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Honda Vezel baby SUV confirmed for 2015

Honda Australia is looking to introduce the compact Vezel SUV with petrol and diesel drivetrains when it arrives locally in 2015, thereby asserting the brand’s newfound local embrace of turbodiesel technology.

A diesel Vezel would likely be only the third Honda diesel sold in Australia, after the CR-V diesel that launched this week and the Civic DTi-S hatch that launched here in 2013.

“Petrol and diesel are definitely part of our plan, but a hybrid is unlikely at this stage,” Honda Australia Director Stephen Collins says.

Turbodiesels are currently scarce in the Vezel’s light-crossover segment locally, with only Peugeot’s 2008 offering such a choice compared with the petrol-only Nissan Juke, Holden Trax and Ford EcoSport.

The segment is also currently free of hybrid options, but Collins sees meeting demand for diesels as key to “increasing Honda’s brand presence in rural and provincial Australia.”

Following the Vezel’s unveiling at the Tokyo motor show last November, Collins suggested that the Vezel name may not make it to our shores, with Japan as the only market confirmed for the new moniker.

Collins confirmed this week that a new nameplate will be applied for the Australian market, quashing any notion of a return of the previous sub-CR-V ‘HR-V’ badge from 1999-2001.

Exactly what nameplate that will be is still being decided, but CarsGuide understands that Australian models would likely share nomenclature with the UK version.

The Vezel went on sale in Japan last month, with petrol and hybrid drivetrains to be shared with the Japanese-market Fit that we will see as the new Jazz light hatch in the second half of the year.

The Vezel is set to arrive in US showrooms this year, but Collins said Australian models are around 12 months away, suggesting some time in 2015.

This reporter is on Twitter: @Mal_Flynn