2014 Honda Vezel: an SUV Jazz; hybrid has dual-clutch transmission

Honda’s new Jazz-based mini SUV, the Vezel, has been unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The new SUV not only features a bizarre name, but also has a steeply curved roof line that not only brings to mind “coupe SUVs”, such as the BMW X6, BMW X4 and Acura ZDX, but might well impinge on the head room of rear passengers.

From what we can discern, the Vezel Hybrid in Japan will feature climate control with capacitive controls, push button start, proximity entry key, large touchscreen navigation and entertainment system, HDMI input, electronic parking brake, and fake leather stitching for the dashboard. All Vezels will feature three long air vents arrayed in a line across the dashboard in front of the front passenger.

Despite the car being slated to enter Japanese showrooms from late December 2013, Honda isn’t giving away too many specifics about the car. We do know that it will be powered by either a 1.5-litre petrol motor or a hybrid drivetrain sporting an Atkinson-cycle version of that same 1.5-litre engine.

In the new Jazz the 1.5-litre engine churns out 97kW of power and 155Nm of torque, and drinks 4.6L/100km under the very generous JC08 fuel consumption testing system. The Jazz Hybrid, on the other hand, has a lithium-ion battery pack and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, and is claimed to drink as little as 2.7L/100km.

What’s a Vezel? We’re not quite sure, but we’ll try to find out for you. In the meantime, the name seems to rhyme with embezzle, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. If the company wanted a musically themed name to go along with the Jazz, Beat and Concerto, it could’ve chosen a variety of jazz as a nod to the car’s sibling. The Honda Soul, Honda Punk, Honda Ska, Honda Nu, Honda Free, Honda Chamber and Honda Cool wouldn’t be bad choices. Although the Honda Acid, Honda Ethno and Honda Latin would probably send the wrong types of message.

Do you have any ideas of what might be a better name for the Honda Vezel? Let us know in the comments section below.

Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]