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The Mazda MX-5 has been named the 2015-2016 Japan Car of the Year. The Japanese roadster becomes the sixth Mazda model to win the award, following in the footsteps of the Mazda 2 that won last year.

Having made its world debut back in October 2014, the fourth-generation ND MX-5 is also the sixth model in the new range of Mazda SkyActiv cars, featuring the brand’s latest Kodo Soul of Motion design language.

President and CEO of Mazda, Masamichi Kogai said, “this result is thanks to everyone’s enthusiastic support, and we are both grateful and proud that our Roadster has received such a prestigious award.” He continued, “inspired by this win, we will continue building cars that offer driving pleasure, aiming to become a “one-and-only” (brand) for our customers that they will choose again and again.”

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The front-engine, rear-wheel drive car is known for its perfect 50:50 weight distribution and Jinba-ittai (“horse and rider as one”) driving feel. The two key elements are said to be the driving force behind the MX-5’s success and appeal over the generations.

At the helm of the new MX-5 range, the top-spec model is powered by a naturally-aspirated SkyActiv-G 2.0 litre engine that delivers 158 hp and 200 Nm of torque. A 1.5 litre engine is also available in certain parts of the world, offering 114 hp and 148 Nm of torque.

In Malaysia, only the top-spec 2.0 litre version is available, with a price tag of RM219,999. Currently, our version of the MX-5 only comes equipped with a SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission. However, Mazda Malaysia has confirmed that a manual version is on its way to us.

GALLERY: Mazda MX-5