Honda's CR-Z was named the Car of the Year in Japan, with 406 votes against the 397 votes for Volkswagen's Polo, which took second place. However, it was a very tight fight, which some say was won by the narrowest margin in the annual award’s history. Waseda University Hall in Tokyo was the venue for the final voting.
VW’s Polo had been leading but then the final five members of the 60-member jury showed an overwhelming support for the CR-Z. When the announcement was made, all Honda staffers cheered, including the usually serious CR-Z chief engineer Norio Tomobe.
Third place went to Suzuki's Swift while the Peugeot RCZ came in fourth. While the VW model failed to take the top prize, it was recognized for its very strong display in the contest, which had long been dominated by local models.
The Polo won Import Car of the Year. The new 2011 Honda CR-Z has already started selling and has a starting retail price of $19,200, plus a destination and handling charge of $750.
This vehicle is powered by a 1.5-liter i VTEC 4-cylinder engine that delivers 102 hp and an electric motor that delivers 20 hp.
This indicates that the car boasts a total output of 122 hp and 128 lb-ft. of torque at 1,000 to 1,500 rpm (123 lb-ft on CVT-equipped models). The new CR-Z is offered in two equipment grades: the CR-Z (base) and the CR-Z EX.