We don’t know much about the Gear, other than the fact that Honda Canada is promising a world first, the one and only at this 45th edition of the Montreal Auto Show.
If you can remember that first fixed gear bicycle you had as a kid, you know that nothing on wheels could be easier to operate.
And it’s that kind of simplicity that Dave Marek, design director at Honda R&D Americas, Inc., wanted to impart in the GEAR Concept Study that made its world debut at the 2013 Montreal International Auto Show. GEAR will now make its way across Canada to other auto shows, such as those in Toronto and Calgary, and will eventually be displayed in the U.S.
“Subcompact cars are usually either utilitarian, but uninspiring, or they’re fun, zippy cars that are impractical and too expensive for Gen-Y buyers,” said Marek. “GEAR tears down those walls – it’s practical but fun, customizable, connected and affordable.
“It all started when we asked ‘why don’t we do a car like we used to – simple?’” Marek said. “It’s purely a design study and wasn’t meant to be part of the Honda lineup, but who knows?”
Marek said Honda’s Gen-Y focus groups always say they don’t want an urban vehicle to compromise between people and space to carry stuff. So GEAR was designed to carry four people in comfort and, with the rear seat folded forward, provide as much floor space as a CR-V crossover.
Cost, always important to Gen-Y buyers, would be kept low by using bits and pieces from Honda’s parts bin.
“If nothing else, it’s proof that Honda does get it,” Marek said. “We just wanted a chance to show it.”
Although GEAR is a concept study – without a drivetrain and not built on any particular Honda platform – it has about the same footprint as a Fit. And, as Marek says, who knows? If it creates enough buzz on the auto show circuit …
At least it’s proof that small urban vehicles don’t have to be ugly – a pretty good accomplishment in itself.