Honda is launching a new CUV, the Vezel, to be available in gasoline and new-generation, high-efficiency hybrid versions.
The company made the announcement today stating it will begin sales of the Vezel in Japan tomorrow, Dec. 20, 2013.
Honda said the Vezel is a new vehicle that belongs to a new category of automobiles that fuses together multifaceted values, including the dynamic qualities of an SUV, the elegance of a coupe, the functionality of a minivan and excellent fuel economy, at a high level. A long sentence to explain it is a crossover (CUV).
Four-wheel-drive will be available for both the hybrid and gasoline models.
Honda also said the interior, created through a comprehensive effort to realize a high quality feeling for both the look and texture, creates a coupe-like personal space for the front seats. At the same time, Honda’s original center-tank layout enabled a large cargo space and minivan-like rear seats with ample elbowroom beyond what people can imagine from the elegant exterior form.
The Vezel Hybrid is equipped with the company’s SPORT HYBRID i-DCD system, described as Honda’s next-generation hybrid system. It combines a 1.5-liter direct-injection engine with a high-output electric motor to realize a level of power that is comparable to that of a 2.0-liter engine.
Power is routed through a 7-speed dual clutch transmission.
According to Honda, in the area of environmental performance, this hybrid model realizes 27.0 km/l (JC08 mode), the equivalent of 63.5 U.S. mpg. Honda added the Vezel will have the highest fuel economy in its class in Japan.
The Vezel Hybrid will be the first among all Honda hybrid models to be equipped with its original Real Time AWD, which controls torque distribution to the front and rear wheels precisely through electronic control.
In addition, all Vezel versions feature Electric Parking Brake and Automatic Brake Hold as standard equipment. Furthermore, high-performance soundproofing materials and dampers, which are typically used for high-end sedan models, are adopted to realize outstanding quietness and driving stability, said Honda.
The hybrid model is equipped with a Reactive Force Pedal, a system that assists fuel-efficient driving by applying reactive force to the accelerator. The Vezel Hybrid will be the first among all Honda hybrid models to be equipped with the Reactive Force Pedal.
As for the inspiration for the Vezel name, Honda explained Vezel is a name coined from the English word “bezel” which means the oblique faces of a cut gem together with the “V” for “vehicle.” The company added the name represents Honda’s passion to create a vehicle which offers multifaceted charm and value, just like a cut gem, which changes its look depending on the angle.
The Vezel will be coming to North America in 2014. Honda’s PR team confirmed this is the production model of the Urban SUV Concept that debuted at the 2013 North American International Auto Show. They also confirmed more technical details about the hybrid system will be available early in 2014.