Amazingly, it has been more than ten years since Honda's last vehicle that carried the Vezel name. Elsewhere in the world it was called the XR-V or the HR-V (the European version featured here). It was a boxy, slightly disappointing SUV-style car that didn't really capture the public's attention. This time around though the company seem to have cracked it with their latest offering.
Coming rather late to the automotive crossover party, it is nevertheless an attractive proposition for those who prefer the high-riding nature of crossovers to more regular hatchbacks. Maybe Honda could have been a little more daring with the design, but they've played safe and gone for a conventional, if sporty, appearance.
The rounded front, curved window area and arching roof line all give the HR-V a tall coupé look, aided by a sleek and pronounced crease running through the two side doors that meets up with the window line. It's smart styling and we especially like the 'hidden' rear door handles. All models have two-wheel front drive and in some regions models are also offered with four-wheel drive and hybrid options.
Inside The Honda Vezel
The exterior then is attractive without being controversial but it's on the inside that Honda have really delivered. On the European range-topping model tested here the leather seats were really comfortable and it was the work of a moment to find the ideal driving position. Occupants are presented with a cohesive cabin design, with instruments and controls logically grouped in a manner that puts all the technology nicely to hand. There’s the usual mix of soft-touch and hard plastics, depending on model trim levels.
Although the external dimensions appear snug – this car is based on the company's evergreen Fit platform after all - the interior is surprisingly roomy with plenty of space in the back seats. In fact the available space is better than found in some slightly larger crossover / small SUV competitors. The same goes for the trunk. Overall, the interior has a premium feel about it and includes Honda's extremely practical magic seats that can be configured in different ways (regionally dependent).
Driving The Honda Vezel
The looks may be sporty but Honda clearly don't want to put off their buyers by making the suspension too firm. The Vezel is good to drive but although it has one of the most comfortable rides in its class, this softness induces lean into corners so don't expect sports car handling.
Engines on offer include a 128bhp 1.5L petrol and Honda's reliable 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel. With 118bhp it is not tremendously powerful and can feel a little breathless in low gears. There's a choice of manual or CVT gearboxes. It is economical though. Again, depending upon where you live in the world other options may be available, like a 1.8L petrol engine or the more recent hybrids.
The Honda Vezel is a very good car; ideal for a small family. If the crossover image is for you then this is one car that should be on your shortlist.
Get in touch with us at MHH Japanese Cars for more details.