Pointing the way for a new, youth-oriented small crossover vehicle, the Honda Urban SUV Concept made its world debut in Detroit. According to Honda, this slick 5-passenger alternative transport module offers stylistic cues for a production variant that will go on sale by the end of the year in Japan and arrive in showrooms here sometime in 2014.
Spun from Honda's Global Compact Series platform architecture that also underpins the Fit, the Urban SUV Concept is wrapped in sheetmetal that gives this newcomer-to-be a far more sophisticated presence than its more diminutive kin. Bolder contours and edges plus hidden rear door handles endow the SUV Concept with a coupe-like character that's effectively complemented by its more dramatic front/rear fascia and LED lighting treatments. Measuring 169.3 inches from nose to tail, the SUV Concept is 7.7 inches longer than the current Fit but 9.0-inches shorter than Honda's CR-V - according to the automaker, a size that makes it ideal "for navigating both crowded city streets and open mountain roads." Power will come from one of Honda's new Earth Dreams Technology engines, although no mention was made regarding displacement or output.
Like the Fit, the Urban SUV Concept boasts a particularly roomy cabin with a low floor made possible by the implementation of Honda's innovative "center tank" layout. The vehicle's modern interior design also will feature both next-gen telematics and Honda's trick "Magic Seat" rear bench that quickly and easily folds flat into the floor to greatly increase the vehicle's cargo-carrying capacity.
"No one has had greater success with small cars than Honda, and this Urban SUV Concept will create new value in the growing small-SUV segment," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales at American Honda. "With the continued expansion of our North American manufacturing operations, we expect fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive 'small' cars to play a key role in meeting the needs of our customers in the U.S."
The production version of the Urban SUV Concept for the North American market will be assembled in a new Honda's plant near Celaya, Mexico, that's set to open in spring 2014 and also be the source point for the future Fit line. While Honda has not released specific pricing details on this innovative new player, it has confirmed that figure will fall between the Fit and the CR-V.
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