Honda Vezel: First Look

HondaVezel

Competes with: Nissan Juke, Subaru XV Crosstrek
Looks like: A sleeker, larger version of the Honda Fit
Drivetrain: Gasoline engine with continuously variable automatic transmission; front- or all-wheel drive (details TBA); turbo and possible hybrid versions to follow
Hits dealerships: Second half of 2014

Honda has rolled out a subcompact crossover that goes on sale tomorrow in Japan but will also be sold in the U.S. later this year. The Japanese version is called the Vezel, and it comes with front- or all-wheel drive and both gasoline and gas-electric hybrid versions. Honda said Vezel is a contraction of vehicle and bezel, claimed to reflect a multifaceted, gemlike appearance. The U.S. will get a different name, Honda says, to be announced. We'll just call it the Vezel for now.

Exterior

At 169.1 inches long and 69.7 wide, the Japanese Vezel is 9.2 inches shorter from bumper to bumper, 1.9 inches narrower and 1.9 inches lower than the Honda CR-V compact crossover. Honda says the turning radius is 17.4 feet.

Rather than the peculiar Honda Crosstour, the four-door Vezel looks more like Honda's cars and the upcoming 2015 Fit subcompact hatchback, which provides the Vezel's platform. As intended, the Vezel has a low-slung look, and its high-mounted rear door handles recall Nissans — particularly the Juke, a stated competitor.

Honda says LED accent lights, front and rear, are optional on the Japanese version.

Interior

Honda describes the five-seat interior as spacious, with minivanlike backseat legroom, though it looks more like a functional four-seater. Photos of the Japanese Vezel show a low-profile dashboard, a brightly illuminated instrument panel and a center-mounted touch-screen. Also present are an infernal capacitive touch-panel and equally infernal toggle-style gear selector. Automatic ventilation control is standard.

Honda says the cargo volume behind the backseat is 14.3 cubic feet (including the storage bin underneath the cargo floor), which puts it ahead of the Juke's 10.5 cubic feet but behind the Subaru XV Crosstrek's 22.3 cubic feet. The Vezel has a 60/40-split backseat that tips up and folds down as in the current and future Fits.

Features typically considered upscale include a button-operated electric parking brake in lieu of a lever or pedal.

Under the Hood

Honda hasn't revealed engine plans for the U.S., apart from saying that it will debut here with a gas engine. A turbocharged engine and possible hybrid will follow, though not necessarily in the first model year. The Japanese Vezel comes either with a direct-injection 1.5-liter four-cylinder and a continuously variable automatic transmission or a hybrid system that combines the 1.5-liter with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Called Sport Hybrid i-DCD, which stands for intelligent dual clutch drive, the system includes shift paddles on the steering wheel for manual shifting.

For more efficient acceleration, the hybrid includes a Reactive Force Pedal that can push back against the driver's foot.

Honda says the electronically controlled Real Time all-wheel drive will direct the appropriate amount of torque to the rear wheels only when needed. A mode can be selected to distribute more torque to the rear wheels when cornering.

Safety Features

Like most of Honda's models, the Vezel is designed for optimal performance in the most stringent of new crash tests, and to provide pedestrian protection in the event of a collision. Active safety features include the optional City-Brake forward collision warning and mitigation system, which employs autonomous braking.

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Related
2015 Honda Fit Will Be Unveiled at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show
Research the 2014 Honda Fit
More Honda News

Comments 

Steve

This thing should be a HUGE success! Nice.

Six

Despite cribbing the rear from the RAV4 and the side from the Juke, I dig this. Deliver good fuel economy and it should be a slam dunk.

Mike S

It's a shame we get this and not the Fit Shuttle that would be far more practical. I love the Fit but I would like a little more space. The Shuttle styling is awkward, but like a proper Accord wagon, the Fit Shuttle is one of the best cars Honda doesn't sell here.

xrs2009

I see some Subaru Outback in the back. Looks nice. I hope Honda do well with this one, because the Crosstour is such a mess!

carma

That's more like it. Nice job Honda. I hope the hybrid system is the newer version like the accord, and not integrated motor assist, like the civic hybrid and insight use.

