The world’s biggest selling sports-car has taken out the auto industry’s top prize, as hybrids and luxury models take a back seat.
The Mazda MX-5 sports-car has been voted World Car of the Year for 2016, the automotive industry’s top award.
The world’s biggest selling sports-car, which is due to pass the 1 million milestone within weeks, was announced the winner at the New York auto show last week.
It was voted the best car of 2016 by 73 motoring journalists from 23 countries who assessed more than 50 new vehicles of all shapes and sizes -- and price ranges -- over the previous 12 months.
The Mazda MX-5 also took out the World Car Design award for 2016.
“What a day for Mazda,” said senior Mazda executive Masahiro Moro, the former head of product planning who is now in charge of the company’s revival in the US.
“Of behalf of all Mazda engineers and designers, I would like to congratulate them,” said Moro-san.
“I also congratulate all MX-5 owners all over the world. Over the last 26 years they have made the MX-5 a brand icon.”
The MX-5 also took out the design award.
The latest, fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 was praised for going back to its roots as a fun-to-drive sports-car, with the new model being almost as light as the original launched in 1989, despite the addition of extra safety features and a stronger body.
Mazda says it will keep the 1 millionth MX-5 made as a museum piece after it rolls off the Japanese production line in the coming weeks.
In other categories, World Green Car for 2016 was awarded to Toyota Mirai hydrogen car, defeating the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and fourth-generation Toyota Prius hybrid.
Best Performance Car went to the Audi R8 V10, ahead of the Honda Civic Type R hatchback and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe.
Best Luxury Car went to the BMW 7 Series (defeating the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7 SUVs) while the Mazda MX-5 took out the design award, ahead of the Jaguar XE sedan and Mazda CX-3 SUV.
World Car of the Year winners
2016 -- Mazda MX-5
2015 -- Mercedes-Benz C Class
2014 -- Audi A3
2013 -- Volkswagen Golf Mk7
2012 -- Volkswagen Up
2011 -- Nissan Leaf
2010 -- Volkswagen Polo
2009 -- Volkswagen Golf Mk6
2008 -- Mazda2
2007 -- Lexus LS460
2006 -- BMW 3 Series
2005 -- Audi A6
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