The Honda Vezel made its global debut at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show. This compact SUV isn’t targeted solely at emerging markets like the Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport, instead Honda plans to sell the Vezel in both European and US markets. A crucial model for Honda as the company is betting heavily on the vehicle to boost sales across the globe. The Honda Vezel looks like a mini CR-V with a hint of coupe thrown in for good measure. We had a chance to sit inside the vehicle and here is a quick look of what to expect.
On the styling front itself Honda will win a lot of customers. Most people will buy the Vezel just because of the way it looks. The crossover is attractive and the design is bound to lure prospective Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport buyers. But there’s a catch, a small one at that. While the length of the Honda Vezel is similar to the Renault Duster, this Japanese offering will cost a wee bit more than the French automobile (Romanian technically).
Expect prices to start at Rs. 10 lakhs (ex-showroom) for the base petrol, going up to Rs. 15 lakhs for the top-end diesel. This puts the Honda Vezel above the Nissan Terrano in terms of price positioning making it rub shoulders with desi alternatives like the Mahindra XUV500 and Tata Safari Storme, cars which are much bigger. Nissan plans to place the Qashqai in the Rs. 16-19 lakhs range so competition is going to be intense.
Since the Vezel is based on the Jazz platform, it shouldn’t cost too much but Honda is bound to equip the vehicle very well and the company wouldn’t want it cannibalising its best-seller, the City. Thus positioning it above the Honda City makes a lot of sense for the Japanese firm. So what the Vezel will essentially do is, fill in the void left by the Civic, thereby sitting right between the City and Accord, makes sense.
The interiors of the Honda Vezel are attractive, the cabin has generous space and being a Honda, quality is top notch as well. Obviously performance will be exceptional with 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines powering the compact SUV. If the CR-V is anything to go by, the Vezel is bound to drive very well with dynamics worth an applaud. Considering the demand for the CR-V (with a petrol engine only and high price), we can expect the Vezel to storm our streets becoming a very successful product for Honda India.
Honda hasn’t confirmed its plans to launch the Vezel in India yet but going by the demand for compact SUVs in our country, it would be silly to miss this opportunity. A launch is expected in 2015 and since most parts are localised for the Jazz and City, manufacturing the Vezel with high local content isn’t going to be a tough job. Competition is always a good thing and so is choice for the customer. The Vezel looked very promising at the Tokyo Motor Show and Honda should try to get it to India at the earliest.