards introduced this year, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) picked up the ‘Innovation Award,’ the Mazda Atenza (new Mazda6) won the ‘Emotional Award’ and the jointly developed Suzuki Spacia/Mazda Flair Wagon minicars captured the ‘Small Mobility Award.’ The ‘Special Achievement Award’ went to the Daihatsu Move for its front seat lift design, created to assist senior citizens and the disabled.

Read our review of the Mk7 Golf TSI and Mk7 Golf GTI.