Honda's sporty CR-Z Hybrid has been voted Japan's Car of the Year by a panel of influential automotive journalists.

Honda took the 2010-2011 award on November 9, after narrowly missing out on the gong last year when it lost to Toyota for the hybrid Prius.

The CR-Z which retails for Y2.268 million (€19,985) in Japan, was unveiled earlier this year and touted as the first hybrid sports car, managing to travel 25 km per liter of fuel.

It beat stiff competition from other vehicles such as the BMW 5-Series, Jaguar XJ, Peugeot RCZ, Mazda Premacy, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Nissan March, Suzuki Swift, Toyota Marx X and the Volkswagen Polo.

"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," said Honda boss Takanobu Ito in a statement.

"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."

The ceremony is the first of the car award "season" - the European Car of the Year will be named at the end of November and the North American Car of the Year will be revealed in January.

The World Car of the Year will be named in April at the New York International Auto Show.

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