Less than 11 months after showing the Urban SUV concept in Detroit, Honda pulled the wraps off the all-new production model in Tokyo this week. Meet the Honda Vezel.
Based on the same platform as the Fit compact hatchback, the Vezel (pronounced veh-zul) is an answer to Nissan's successful Juke and an entry into a segment predicted to grow strongly worldwide. The Vezel will slot below the popular CR-V and likely be priced accordingly. The CR-V starts at just under $24,000 in the U.S. The Fit starts at just over $16,000.
Despite the fact the Vezel goes on-sale in Japan in a month, Honda is being extremely tight-lipped about the car's specs. We know the concept was just less than eight inches longer than a Fit, and the Vezel looks to be about the same size. We know the Vezel will ditch the Japanese-market Fit's base 98-horsepower 1.3-liter engine in favor of the more-powerful 1.5-liter direct-injected four-cylinder, good for 130 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. The Vezel will also be offered with the Fit Hybrid's powertrain, which pairs the direct-injected 1.5-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. That powertrain's good for 108 hp and 86 mpg on the Japanese cycle.
Honda won't officially confirm the Vezel will come to America, but it's very likely. The segment is growing rapidly and Honda has said in the past it has global plans for the Fit and the Urban SUV concept. For U.S consumers, it will likely be built in Honda's new factory in Mexico, which will start producing the new Fit for North American markets next year. That puts the Vezel a year or more away at least, and by then we don't know if it'll even be called Vezel in the U.S., though we kind of hope not.