Don’t fool yourselves into thinking Japan’s passion for kei cars stems purely out of a lack of real estate. The market takes the segment very, very seriously. Need proof? The country’s auto industry has just named one (or two?) its car of the year.
The Mitsubishi ek X EV and Nissan Sakura—which are essentially the same vehicle on account of the two brands being members of the same alliance—have both been named the 2022 Japan Car of the Year. The two electric vehicles also took home the ceremony’s 2022 K Car of the Year award.
The two runabouts beat out industry heavyweights like the Toyota Crown, Hyundai Ioniq 5, BMW iX, and Mazda CX-60 to claim this year’s top prize. Organizers recognized the two models for their competitive pricing and for helping spearhead the Japanese auto industry’s electrification efforts.
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“We are truly honored to receive the prestigious Japan Car of the Year award,” Takao Kato, Mitsubishi’s CEO, said in a statement following the vehicles’ win.
“The electrification technology that we have honed over the years and our underlying strength in car manufacturing have been highly evaluated,” he added.
With an estimated 180km of electric range on a single charge and a city-friendly wheelbase of just 2,495mm, the ek X EV and Sakura are undoubtedly the ideal cars for city centers like Tokyo, Japan. If it weren’t for our pockmarked roads, they’d be pretty enticing rides here in the Philippine setting, too.
Tell us, are you surprised to see a kei car take home 2022 Japan Car of the Year? Let us know your own picks in the comments.