• Nov 9, 2010
2011 Honda CR-Z - Click above for high-res image gallery

For the past 31 years, Japan has selected a Car of the Year award recipient. Over 60 jurors, composed mainly of Japanese journalists, vote on a vehicle worthy of the Car of the Year title, and the auto that receives the most nods drives away with the crown. Last year, that honor went to the redesigned Toyota Prius hybrid, which narrowly edged out the Honda Insight. This year, however, Honda took top honors with its all-new 2011 CR-Z.

Car of the Year jurors praised the CR-Z because of its ability to balance driving pleasure and fuel economy. Jurors also noted that Honda managed to wrap all that high-tech gadgetry inside a unique body design. Upon receiving the award, Honda's president and CEO, Takanobu Ito, stated:
We are very proud that the CR-Z has been selected from the strong contenders of new models as the Car of the Year Japan 2010-2011. This award shows that the public has accepted Honda's aspiration to supply exceptional environmental performance in a fun-to-drive hybrid car at an affordable price, as well as Honda's desire to spread the joy of owning and driving a car. We also believe that this award for the CR-Z reflects the true value of the combined efforts of our business partners and the many others who supported CR-Z development and production. Going forward, Honda intends to bring more joy to an even larger number of customers.
Here in North America, the Honda CR-Z didn't make the cut for the NACTOY short list, but we commend the automaker on its ability to make a huge splash in its home market.



Photos copyright ©2010 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

[Source: Japan Car of the Year (translated)]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 52 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah well, I'll take this news with a grain of salt. The Japanese also go nuts for anything with Hello Kitty splashed all over it, soooo....
      • 4 Years Ago
      Apparently winning car of the year in Japan is quite easy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They probably are dispensed from their famously wacky vending machines that sell everything from noodles, to shrimp soda, to (no lie) used panties.

        Japan makes lots of great cars, but the CR-Z is most definitely not one of them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It is easy, so easy hondas worst car to date, the insight, won it last year. 'nuff said.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The problem with a lot of these awards-not just this award-is that the only vehicles that are allowed to be considered are the ones that are new for this model year. Particularly for the awards where they give one for each type of vehicle (like best small SUV, best large SUV, best Crossover, etc.) there's very few vehicles actually competing. And even when there are a couple vehicles that qualify usually the winner so obvious that there's no real point to the comparison. For example if I held a competition for best Midsize Sedan but limited it to only cars new for the 2011 model year the new Sonata would pretty much win by default. When you get to really niche categories like large luxury car over $40,000 there's even less competition to think about.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yup - what new cars came out of Japan in 2010? When you look at the short list of contenders, its easy to see how a CR-Z could win.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @joeyo387 - yes, i read it, the insight still won a car of the year award in japan last year.

        http://green.autoblog.com/2009/10/30/honda-insight-wins-japan-automotive-hall-of-fame-car-of-the-year/
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually, the article says the Prius won last year. I think the fact that all 3 are hybrids says something about the political influence on this prize. The LFA's 15 mpg likely doomed it before journalists even put it into drive...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I really like the CRZ and agree theres a lot of potential waiting to happen there. Way to go Honda and the CRZ. Cheers!

      • 4 Years Ago
      It must've been a pretty slow year for automobiles in Japan.
      • 4 Years Ago
      On paper this car is a flop

      Test drivers seems to think its a decent drive but far from sporty

      ...Japan is biased
        • 4 Years Ago
        As for pony cars, I asked where they have mass appeal outside of the US - taking account of various factors governing the cost of ownership of a car in various parts of the world.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Also, your assertion that the pony cars doomed the american automakers to bankruptcy is beyond ludicrous."

        I never said anything of the sort. The one poster claimed that Japan was out of touch with the rest of the world, and I claimed that it wasn't Japan, it was the United States.

        Here's the reason why: Japan builds products which are individually tailored to different markets. The Corolla, for example, is built in a variety of formats depending on which region the car is sold. It's not the most exciting car, but it's a formula that works. American companies, on the other hand, build one car and palm it off elsewhere with scant regard for regional preferences. The old Chevrolet Blazer was a prime example - they launched it in the UK in LHD form only, and no diesel. It bombed. So they built a RHD model. It still bombed. Not only wasn't it styled to European tastes, it was poorly built and the lack of diesel meant it was doomed to failure. This was typical of GM's lack of foresight in bringing models to different markets. The mk5 Astra, developed into a Saturn for sale in North America, was another prime example.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "All i'm concerned with is the lack of ANY sporting cars in honda's lineup considering what WONDERFUL cars they produced just a short time ago."

