The Detroit auto show preview season is on, which means automakers are hard at work releasing obscured and shadowy photos of unseen concepts. Honda's mystery concept is an "urban SUV concept," a short wheelbase tall hatchback that has "Fit SUV" written all over it.
The concept has a typical CR-V look to it, with an angular window behind the C-pillar and geometric, pointed taillights, but it's obviously not a CR-V--the proportions are too small (there's also the fact that the CR-V was new for 2012). The sloping roofline would rule out a new Pilot (which was also refreshed for 2012) or anything with three rows, and the concept only has two doors, although there would appear to be space for four in a production version. There's also the hint that the concept is "urban," which is usually automaker-speak for "small and maneuverable." We are digging the deep, upward character line on the door and quarter panels and the flared wheel arches, too--both features that wouldn't work on any of Honda's existing, conservative utility vehicles.
Piece those meager clues together and it points to a new small Honda CUV, perhaps the size and stature of the new 2013 Buick Encore. That leaves only one major Honda platform to build the new car on: the Fit's. We've heard for a while that Honda is going to make multiple variants of the next Fit, including a crossover, once the hatchback debuts for the 2014 model year. If this shadowy concept is definitely a Fit crossover, it'll probably be made in a new plant in Celaya, Mexico alongside the 2014 Fit hatchback.
It also wouldn't be uncharacteristic for Honda to make use of the new Fit's high-tech powertrains--including its Sport Hybrid i-DCD system (which uses a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I-4, an electric motor, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission) to motivate the diminutive crossover. We'll see more next month when Honda's Urban SUV concept takes the stage at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Pictured are the current-generation Fit and Fit EV, a Fit Hybrid mule, and the CR-V.