Honda is launching a new compact SUV called the Vezel which will include a hybrid model.
Now going on sale in Japan, the new model is designed to compete in an increasing popular segment, taking on the likes of the Nissan Juke and Ford Ecosport, but won’t arrive in Europe until 2015.
In its native Japan, the new model will be available in both 2WD and 4WD drive and with either petrol-only option or the new i-DCD hybrid system drivetrain, first launched on the Jazz. This new hybrid system is much more efficient than the old one, and like on the Jazz, pushes the new model to the top of its class for efficiency, with a 3.7 litres per 100km fuel economy rating (equivalent to around 76mpg).
This next-generation hybrid system is not yet available in Europe and, as we have discussed before, it remains uncertain whether Honda will bring it here. If the carmaker does bring the new hybrid system over here, it could launch with a new Jazz first, also due to arrive in 2015.
Consisting of a 1.5 litre direct injection petrol engine and a 22 kW electric motor, for power delivery equivalent to a 2.0 litre engine, the new hybrid model also becomes the first Honda hybrid to be offered with its Real Time All-Wheel-Drive (AWD), which controls torque distribution to the front and rear wheels more precisely through electronic control.
Looking a little bigger and more practical than its Juke rival, Honda says the new Vezel is designed to bring together the dynamic qualities of a SUV, with the elegance of a coupe and the functionality of a minivan.
As well as generous passenger room the model also offers 453 litres worth of cargo space, even with the rear seats in place.
It is not yet known if the Vezel will launch under the same name here in Europe, but this and other details are likely to be confirmed later in the year.
Vezel is priced from ¥1.87 million (£10,920) and runs up to ¥2.68 million (£15,651) for a top hybrid model.
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