SCOTLAND'S 'Car of the Year' for 2019 is the all-new Mazda3.

This wee star debuts the company’s highly efficient and innovative Skyactiv-X petrol powertrain and was a clear winner in the 'family car' class before being 'champion of champions' at a glittering award ceremony on November 1, at Dalmahoy Hotel.

This makes it a second win for Mazda in the award’s 22-year history – it is judged by the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers (ASMW), comprising of print, broadcast and online journalists covering the length and breadth of Scotland. Mazda’s advanced spark controlled compression ignition (SCCI) petrol engine was a key factor in the model’s appeal to the panel.

Presenting the award, ASMW president, John Murdoch, said: “Mazda’s range has consistently appealed to buyers north of the border; the cars are great looking, well built and deliver a driving experience that’s perfectly suited to Scottish roads.

“The new Mazda3 ups the game again. From its unmistakable sense of style to the sizeable leap forward in interior quality fit and finish and unrivalled real-world efficiency, it’s a car that appeals to the heart and head.

“Both the Skyactiv-G petrol and Skyactiv-D diesel models impressed the judging panel when experienced on a lengthy driving route for the model’s UK launch, but the latest Skyactiv-X option is a revelation. This is a 178bhp two-litre petrol car that really can deliver 50mpg economy. That’s outstanding.”

Mazda UK managing director, Jeremy Thomson said: “the all-new Mazda3 is already winning over customers with its quality, style and driver engagement, so recognition of its appeal from the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers is fantastic. In a year that has seen the launch of lots of great cars across many sectors, it’s a real testament to the all-new Mazda3 that it’s taken the coveted overall Car of the Year title.

“ I’m also very excited about the acknowledgement of the Skyactiv-X engine; this is another example of Mazda’s convention defying powertrain innovation. It offers our customers a truly unique blend of fuel economy, low emissions and performance from a petrol engine.

"I’m also sure Scottish customers will be pleased that we have, with the Skyactiv-X AWD Mazda3 hatch, added the all-weather security of a four-wheel drive car in this sector for the first time in decades.”

The 2019 Scottish Car of the Year awards also delivered impressive results for Nissan, BMW, SEAT and Kia, with representatives from each of these brands leaving Scotland’s capital city with two trophies.

Nissan’s Micra and LEAF e+ were runaway winners in the 'small and alternative fuel' categories, securing a victory over premium contenders, such as the Audi A1 and Range Rover Phev, respectively.

For BMW, it was luxury and technology of its newest X5 and 7 Series models which wowed the jury enough to secure 'premium crossover' and 'luxury car' awards.

SEAT showed strength in the 'crossover' segment with its Tarraco. This new arrival’s quality and cabin space, which can seat up to seven, found favour with the judges while the thrilling performance-themed Cupra Ateca raised a few eyebrows by edging ahead of the establishment to secure the 'sports car' title.

Kia, a manufacturer which continues to prove popular north of the Border mainly thanks to an industry-leading seven-year warranty, also achieved a strong SCOTY performance. The new ProCeed was named best 'estate car' while the Sportage scooped the 'used car' prize for the second year in succession.

Across the other categories, it was a victory for Scandinavian style in the 'executive' class when Volvo’s S60 was voted top of the class while the practicality and value of Peugeot’s Rifter put the no-nonsense family holdall at the top of the MPV table.

Scotland’s vast network of challenging B roads is perfectly suited to a hot hatch and the turbocharged ST-badged version of the current Focus easily powered to class success, while the more practical 'pick-up class' saw Mitsubishi’s latest L200 model win through.

In the 'design and innovation' section, Audi took this for its ground-breaking virtual mirror system on the electric e-tron.

SCOTY category winners at a glance:

Small: Nissan Micra;

Family: Mazda3;

Estate: Kia ProCeed;

Crossover: SEAT Tarraco;

Premium Crossover: BMW X5;

Executive: Volvo S60;

Luxury: BMW 7 Series; Hot Hatch:

Ford Focus ST; Sports: Cupra Ateca;

MPV: Peugeot Rifter;

Alternative fuel: Nissan LEAF e+;

Pick Up: Mitsubishi L200;

Used: Kia Sportage:

Design and innovation: Audi e-tron virtual mirror.

The SCOTY Hall of Fame:

1998: Ford Focus;

1999: Jaguar S-Type;

2000: Audi A2;

2001: Jaguar X-Type;

2002: Mazda6;

2003: Volvo XC90;

2004: Peugeot 407;

2005: BMW 3 Series;

2006: Jaguar XK;

2007: Ford Mondeo;

2008: Ford Fiesta;

2009: Land Rover Discovery 4;

2010: Kia Sportage;

2011: Range Rover Evoque;

2012: Dacia Duster;

2013: Volkswagen Golf;

2014: Hyundai i10;

2015: Vauxhall Astra;

2016: Volvo V90;

2017: Land Rover Discovery;

2018: Jaguar i-PACE;

2019: Mazda3