The Volvo XC40 has been named as the 2018-2019 Japan Car of the Year, making it the first back-to-back victory for an imported brand – the Swedish marque won the title last year with its XC60.

The SUV, which sits on the company’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform that was co-developed with Geely, is no stranger to winning a COTY award, having bagged the 2018 European Car of the Year award earlier this year.

The fight was tight between it and the eventual second-placed Toyota Corolla Sport. After the XC40 picked up an early lead, the Corolla came back midway through counting to briefly overtake the Swedish offering before the Volvo accelerated away to win by 49 points, the final score being 363 points for the XC40 and 314 points for the Corolla.

Finishing in third place was the Volkswagen Polo, which managed to obtain 197 points, while the Toyota Crown came fourth with 170 points and the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross finished fifth with 165 points. The voting panel was made up of 60 jurors.

In the special awards categories, the Honda Clarity PHEV (plug-in hybrid) took home the Best Innovation Award while the BMW X2 captured the Emotional Award and the Daihatsu Tocot took home the Small Mobility gong.

Elsewhere, the COTY steering committee’s presented a Special Achievement Award to the Toyota Gazoo Racing team for its winning achievements at the Le Mans 24-hours and the World Rally Championships. The Honda N-Van was also presented with a Special Achievement Award.