TOKYO, Dec. 19 -- (Kyodo) _ Honda Motor Co. on Thursday unveiled its new compact sport utility vehicle "Vezel," aiming to expand its sales in the SUV market.
The hybrid model that will hit the Japanese market on Friday is equipped with a 1.5-liter direct turbo engine and a high-power motor, which provide a fuel economy of 27 kilometers per liter, the highest fuel efficiency in Japan among sport utility vehicles, the company said.
Honda also took the wraps off a gasoline version, which offers a fuel economy of 20.6 km per liter.
The company is planning to introduce the Vezel in the United States and the Asia-Pacific region sometime after 2014 and in South America in 2015 with an eye to producing it in plants in Brazil and Mexico.
The automaker aims to make the vehicle one of its basic products like the Fit and N series, and boost its shares of the SUV market after lagging behind its rivals such as Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., Nissan Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp.
The retail prices will range from 1,870,000 yen to 2,680,000 yen.
(c) 2013 Kyodo News International, Inc.
Original headline: Honda unveils new compact SUV Vezel
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