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#MTSEMA18 – Honda to Bring Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept and Rebelle Rally Pilot to SEMA

Overland-Themed Ridgeline Also to Show Up in Vegas

Honda will make a strong showing at the 2018 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show (SEMA), bringing several of its racecars and performance machines to the Las Vegas event. However, the company will also bring something we can’t wait to learn more about: the Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept. This is the first we’ve heard of such a machine, and its name has us dreaming of a modern dune buggy or sporty side-by-side UTV.

There are no official details of the Rugged Open Air Vehicle yet (if that’s even its name). But given Honda’s penchant to infuse each of its new vehicles with a dose of fun, we think the concept could be pretty exciting. Speculating wildly, we think it might be based on the CR-V’s platform, jacked up for off-road duty, fitted with knobbier tires for sand scrambling, and powered by a version of the company’s powerful 2.0L turbocharged I-4.

Back in the realm of reality, Honda will also bring a Pilot SUV, fresh off the trail of the Rebelle Rally. Honda employees Ariel Jen and Melanie Morimoto partnered together to take the Pilot Rebelle Rally through its paces on the 1,700-mile, women-only off-road navigation raid. The SUV was only slightly altered from what one could buy in the showroom, adding custom skidplates, off-road tires, and a modified suspension for added ground clearance. The factory-fresh engine, transmission, and torque-vectoring i-VTM4 all-wheel-drive system were kept stock.

Honda will also bring the Ridgeline Overland Project, a company-sanctioned design exercise that will turn a Ridgeline Black Edition into an off-grid home on wheels. Skidplates, a leveling kit, and off-road tires add a measure of capability, while a Plateau roof rack and Mesa bed rack maximize flexibility. What’s more, Honda says it has partnered with Jsport Performance Accessories to make these features available for purchase to consumers. We’re very interested in seeing what a slightly taller, slightly tougher Ridgeline can do off-road, particularly given the i-VTM4 system’s sophisticated traction management and capability. It’s no substitute for a low-range transfer case, but its software wizardry should pair well with those knobbies to give the Ridgeline Overland Project some very real off-road capability.

In addition, the company will bring a suite of Civic Type Rs prepped for motorsports, as well as a Honda-powered Formula 3 open-wheel racer; five motorcycles; an accessorized Insight hybrid; and a pedal-powered, carbon-bodied “First Honda” for the kids. We can't wait to see that one.

We’ll be onsite next week to see everything in person. Follow along with our adventures on social media using the hashtag #MTSEMA18.

Source: Honda

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