Volvo XC60 managed to beat out hot Japanese makes and other nominated models to win the Japan Car of the Year (JCOTY) Award. After three decisive final decisions, the XC60 topped the BMW 5 Series and Toyota Camry to take the JCOTY. In the final votes, the Swedish crossover pulled away to poll 294 votes and clinched the 2018 Japan Car of the Year. The XC60 finished some 52 votes clear of the strong finishing 5-Series and 62 ahead of the closest Japanese competitor, Toyota’s Camry.
For Volvo, it was the first JCOTY win in the award’s 38-year history. Behind the XC60, 5 Series and Camry was the Suzuki Swift, finishing just ahead of the Honda N-Box, Lexus LC, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Mazda CX-5, Citroen C3 and VW Tiguan.
In the special award categories, Toyota picked up a hat-trick of trophies; one for Best Innovation for its Prius PHEV while the Lexus LC captured the Emotional Award. Then, in this, its 20th anniversary since launching the Prius hybrid, Toyota picked up the COTY steering committee’s ‘Special Achievement Award’ for the brand’s 10 millionth hybrid sale. The Honda N-Box won the Small Mobility Award for being judged the best vehicle in Japan’s unique 660cc class category.
In the second biggest surprise of the day (after the Volvo win), a second Special Achievement Award was presented to racer Takuma Sato for his unforgettable victory in this year’s Indy 500, making him the first Japanese to win the legendary race.
Volvo XC60: The Best yet from the Swedish marque
XC60 is the first of Volvo’s mid-sized 60 series models to be built on its Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform. It is powered exclusively by Volvo’s efficient Drive-E powertrains, and features much of the advanced connectivity, entertainment and safety technology from the larger 90 series cars, the S90 premium saloon, V90 estate and XC90 SUV.
Engine options include three 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engines, D4 and D5 PowerPulse diesels, T5 petrol, and a T8 Twin Engine petrol-electric plug-in hybrid. Every XC60 comes with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. The 235hp D5 powerplant benefits from PowerPulse, an ingenious Volvo invention that uses compressed air to spin the engine’s two turbos when they would otherwise be dormant, such as very low engine revs, boosting responsiveness. Meantime, the highest petrol engine range, the T5, offers up to 254 hp.
Every version of the XC60 is luxuriously equipped. As standard, even entry-level Momentum variants come with leather-faced upholstery, LED headlights with active high beam, two-zone climate control with ‘CleanZone’ air-filtration system, heated front seats, a powered tailgate and 18-inch alloy wheels. Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system is also standard, along with a 9-inch portrait-style touch screen, satellite navigation and an intuitive voice-activation system.
Volvo’s City Safety system is fitted to every XC60. This includes automatic emergency braking and Steer Assist. In addition, Pilot Assist, Volvo’s innovative semi-autonomous drive feature, is an optional extra on every XC60.
All versions of the XC60 are available in highly specified Pro form. Going for Momentum Pro brings powered front seats, a heated steering wheel and windscreen, active bending headlights with adaptive shadow technology, and Volvo On Call, Volvo’s ingenious connected smartphone app, which allows you to control various car functions remotely.