The fifth-generation Toyota RAV4 has been named Japan Car of the Year 2019-2020, marking the first time the carmaker won the award since the Prius took the top prize back in 2009-2010. The RAV4 triumphed by scoring a total of 436 points, beating out the Mazda 3 in second place (328 points) as well as the BMW 3 Series in third (290 points).

According to JCOTY, the RAV4 impressed as it “responded to all needs at a high level,” and was available in three types of all-wheel drive systems. Other positives include the enjoyment and comfort that came with the TNGA platform used, pricing, luggage space and the Japan-exclusive data communication module.

The RAV4 is the 40th vehicle to win the coveted JCOTY title, with past winners being the Volvo XC40 (2018-2019), XC60 (2017-2018), Subaru Impreza (2016-2017), Mazda Roadster/MX-5 (2015-2016), Mazda Demio/2 (2014-2015) and Volkswagen Golf (2013-2014).

Further down the list, the Toyota Corolla took the fourth post (118 points), and is followed by the Jaguar I-Pace (109 points), Jeep Wrangler (56 points), Honda N-WGN (54 points), Mercedes-Benz A-Class (53 points), Nissan Days/Mitsubishi eK (35 points) and finally, the Daihatsu Tanto (21 points).

Special awards were also given out to the Jeep Wrangler, which took the Emotional Award for its robust on- and off-road capabilities, while the Nissan Skyline secured the Innovation Award for its ProPilot 2.0 “hands-off” semi-autonomous driving system.

Meanwhile, the Small Mobility Award went to the Mitsubishi eK and Nissan Dayz, thanks to the kei cars’ improved manoeuvrability, safety and driving support systems. The jurors were also receptive to the models’ high level of comfort, effective utilisation of space, and unique styling.