Urban SUV Concept is 9 inches shorter than Honda CR-V

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  • Image: Honda Urban SUV Concept.jpg
  • Image: 1.5-L Earth Dreams engine.jpg
Image: Urban SUV Concept.jpg

The 169.3 in (4300 mm) long Urban SUV Concept joins the Fit and City sedans in Honda’s “global compact series” of vehicles. (Ryan Gehm)

Honda has a new addition to its “global compact series” of vehicles: the production version of the 169.3 in (4300 mm) long Urban SUV Concept, which made its world debut at the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The subcompact SUV, which is 9 in (229 mm) shorter than the CR-V, joins the Fit and City (a subcompact sedan sold in markets outside the U.S.) in the series.

“This is the right segment to show the unique values and capabilities of Honda,” said Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor Co. Ltd., just prior to the concept’s unveiling. “I believe that small cars will be key to our future, and I want young Honda engineers to feel the same joy I experienced in making fun and fuel-efficient vehicles.”

Coming to the U.S. in 2014, following its launch in Japan later this year, a new small SUV based on the NAIAS concept will be powered by Honda’s “Earth Dreams” powertrain lineup (widely expected to be the 1.5-L inline-four in the U.S.). “This will include gasoline, hybrid, and diesel types to meet the various needs of customers in different regions of the world,” Ito said.

Honda claims the powertrain will offer “class-leading” performance and fuel economy.

The new model will employ the Fit’s center-tank layout as well as Honda’s configurable Magic Seat setup that includes a fold-flat mode for greater cargo capacity. The concept’s interior was not revealed at the Detroit show, but Honda says it will feature next-generation telematics.

The small SUV will be manufactured along with the next-generation Fit at Honda’s new plant near Celaya, Mexico, expected to open in the spring of 2014. The new SUV will follow the redesigned 2015 Fit to market, according to John Mendel, Executive Vice President of Sales at American Honda.

Honda believes the new addition to its global compact series will help double the production of such small vehicles to more than 1.5 million units by the end of 2016.

“The reality is that the only constraint on our small-car sales has been supply,” Mendel said at the Detroit show. “We think there is latent demand for the Fit and small cars generally that we can meet through production at our new 200,000-unit plant” in Mexico.

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