THE Mazda MX-5 has been named World Car of the Year for 2016 as the fourth generation Japanese roadster picked up two titles at a coveted awards ceremony staged at the New York International Auto Show.
It is the second time a Mazda has been named top car in the World Car honours, with Mazda2 winning in 2008.
As well as the overall accolade, the MX-5 also claimed the World Car Design of the Year title in this year's contest.
Mazda had two models in the final shortlist with the CX-3 crossover also listed alongside the Audi A4, the Jaguar XE and the Mercedes-Benz GLC.
"What a wonderful honour, to have the Mazda MX-5 named both World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year," said Masahiro Moro, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations, and Managing Executive Officer, Mazda Motor Corporation.
"As our iconic MX-5 roadster approaches one-million units of production, this award is proof that it is as young, vibrant, fun and relevant as ever, and proof that every Mazda looks as incredible as it drives, and drives as incredibly as it looks."
The fourth-generation MX-5 is the sixth model in Mazda's new line-up of vehicles featuring the company's fuel-efficient SKYACTIV technology and its KODO-Soul of Motion design.
Launched globally in 2015, the model has found favour thanks to its lightweight construction and what Mazda calls its fun-to-drive feel.
The new MX-5 has won more than 30 awards so far, including being named the 2015-2016 Car of the Year Japan and the 2016 UK Car of the Year (UKCOTY).
The retractable hardtop version of the model, the Mazda MX-5 RF, has also just had its world debut at the 2016 New York show.
The World Car of the Year awards were set up in 2004 and this year's judging panel consisted of 73 journalists from 23 different countries.