Glenn Stewart, via email

After its divorce from Ford, Mazda was in its worst financial situation for more than 11 years.

Rather than slow down the pace and pull from the parts bin, Mazda hit the reset button.

It could have followed the crowd chasing fuel economy with CVTs and turbos. Instead, it injected massive investment into R&D, clean-sheeted and rethought everything from the chassis, transmissions and engines to creating a new way to forge steel using samurai swords for inspiration.

And the hard work shows.

Thank you for rewarding this small company’s effort by giving it your Car of the Year two years in a row.