Honda Teases Rugged Crossover That Shows Off New Design Philosophy


Honda appears to be creating 'look at me!' design language.

There is an emergence of a new model niche as the crossover SUV continues to evolve, and while it’s a bit unconventional, it could be another cash cow waiting to happen. That would be the small but rugged utility vehicle that’s made by taking a hatchback or wagon, lifting it to rock-clearance level, cladding its edges in sacrificial plastic, and making it look mean. Subaru has the Crosstrek and Audi has the Allroad, so now it’s Honda’s turn to build its own interpretation.

Let’s give a welcome to the new WR-V, or in Honda speak, an abbreviation for Winsome Runabout Vehicle. The concept isn’t out yet, but Honda published a teaser image to get our imaginations flowing about what we can soon expect from the Japanese carmaker. The sketches depict what appears to be a Fit that’s been raised, given plastic cladding on the lower edges of the body, and given a makeover to bring out an edgy but playful character. Its outlandish front end also follows Honda’s recent move towards more aggressive styling that was exemplified on the Honda Civic Type R we saw at the Paris Motor Show. The design is an attempt to convey the message that the WR-V is tough and urban, excellent for professionals with an active lifestyle.

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If it shares as much with the Honda Fit as it appears to, it will carry over the 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a CVT or five-speed stick. That shouldn’t make more than 116 horsepower and 110 lb-ft of torque, all of which will be sent to the front wheels. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the WR-V will be sold in the US. The concept will debut on Election Day (November 8th) in Brazil at the Sao Paulo Auto Show and will be aimed directly at the Latin American market. Unfortunately, we don’t see much demand for such a car north of the border where SUVs are still king, but we should be surprised if Honda decides to bring it to Europe.

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