By Steve & Tamami Laser; with Nahoko Osuka reporting from Japan
We first met the Honda Vezel at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2013. Based on the Honda Fit, it arrived in America a few years later as the HR-V. Fast forward to today, and the world premiere of the next-generation Vezel was live-streamed from Honda Welcome Plaza Aoyama in Tokyo (below).
Ready to go on sale in Japan in April, Vezel receives a full model change, sporting new styling inside and out. Like the new Fit, it offers Honda’s e:HEV two-motor hybrid system, available all-wheel drive, and the latest safety and connectivity features. Meanwhile, the new HR-V sibling, with standard e:HEV, is planned to launch in Europe late this year. (We don’t know if Honda plans to sell the new model in America.)
Customers in Japan will be able to customize the new Vezel with the latest accessories from Honda Access. The “Urban Style” accessory theme (above and below), includes a unique front grille and lower spoiler, lower side skirts, rear spoiler and lower garnish.
We really like the look of the new Vezel, with its premium styling and “coupe-like” proportions. Among the roster of available upscale features offered in Japan is a new hands-free power tailgate and twin-panel panorama moonroof with Low-E glass.
As we can see in this video from the Honda YouTube channel in Japan, the new Vezel targets younger, digital and social-media savvy buyers. (video: Honda)
Under the hood, Vezel offers a 1.5-liter DOHC i-VTEC gas engine with Continuously Variable Transmission. The e:HEV models employ Honda’s two-motor hybrid system with driver-selectable Normal, Sport, and Econ modes. Real-time AWD is available to help increase traction and stability in bad weather and on snowy roads.
Inside, Vezel (and HR-V) feature modern minimalist aesthetic, with a horizontal sweeping instrument panel and uncluttered dash. A new air diffusion system is said to create a curtain of fresh air beside and above passengers for increased comfort.
The latest Honda Sensing features offered for the Vezel include a wide-view camera with high-speed image processing, Adaptive Cruise Control with traffic jam tracking, Collision Mitigation Braking System, sign recognition function, and Lane Keeping Assist.
The versatile rear “Magic Seat,” one of our favorite features on the previous models, offers both fold-flat and flip-up versatility for transporting different size cargo.
Honda Connect gains new technology for the Vezel with automatic map update service, and available in-vehicle Wi-Fi. With the new Honda Digital Key, the user’s compatible smartphone can unlock the vehicle.
For more information visit the Honda consumer website in Japan
Note: Pre-production Vezel models and accessories for the Japan market shown in this story, including features, specifications, launch timing, and availability, is subject to change without notice. Future European market HR-V launch timing and availability is subject to change without notice.
News source, photos and video courtesy of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., and Honda Access Corp. Additional news source from Honda Motor Europe Ltd.
Story (intro and commentary) © 2021 CarNichiWa.com