        You missed my point. Toyota and Honda haven't forgotten that they are, above all else, businesses. Dream all you like, but if any business acts like a hobby, it will go severely downhill, as Ford and GM did to enormous cost.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bloke - we've chatted before, you know i'm not a huge fan of american cars, i don't care about being bailed out either. All i'm concerned with is the lack of ANY sporting cars in honda's lineup considering what WONDERFUL cars they produced just a short time ago. If VW of all people can manage a brand portfolio from the polo to the veyron, surely honda can provide those who love to drive with a sequel to the s2000.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not convinced that honda has some how forgotten how to build sports cars and keep their bottom line solid. Again, VW can do it. Mazda of all people can do it. Why not honda. I understand the fundamentals of running a business, especially in the automotive world, you'll see me speaking to that perspective often. I have yet to read a credible reason why honda cannot follow up the s2000 with another successful sportscar, or an analysis of the miata to boxer range of coupes market totally disappearing in the us.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Also, your assertion that the pony cars doomed the american automakers to bankruptcy is beyond ludicrous. Their issues was building models that were competitive with asian automakers and up to par with customer expectations, it's pretty easy to argue honda is there.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In related news, it has been reported that the journalists that voted on the car of the year award were all blind. News at 11.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ugh i can't believe i'm with luis on this one, but he's right. I've seen a dozen, it looks fine in person, spades better than most other hondas on the road, but the omitted +2 seating is beyond lunacy. I simply cannot fathom how that meeting went down. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed. On most forums, there's a lot of love for the CR-Z's looks... just not its engine.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, you know what they said about opinions. Obviously, the Japanese have their own as do I. I think it's hideous.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Blind? It's the looks of this car that are hurting. It's the bones.

        I think the car has the looks down pat.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bored off my rocker a buddy and I went out test driving vehicles (yes there is jack and crap to do around here). Anyway, went through some trucks and cars then came across one of these. Only one on the lot. Took it out and honestly..... Had a lot of fun. One of the best drives that day.

      If I was single this would be my next car, hands down. Also the shot here makes its nose look huge but in person I was surprised at how snubbed it was. Either way, it was a lot of fun driving around, taking corners and getting good gas mileage at the same time. Plus being small enough to bolt around traffic.
      • 4 Years Ago
      For the love of Odin, when is Honda going to stuff a K20 under the hood of the CR-Z? And while you're at it, use the space formerly occupied by the batteries to house an SH-AWD system. Now THAT I could get excited about!
        • 4 Years Ago
        add the +2's back in and i'll buy my first honda tomorrow
      • 4 Years Ago
      WHY!?

      Granted I see a couple driving around near me. I mean, they're different. But kind of like it would be different if people walked around with record players hooked to car batteries, for that "Retro Sound". It's what all the cool kids are doing don'cha know?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't know, i must be one of the only one's that actually likes it. I stopped by the local Honda dealer to just simply check it out as I'm not in the market for a new car and I was impressed. The gas mileage may not be spectacular compared to other hybrids but I'd probably get one. I think the only major thing that would hold me back from actually getting one is the fact that the American market crz is only a 2 seater which is beyond baffling to me.

      Make is a 4 seater in the US like the rest of the world, so i can fit my two kids in the back when my wife is working, and it'd be a car I would seriously consider getting as my next car in a few years.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Then go get yourself a Honda Fit instead. Similar mileage and more room.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I've been eye balling that as well. I've been driving my mother in-laws insight though for the last few days since she's been away and I'm loving the 45mpg's i've been getting. I don't really have to worry much about it right now though, not going to be getting a new car for at least 2 years now.
      • 4 Years Ago
      SHARK!!!

      Oh wait...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ive read a lot of post and also a lot of them dont know about chasis made and thermodymanic eficienci...japan its more about engeeniering thanhow its looks...I bet a lot of people here dont know the fit have an duble chasis and under frame structure...I don like this CRX but it for somthing
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