Matthew Clay

nice...nice....its different like the juke.....and that's a good thing. love the interior colors!

Hynsum

It looks to be many different styles at the same time. Like Acura ZDX.

Nice Post about Honda Vezel.The Hybrid looks great with more spacious backseatlegroom and as well as LED accent lights, front and rear.I like this car,Because it Japanese Vezel comes either with a direct-injection 1.5-liter four-cylinder and a continuously variable automatic transmission.

Volume Van

Wow, very spacious and functional.

Crossovers have been steadily increasing their market share.

Bring it soon. Also bring a hybrid version.

jimbo

Capacitive touchscreen controls? Deal killer right there.
Hasn't Honda been following the news? Ford is adding buttons and knobs, it's time for every other car company to follow suit.

Tony

Will this be coming from Japan or it will be build somewhere else?

Bernue

Another foot soldier in Toyota's War on Visibility.

wow, great looking car

Sid

Nice car - a car I would buy. Honda - bring it soon.

Tim

Looks good. Can't tell how large it is, but article does give dimensions & pix of two bikes as cargo is promising. 1.5L & CVT should give good mpg if it's still light. Direct injection is impressive engineering. Potential replacement for my wife's Vibe (Matrix).

Tim

The Fit is a great car, but when it first came out, dealers were taking names and charging premiums, which turned me off. Also, the back end on a Fit is ugly as sin compared to an old Civic hatch.

Tim

Even tho the Vezel is now in other countries, it will be new to the USA and the factory in Mexico building it is new. I may wait for a year or two based on the pribciple of 'never buy anything with a low serial number.' Altho Honda has been especially good over the years at wringing out the bugs before release.

Tony

Tim,
if the uncomfortable seat, jittery ride and constant noise define a great car than indeed, "The Fit is a great car".
And if it will be made in Mexico, I better stay away from it.

Tim

I am in the market for a compact SUV hybrid. I would be disappointed if Honda brought the Venzel to the U.S. without the hybrid option initially. I'm also considering the Lexus LF-NX compact SUV hybrid due about the same time the Venzel should hit the market here. Not interested in a turbo model in either model.

Compact SUV please

I don't understand how the Vezel will compete with the Juke in terms of horsepower?

Compact SUV please

If it's too slow then I will probably go with audi Q3

Steve W

Should this vehicle obtain High 30 Mpg.'s or Low 40 Mpg.'s with the CVT/Hybrid and offer it with a AWD option; I believe this vehicle Will conquer the small SUV market. I, just, Hope Honda will price this vehicle at a $$28 K, range.

Steve W

I, also, would like to see Honda to offer this vehicle with a Fuel Tank Capacity, 15.0 gal. and offer it with a Remote Engine Starter, Rear Vision Camera, Back-Up Sensors also 17 inch Alloy Rims.

namal

This car will really hit Sri Lankan market.

Roman

I'm with you Tim, I like the looks, but I want hybrid's efficiency and will not buy a gas engine or turbo.

OrionQ

Reactive Force Pedal: "In place of a conventional spring mechanism providing force against the driver's push on the gas pedal, the Vezel utilizes an electric mechanism that dynamically varies pedal force to assist the driver in applying the optimum amount of engine power in any driving condition. For example, when climbing a snowy hill, the Reactive Force Pedal will increase pedal force to discourage the driver from applying too much engine torque that may lead to unwanted tire slip."

Ugh. Do we really need this? Me thinks not.

a good alternative for crossover. Can't wait to ride it!

Geoffrey Bradley

Honda need something fresh in New Zealand. The damned awful Civic has been a flop. It must have push button start, reversing camera and a truly economical engine. Honda's pride and heritage has been build quality. We need to see this restored. Vezel is a truly smart looking car however. I'd buy

santhi

Honda,

Please bring Honda HRV Hybrid and Fit Shuttle Hybrid to USA. We need a very good alternative to Prius.

Pubudu

When was actually the DCT issue got solved?

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