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Auto blogThu, 16 Jan 2014
There's a distinct benefit to automakers having their own premium brand. After all, why develop one vehicle to be sold under one nameplate if you can turn it into two? Especially if a little reconfiguration and some premium accoutrements allow said automaker to charge significantly more for the luxury version. It's a winning formula - for crossovers especially - that Toyota has used to turn the Highlander into the Lexus RX (even if the first-gen RX arrived before the original Highlander), that Ford has used to transform the Edgee into the Lincoln MKX and that General Motors has applied to the Chevrolet Suburban to turn it into the Cadillac Escalade (to name just a few of the many examples out there). And it's one to which Honda and its Acura division are certainly not unaccustomed.
Acura has adapted its Euro-spec Honda Accord into the TSX, the Civic into the ILX, the CR-V into the RDX and the Pilot into the MDX. And now that the Honda Vezel is coming to market, Acura reportedly has its eye on that as well. The idea was first introduced when Acura unveiled the SUV-X concept (shown above) at the Shanghai Motor Show this past April, just a few months after Honda revealed its Urban SUV concept that previewed the production Vezel. At the time, says Automotive News, Acura said it intended to put the concept into production in China for the Chinese market, and it's reportedly moving ahead with those plans. But now that it is, executives are wondering where else they might find buyers for the premium compact crossover.
With the Vezel soon to begin production alongside the Fit at Honda's new plant in Mexico, it wouldn't be a stretch to see the Acura version follow suit. The market does, after all, seem to be heating up with entries like the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA, and we couldn't blame Honda - pardon us, Acura - for wanting a slice of that pie.
George Kennedy from Boldride.com, BMW i3, NACTOY long list, Bentley SUV
Episode #343 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth and Steven Ewing are joined by George Kennedy, Autoblog alum and Editor-in-Chief of Boldride.com. Topics include the unveiling of the BMW i3, the 2014 North American Car and Truck of the Year long list, and the green-lighted Bentley SUV. As always, we start with what's in the garage, but then answer some of your questions before diving into the week's news. For those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. You can follow along after the jump with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #343:
Honda has already showcased its new Fit-based crossover around the world. We've seen it in Tokyo wearing the Vezel name and we've seen it in Paris in 'prototype' form. We've even seen photos of the US-spec version. We just haven't seen that North American model in the flesh, but that'll all be fixed next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
That's where Honda will, at long last, unveil the US version of its new HR-V subcompact. The Japanese automaker hasn't told us much else, save to say that the HR-V will, of course, slot in below the CR-V in US showrooms. It'll also feature the company's lauded Magic Seat system, "which allows for multiple seating configurations and the ability to fold the second row seat completely flat for added cargo space."
Alongside the HR-V, Honda's luxury division will also be showcasing a revised version of its ILX sedan at the LA show as well. Acura hasn't revealed precise details of what revisions are in store for its smallest sedan - or a more detailed photo than the teaser inset at right - but it is promising "a comprehensive update that include a potent new powertrain, more forceful, sporty exterior styling and a substantially upgraded interior design."