It isn't here yet, but it will be. We're talking about the subcompact Honda Fit-based SUV called the Vezel in its home market. But no matter what it's called over here (the Fit is known as the Honda Jazz in Japan so a change in name is not out of the question) the new model will find its way here – probably sooner than later.
The reason for this is that Honda will be looking to maximize production from its new assembly plant in Celaya, Mexico that, not coincidentally, is also building the new 2015 Honda Fit even as we speak.
In Japan, the Vezel, which Honda says was "coined from an English word 'bezel' which means the oblique faces of a cut gem together with the 'V' for 'vehicle,'" is available with either a gasoline-only or a hybrid drivetrain.
The hybrid system is comprised of a 1.5-liter Earth Dreams direct injection engine along with a lightweight electric motor that is capable of powering the Vezel in electric-only mode. Hybrid models are also the first recipients of a new Honda technology called Reactive Force Pedal that assists in fuel-efficient driving by applying reactive force to the accelerator for more fuel efficient acceleration. The transmission is a DCT unit with three driving modes that incorporates paddle shifters on the steering wheel. In Japan, the fuel economy of the FWD model (JC08mode) is rated at 63.5 miles per gallon.
Gasoline-only models are equipped with just the 1.5-liter direct injection engine and are rated in Japan (JC08mode) at 48.4 miles per gallon.
A Real Time AWD version is also available for both gasoline-only as well as hybrid models. In addition to the system's normal torque distributing settings, there's an exclusive setting for Vezel models that distributes more torque to the rear wheels during cornering for even more dynamic handling characteristics.
Like the Fit, the Vezel features a center-tank layout for the fuel system, allowing for a large cargo space as well as near minivan-like room for rear seat passengers. Standard interior features include an electronic parking brake, a high-deck center console, automatic climate control and flexible drink holders that feature an adjustable bottom for different sized drink containers. Including under floor storage, there's a total of 14.26 cubic feet of storage behind the back seats.
Outside, unique features of the Vezel include rear outer door handles integrated into the window graphics as well as twin LED headlights for all models while hybrids also get LED strips built into both tail lights.
This information is based on the home market model and Honda has yet to release any details on the U.S. version, although we expect the company to do so within the coming months. Stay tuned.