It'll be Vezelly recognised

By Liz Dobson

The Vezel is Honda's challenge to some heavyweight competitors.  Picture / AP
The Vezel is Honda's challenge to some heavyweight competitors. Picture / AP

Minutes before Honda pulled the cover off its all-new compact crossover at the recent Tokyo motor show, bets were on about what the vehicle would be called.

It would be entering the market's fastest-growing segment, and would take on Ford with its EcoSport, Holden's Trax, Suzuki's S Cross, Nissan's Juke and Peugeot's 2008.

The favourite theory was that Honda would follow the lead of the popular medium-sized SUV, the CR-V - which stands for Comfortable Runabout Vehicle.

How about SR-V, I suggested? Stands for Sporty Runabout Vehicle or even Sexy Recreational Vehicle.

Honda Canada may have had a Prelude SR-V sports coupe in the mid-1990s, but I thought my name was still an option for the Japanese company.

We all decided though that HR-V was out of the running, as Honda would want to distance the all-new vehicle from three-door mini-SUV it produced from 1999 to 2006. The abbreviation stood for Hi-rider Revolutionary Vehicle.

Yep, SR-V was still looking like the winning name.

An Australian motoring writer next to me thought thought Honda would stick to the nouns that have been its when it comes to naming its cars - the Civic, Accord, Jazz, Odyssey etc.

The Honda Motor bosses took the stage at the Tokyo show, pulled the cover off the crossover and christened it ... the Honda Vezel.

And the reaction from us motoring writers was 'huh?'

Vezel is Dutch for "fibre" and at first we tried to work out how to say the name.

The Honda Vezel on display at the Tokyo Motor show. Photo / Liz Dobson
The Honda Vezel on display at the Tokyo Motor show. Photo / Liz Dobson

I thought it was pronounced "vessel", the Australian motoring writers sitting next said "ve-sell" but we were all wrong. It's "Vezel, rhymes with wezel".

So after the presentation, the first question to show attendee Murray Selby, Honda NZ's general manager, was would it be called the Vezel worldwide or only in Japan.

He didn't know and a couple of months later there is no decision on the name plate.

Based on the all-new Jazz platform, the Vezel is being produced with two powertrains - the 1.5-litre hybrid and 1.5-litre petrol - plus both AWD and 2WD and will be below the CR-V in Honda's line-up.

Whatever the name, the vehicle is expected to be launched in New Zealand this year. I still have my bets on SR-V.

- NZ Herald

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