The all-new Honda Vezel compact utility vehicle is being introduced in both gas and a next-generation hybrid model, both with impressive performance and fuel efficiency. The hybrid has a best-in-class fuel economy rating of 63.5 MPG.
The 2014 Honda Vezel Hybrid features a 1.5-litre direct-injection DOHC i-VTEC engine paired with a high-output 22kW electric motor. The hybrid is said to develop 150 hp, equivalent to Honda’s 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine. The gas engine provides 120hp, and the electric motor develops the extra 30.
According to Vertu Honda Lincoln, the Honda Vezel is the first Honda hybrid to include reactive force pedal technology, which assists fuel efficient driving by controlling the accelerator’s force. It works by applying reactive force to any pedal stepped on with excess, during acceleration or braking.
The new Vezel Hybrid it will be available as an all-wheel drive, still unusual for hybrids, and a front wheel drive version that is expected to account for the bulk of sales.
The AWD version is the first Honda hybrid to use the company’s Real Time AWD, which controls torque distribution to the front and rear wheels precisely through electronic control. Most AWD systems use some form of mechanical calibration, but Honda’s system saves fuel by more accurately distributing power to the wheels that need the most grip, in real time.
Both the hybrid and gas versions promise sporty performance that’s fun to drive. The vehicle frame has been designed to be as lightweight but rigid as possible, to create a linear driving experience.
It’s also good looking, with a friendly face and solid road presence, not unlike the Mazda CX-5, or even the Honda CR-V.
There’s a 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid on the way.