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18 January 2013

Detroit: Honda tailor-fits the Urban SUV Concept for your active lifestyle

Words by Ferman Lao | Photos courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.
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Well, whaddya know? Honda is now the latest victim of what we'd like to call the “Goldilocks syndrome.” Not too big and not too small, they've created a compact crossover that fits the bill just right, and it's something they'd simply like to call the “Urban SUV Concept.”
Making its world debut at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, this small SUV is based on Honda's well-received and strong selling Global Compact Series platform, from which both the Jazz and City are derived. Their philosophy behind the Urban SUV Concept is that it will be their next wave of smart, fuel-efficient, and fun to drive vehicles - traits that Hondas of today are already well known for. Still, Honda feels it's the answer for a new wave of road users with “active lifestyles” (Are they hinting that we're starting to get a bit too sedentary?).
At 203 mm longer than the current Jazz and 228 mm shorter than the CR-V, it's small enough for city dwellers and tall enough for those who want to explore the open - and sometimes rough - road. They've also given it a modern and more appealing coupe-like shape with “hidden” rear door handles to make it look sportier. And being based on the Jazz means it also inherits the center-mounted fuel tank configuration, including its versatile ULT seats (utility, long, and tall).
Honda's new fuel-efficient Earth Dreams Technology is also slated to be an integral part of the Urban SUV Concept. Plus, they're taking this as the perfect opportunity to introduce their new telematics system and modern interiors that will find their way into next generation Hondas.
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While we're waiting for the Urban SUV Concept to be renamed into something better-sounding, it's scheduled to be launched in Japan by the end of 2013, followed by the US in 2014. Personally, I can't wait to see what it finally looks like once it hits the road and get my grubby hands on one.
This, though, isn't Honda's first compact SUV. Back in 1999, they had the HR-V, which was also smaller than the CR-V and about as long as the current Jazz. One might see few examples of these still treading around Manila. It was marketed as a youthful High-rider Revolutionary Vehicle (hence the name, HR-V) for the younger generation. However, it wasn't as well received as much as the CR-V and was discontinued in 2006 without a model to succeed it. Perhaps the Urban SUV Concept will succeed where the HR-V did not; it certainly has got enough good genes to do so.