The Alfa MiTo has become the first Alfa Romeo model to ever be shortlisted for the prestigious Car of the Year Japan award which has celebrated its thirtieth edition this week during the 41st Tokyo Motor Show (above). Photo: MAX Press.

The Alfa MiTo has become the first Alfa Romeo model to ever be shortlisted for the prestigious Car of the Year Japan award which has celebrated its thirtieth edition this week during the 41st Tokyo Motor Show. While Fiat Group Automobiles, including Alfa Romeo, and many other leading European brands have skipped the country's première motor show this time the MiTo is however on display in an area of the halls dedicated to the Car of the Year Japan award.

While the new MiTo didn't win the overall prize, it came home in ninth place out of the final run-off of ten models, it did, importantly, make it through to the last batch of cars to be considered for the honour. European cars on the judging list that failed to make the final shortlist included the BMW 7-series and Z4, Audi A4 Cabriolet, Peugeot 308 CC and Jaguar XFR. Making it through from Europe to the final ten places alongside the MiTo was the VW Golf and Mercedes-Benz E-class, while Fiat's new partner Chrysler Group was the only North American carmaker to represented in the contest, thanks to the Dodge Journey, although the minivan was knocked out during the first round voting.

Celebrating its 30th year, the Japan Car of the Year awards held its final voting session for 2009-2010 on October 21 at the Makuhari Messe site in Chiba Prefecture. After all the votes were counted and tallied, the winner of the Japan Car of the Year was the Toyota Prius while the Import Car of the Year award went to the Volkswagen Golf. In addition, the special award for Most Advanced Technology was awarded to Mitsubishi i-MiEV, while the Nissan Fairlady Z won the prize for Most Fun. The trophy for Best Value was awarded to the Subaru Legacy. This year’s award coincides with the 30th year since the Japan Car of the Year organization was established, and in a special vote to select the most impressionable Best Third Decade Car from winners of the 20th to 29th Japan Car of the Year, the Honda Fit was crowned the victor.

Japan Car of the Year Voting Results:

1st Prius (Toyota) 433 votes
2nd Insight (Honda) 391 votes
3rd Golf (Volkswagen) 186 votes
4th i-MiEV (Mitsubishi) 131 votes
5th E-Class (Mercedes Benz) 125 votes
6th Axela (Mazda3) (Mazda) 71 votes
7th XC60 (Volvo) 52 votes
8th Fairlady Z (Nissan) 49 votes
8th MiTo (Alfa Romeo) 49 votes
10th Legacy (Subaru) 38 votes

Total votes: 1525 votes / 61 Jurors

Winner of Japan Car of the Year – Toyota Prius

Toyota created the hybrid segment over 12 years ago, and continues to meet the needs of the eco-generation. The car’s affordable pricing and no-compromise precision electronic control system were two aspects evaluated highly by jurors. The company continues to challenge the boundaries of hybrid motorization with a new era of environmentally friendly technology.

Winner of Import Car of the Year – Volkswagen Golf

Jurors praised the Golf’s special blend of sporty performance and excellent fuel efficiency achieved through the synergy effect from the superb DSG transmission and its small capacity engine empowered by a unique turbocharger and supercharger combination. This hardware makes the Golf a real driver’s car.

Recipient of Most Advanced Technology award – Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Employing high performance lithium-ion batteries, the i-MiEV is the world’s first mass production EV car to offer usable everyday performance and practicality thanks to its advanced electronic system. It is a car that opens the door to an exciting electric future. Jurors en-masse voted for these significant developments.

Recipient of Most Fun award – Nissan Fairlady Z (370Z)

The Z is the very embodiment of Nissan’s sports car program. Fitted with a powerful V6 engine driving the rear wheels, this stylish coupe boasts ‘Synchr-rev Control,’ a new transmission feature that makes the 6-speed manual car a blast to drive.

Recipient of Best Value award – Subaru Legacy

The jury panel gave high marks to the Legacy’s combination of affordable price, superb AWD system and horizontally-opposed boxer engine, meticulously honed over the last 20 years. The car also features an all-new driving assist unit called SI radar cruise.

© 2009 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed