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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Honda’s June debuting Urban Cruiser rival will be called Elevate

Newcomer has been approved for export markets and could potentially come to South Africa at some stage this year.

Honda has confirmed that its SUV step-up above the WR-V, due to go on-sale in India around August, will officially be called the Elevate.

Reportedly set for unveiling on 6 June, the Elevate will be in the region of 300 mm longer than the WR-V, and ride on the same platform as the recently revealed facelift City sedan known as the Ballade in South Africa.

Already seen undergoing testing in India, the Elevate will take styling inspiration from the CR-V and BR-V, but since neither are sold in said market, will become Honda’s de facto flagship SUV above the WR-V.

What to expect

According to the most recent report by Autocar India, the City influence will expand to the Elevate’s interior, but with small differences such as more premium materials, a fully digital instrument cluster, a bigger 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, minimum of six airbags and an expanded array of safety and driver assistance systems.

Up front, the 90kW/145Nm normally aspirated 1.5-litre petrol engine from the City will be carried over, along with the e:HEV 1.5-litre hybrid that also powers the Jazz/Fit.

The replacement for the 1.5-litre turbodiesel that no longer conforms to India’s stringent BS 6.2 emissions, the hybrid produces a combined 80kW/253Nm and will result in the Elevate taking direct aim at the new Suzuki Grand Vitara that also offers an self-charging electric powertrain.

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Transmission choices are expected to consist of a six-speed manual or a CVT, and, in the case of the hybrid, an e-CVT. Unlike the Suzuki though, the Elevate will the front-wheel-drive only.

South Africa earmarked?

A key model for Honda India it’s President and CEO, Takuya Tsumura, in March remarked needs to fulfil its expansion investment of 540 to 660 vehicles a day at the Tapukara Plant in Rajasthan, the Elevate has also been confirmed for exports markets and will thus be produced with right-hand-drive for countries outside of India.

Locally, the Elevate could well become a reality either below or above the HR-V as Honda is expected to bring the facelift CR-V to market later this year.

“It will be exported internationally and won’t be exclusive to India or South Africa, but will become a global model and exported to other markets, including Japan,” Honda South Africa’s Product Manager, Callon Locke, told The Citizen about the then-stillborn Elevate at the launch of the HR-V last year.

Once revealed, expect the Elevate to take direct aim at the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, the mentioned Grand Vitara and its twin, the Toyota Urban Cruiser, all already present in South Africa.

Should Honda South Africa give final approval, expect the Elevate to enter the local market either in the third or fourth quarter of the year.

Additional information from gaadiwaadi.com.

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