Honda launches Juke rival in Tokyo

  • Honda launches compact crossover in Japan
  • Based on next-gen Jazz supermini
  • Due in UK for 2015

Honda has unveiled an all-new compact SUV crossover at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The Vezel, set to launch in Japan in early 2014 is designed to go head to head with small SUV rivals such as the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and Nissan Juke.

At launch, the Vezel will be available as a hybrid only. It uses the 1.5-litre petrol engine as used in the recently introduced Fit supermini, with which it shares a platform. The Vezel is likely to renamed before it appears in the UK, alongside the new Honda Jazz and the Civic Type-R, in 2015.

Outside, the Vezel shares styling cues with the Fit, otherwise known as the Jazz. Chunky 17in wheels, dramatic lines and concealed rear door handles suggest that Honda’s emphasis is on competing head on in this style-conscious segment.

In the front, the two-tone dashboard is trimmed in contrasting leather and shares the smooth, touch-sensitive cabin control panel with the Fit. The in-car entertainment system is controlled by centrally mounted touch-screen.

The interior fit and finish of models on the show stand was of a high quality. Headroom for front seat passengers is excellent and the quality of materials in the pre-production show cars was better than those in rivals. Interior space is good, with a large boot for the class and room in the rear for a pair of six-footers to sit with good headroom.

Engine and transmission choices for European models are yet to be confirmed, although indications are that the recently introduced 1.6 i-DTEC diesel engine as fitted to the Civic and CR-V will feature alongside petrol versions. It is likely that Honda’s new line-up of high-efficiency turbocharged petrol engines will make their debut in Europe.

Japanese pricing for the car will be announced next month, ahead of the car going on sale on December 20.

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