In the future, the fate of the automotive industry will come down to small, crossover SUVs, and Honda is preparing to unveil its contender in the fight. We’ve written before about Honda’s expectation that the Fit will surpass the Civic to become the company’s top-selling model; that’s phase one. Phase two will be what’s currently known in Japan as the Vezel.
The Vezel is a smallish SUV that was unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show and went on sale in Japan just a few months ago in December. Internet scuttlebutt says that the U.S. version—which will arrive stateside this year—will be called the HR-V because as emotionless as letters are, they can’t be made fun of like words can. Bigger than a Fit and smaller than a CR-V, the HR-V aims to become the sweet spot for the American mass-consumer market, the iPhone of auto sales.
Because the New York Auto Show is starting at the end of this week, Honda’s public relations team is likely in full-blown crisis mode trying to keep any news from leaking before the show itself. However, when pressed for comment regarding the Vezel’s U.S. name, spokesman Chris Martin—no relation to Gwyneth Paltrow’s consciously uncoupled and seriously weepy ex-husband—said this, “We are not planning to show the new compact SUV in N.Y., but we will reveal some new information about it during our press event. This new vehicle is closely related to the JDM Vezel with some not yet revealed differences for the US market.”
Come on, Chris, just give us a taste! Of course there are some tidbits to give out, that’s why we’re talking to you in the first place! We’re seriously considering consciously uncoupling you from our email lists if you pull any more of this “I know a secret you don’t” nonsense.
But anyway, the HR-V is will likely have all the best of Honda’s features: Apple CarPlay support, 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, efficiency performance on par with a hybrid, class-leading safety of a Civic, reliability of the Accord and family-friendliness of the Odyssey. We would be surprised if Honda “surprised us” by showing it off in New York anyway.