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Shanghai show: Honda and Acura unveil concepts

Call my bluff: The styling of Honda’s Concept M people-mover is dominated by the sheer cliff face that is its front-end.

Concept M previews 2014 Honda people-mover for China as Acura debuts SUV-X concept

Honda logo22 Apr 2013

HONDA aims to combine the dynamics of a passenger car with the practicality of a people-mover with the Concept M unveiled at the Shanghai motor show over the weekend.

The Japanese car-maker’s premium brand Acura also showed its first concept outside North America with the SUV-X, a compact crossover developed primarily for the Chinese market.

Both concepts are sharply styled and point to future production models, with the Concept M aimed for introduction in 2014 and the SUV-X planned for Chinese production and sale within three years.

Honda says most people-movers in China are based on commercial vehicles and the car-based Concept M aims to address this with a vehicle housing a comfortable, spacious cabin and “the fun of driving”.

Designed in Japan, the Concept M features plenty of silver and chrome up front on its deep fascia, with LED headlights linked by a chunky grille decoration featuring an oversized Honda badge, beneath which is a gaping air intake.

More air intakes are located beneath the headlights – straked with daytime running lights – with a further pair set low in the front bumper.

The radical styling continues along the side, where bulging, exaggerated rear wheel arches – over turbine-like two-tone alloy wheels – interrupt a wide silver trim strip that continues to the rear bumper.

At the back, the shape of the grille is reflected in a trim strip linking the slim tail-light clusters and routed beneath the number plate recess.

Compared with the Concept M, the Acura SUV-X has a more subdued front end featuring slim, high-set LED headlights and complex surfacing made up of many criss-crossing angles and folds.

In common with the Concept M are the bulbous rear-wheel arches, while thick chrome surrounds on the lower air intakes are replicated at the rear and linked by a silver strip running along the black lower body cladding.

Honda says the SUV-X combines “emotional and sharp styling and driving performance” with the “environmental performance of a small vehicle and excellent utility of an SUV”.

Also making its debut at Shanghai was the China-only CRIDER sedan, a car mainly developed in China by “Honda’s Chinese associates” that will be sold through the Guangqi Honda joint-venture.

Guangqi Honda also unveiled a facelifted Li Nian S1 sedan, also known as Everus a car that will lead the joint-venture’s charge to attract more customers in inland China.

Another joint-venture, Dongfeng Honda, showed the Jade people-mover primarily aimed at the Chinese market and said to “satisfy diverse customer needs from everyday use to holiday driving”.

Acura gave the flagship RLX luxury sedan a Chinese premiere ahead of its showroom arrival in June, while the NSX supercar concept was also there as a crowd-puller.

Honda Motor president and chief executive Takanobu Ito said the company hoped its Chinese customers would “more closely feel the values offered from Acura”.

“In China, where dynamic growth continues, both Acura and Honda will keep up our efforts to enhance products and technologies that will offer new joys of mobility to our customers.”

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