2013 might be considered as one of the golden years for Honda as it has showcased its new H-design philosophy which will be incorporated in its future offerings. The first car that has incorporated this new design philosophy was the Honda Jazz which was launched in Japan earlier this year and it is scheduled for a mid-2014 launch in India. Honda has showcased its new compact SUV Vezel at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show which was held in November. The Vezel was constructed on the concept of Dynamic Cross Solid and it is based on the Jazz platform.
The name Vezel represents multifaceted charm and value just like a cut gem which changes its look depending on the angle. Honda has started the sales of its compact SUV Vezel from 20th December in Japan. The Vezel, City and the Jazz are designed on the Jazz platform and hence all the three vehicles are expected to feature common elements in terms of design and they are going to feature similar dashboard designs with minimal feature differences. The Vezel features an exterior design similar to a coupe along with the rigid nature of an SUV. This vehicle has been developed by Honda to offer its customers a comfortable and high performance ride quality. This crossover is expected to give a stiff competition to the present best sellers – Ford EcoSport and Renault Duster.
Honda has priced the Vezel crossover with a starting price of 1,870,000 yen (Rs. 11,10,219/-) for the base variant while the top end variant is priced at 2,680,000 yen (Rs. 15,19,216/-). This vehicle is expected to be launched in Europe at the end of 2014. The Indian launch is not yet confirmed by Honda as the Japanese brand is currently having difficulty of positioning this vehicle in India as there isn’t any space left in the sub-10 lakh market as it is crowded with the Amaze and the City. Honda doesn’t want to overprice this vehicle in India as it has the experience of the effect of over pricing in our market with the previous generation Jazz.
The Vezel features a futuristic design which can surely attract the customers at the first glance. Honda’s engineers have been well acclaimed to increase the cabin space by their intelligent design concept. This vehicle also features class leading cabin space and features a centre fuel tank layout similar to other Honda’s and hence has a large boot space of 453-litres. This crossover has a short turning radius of 5.3 meters which is similar to a sedan.
The Honda Vezel is powered by a 1.5-litre direct injection DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine which is mated to a light weight CVT automatic gearbox and is available with an option of paddle shifters as standard on higher variants. The petrol engine has a fuel efficiency of 20.6 km/l on Japanese standard drive cycle. The Vezel also features a 1.5-litre direct injection DOHC i-VTEC i-DCD hybrid engine which is equipped with sport hybrid i-DCD (Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive) technology which is Honda’s next generation hybrid system that combines the 1.5-litre petrol engine with a high power output electric motor which is expected to deliver power equivalent to that of a 2.0-litre engine to give an overall exhilarating driving experience. The hybrid power train gives a class leading fuel efficiency figure of 27 km/l on Japanese standard drive cycle.
The All Wheel Drive option will be available on both the powertrains on higher variants as standard. In addition, the hybrid variant is going to feature Honda’s original Real Time All Wheel Drive technology which controls torque distribution to the front and rear wheels precisely through electronic control. The Vezel is also equipped with high performance sound proofing materials and dampers along with additional features such as electronic parking brake and automatic brake hold function across the entire range. The Hybrid variants come with reactive force dead pedal that enhances fuel efficient driving by applying a reactive force to the accelerator. Honda has currently set a sales target of 4000 units which will be including both the drivetrains.
The Honda Vezel comes with an all black interior similar to the Jazz and has some minimal changes compared to the latter. The large touch screen infotainment system is taken from the Jazz and the seats now get fabric inserts on the lower variants and leather inserts on the higher variants. The headlights of Vezel feature LEDs on higher variants. Currently, the Vezel is offered in eight shades namely Misty Green Pearl, Ruse Black Metallic, Tinted Silver Metallic which are exclusive for the Hybrid powertrain and the gasoline engine will be available with Alabaster Silver Metallic, Morpho Blue Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, White Orchid Pearl and Premium Deep Rosso Pearl shades.