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Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Honda Urban SUV Concept

What is it? The Urban SUV Concept shown in Detroit is the forerunner of a small SUV based on the Fit subcompact hatchback, which has been one of the most practical, versatile, low-cost vehicles on the road for many years. This Urban concept is nine inches shorter than the CR-V, and styled like a coupe, that ever-popular design conceit, with body lines that sweep up towards the rear while the roof line slopes down. The back door handles are concealed, so as not to spoil the coupey look.

What’s new or different? A pint-sized SUV smaller than the very nice CR-V is a new direction for Honda, and territory being explored by a number of luxury brands. The Urban Concept looks like a tidy package, with the Fit’s flat, low rear floor and “magic” fold-flat seats. At 169 inches, it’s seven inches longer than the Fit. Powertrains were not announced but it’s a good bet that an economical four-cylinder of something under two liters’ displacement will be the standard fitment.

CR’s take Is there room for another SUV smaller than Honda’s well-thought-out CR-V? If it’s done right, yes. We liked the small Nissan Juke, for instance, even though it’s based on the dreary little Nissan Versa. What we’d look for, of course, are the things we know Honda can do but sometimes hasn’t of late. Besides maximizing space we’d want to see high-quality fit and finish and more sound deadening. But there seems to be a bottomless demand for compact SUVs and if this vehicle can deliver an affordable one without cheaping out on the details, then it should do well.

 When will it be available? 2014

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