TOKYO — It certainly won’t be called the Vezel when Honda begins building the new Fit-based crossover/utility vehicle in the Mexican town of Celaya, Guanajuato, in the spring of 2014, though that’s how it was unveiled at the 43rd annual motor show here. The Vezel, as it will be called in its home market, is based on the Honda Fit b-segment and wears sheetmetal reminiscent of its slightly bigger sibling, the CR-V.
If Honda maintains CR-V-like nomenclature, the new model should be called the BR-V. The Vezel goes on sale in Japan December 20 with both gasoline and hybrid engine choices. Honda did not issue any more details, though we can expect the Fit hatchback’s 1.5L gas four and 1.5L Atkinson cycle engine with hybrid drive and the automaker’s new seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Honda has also announced new gas direct-injection turbocharged VTEC engines, including 1.0L-three and 1.5L four-cylinder variations, but has not announced a rollout-schedule for them.
The North American version of the Honda Vezel will join the Buick Encore and BMW X1 in the emerging b-segment subcompact CUV category, though it’s expected to have a list price significantly lower than either pioneering model.