Here is our detailed review on Honda’s new bet in the highly competitive segment.
Completely in awe of SUVs, buyers in India are spoiled for choice with the influx of models piling up the segment. The multi-faceted segment follows a different hierarchy in India to cater to a spectrum of customers. This brings us to the subcompact SUVs and compact crossovers that have caught fancy of buyers lately. Attributed to compact size, spacious cabin, raised ground clearance, impressive mileage and aggressive pricing, the newly formed subcompact SUV or crossover space is growing into a snowball with carmakers spinning off new models to claim a niche spot in the segment. The latest model to jump on the bandwagon is the Honda WR-V.
Tailored for the Indian market, the sub-four meter SUVs and crossovers are usually based on a popular hatchback from the line-up. But this is usually case in point with crossovers. The Honda WRV, with the crossover-resembling styling and aggressive elements, is essentially a matured Jazz.
Contrary to the conventional theory, Honda WRV sports distinct looks compared to its donor hatchback and this is what makes it stand apart. We tried our hands at the Jazz based WR-V on the roads of probably the most desirable holiday destination in India, Goa and here is our detailed review on Honda’s new bet in the highly competitive segment. Read – Honda WRV Vs Honda Jazz – What’s The Difference
In a bid to give it an individual identity, Honda has added new design elements to the exterior which saves it from being mistaken for an overgrown Jazz. This, albeit would have been challenging since both the models are based on the same underpinnings. The front profile is reminiscent of BR-V with similar bold chrome band running between the pulled back headlamps inspired from its larger sibling. Bumper in front is all new and it gives WR-V the requisite aggression.
Honda has categorically reworked the rear profile to distinct it from its donor hatchback. Considering that two similar looking products usually fall prey to dud sales, Honda thought better to be safe than sorry. Returning to the styling at the back, the L-shaped headlamps, tail-gate and the dual tone bumper are all new elements that altogether give it a new look. The license plate has been repositioned slightly lower, that’s another change on the SUV. Read – Honda WR-V To Get A More Powerful Petrol Engine
The side profile is the only facet where you can see traces of resemblance with Jazz, albeit Honda has added some new bits to the WR-V such as the flared wheel arches, roof rails, plastic cladding on the lower body and new diamond cut alloy wheels for a refreshed look. These altogether fail to dominate the Jazz resembling elements including the side panels, window shape, character lines and doors.
Insides tend to make one think of Jazz, with similar styling and layout. This is undeniably a good thing, as it doesn’t appear cluttered. Most of the elements have been borrowed from Jazz’s interior such as the all-black dashboard with chrome accent, touch-sensitive climate control and instrument cluster. The new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with AUX-in, USB-port, WiFi, SD card, HDMI and Android Auto is a new addition. Seats are draped with new upholstery and the shorter, smaller gear lever is all new that has been tweaked for better handling.
Honda has reworked the dimensions that reflect in the space inside, offering more room to occupants. The driver’s seat is well-cushioned; it also offers good thigh support, back support and can be adjusted for height, which makes it ideal for long drives. The headroom is quite comfortable in the front row and steering wheel can also be adjusted for height. Comparison – Honda WRV Vs Maruti Vitara Brezza – Which one makes for better deal?
With an increased wheelbase by 25mm, the rear side of the cabin is equally spacious. Even the length has been increased by 44mm, width by 40mm and height by 57mm that further allow more knee-room and legroom at the back. Use of high quality material on the rear seats add to the comfort. It is neither too hard nor too soft in fact it is adequate.
One thing that Honda has missed out on is the rear AC vents, which is offered with almost all rivalling models. Aside from the comfort quotient, Honda has equipped modern-day tech on the WR-V including cruise control, engine start/stop button, steering mounted buttons and power-operated ORVMs. With the sunroof, it becomes the first car in the segment to offer that feature.
Sharing platform with Jazz, the WR-V derives power from the same set of engine as its donor hatchback. The petrol variants in the line-up use the 1.2-litre i-VTEC engine and the diesel trims source power from Honda’s 1.5-litre i-DTEC oil burner from Jazz. Transmission options vary on both the engines, with the five-speed manual unit mated to the petrol engine and the 6-speed manual gearbox paired to the oil burner, missing out on the auto box. We drove the 99bhp, 1.5-litre diesel powered WR-V that offers top torque of 200Nm. A major put off on the diesel WR-V is the engine noise that seeps inside the cabin. Though, it scores high on the driveability against the petrol version courtesy the smooth power delivery. The engine offers impressive power at low rpm, but at high rpm is does not match up to the same level.
Gear shifting requires multiple downshifting while overtaking, but once you get used to it, WR-V is fun to drive. As per the company’s claim, WR-V gets a different suspension set-up compared to Jazz. This has been achieved by raising the ground clearance and wheelbase which is further supported by relatively large tyres. If you have driven Jazz, it will be easy for you to discern the change in suspension system. More so, the WR-V offers better ride quality, handles rough patches better and is more stable at high speeds. A big thumb up there for the ride quality! The only room for improvement on the WR-V is the cabin insulation. At high speeds the road noise and engine noise is quite audible in the diesel version, which needs to be addressed.
Based on the Jazz, Honda WRV is visually more appealing with new aggressive styling. In terms of performance, it outpaces its donor hatchback. The only department where we think it still needs to work is the cabin insulation, especially in the diesel version. Aside from this, the compact crossover is evidently better than other models in the segment.
1.2-litre i-VTEC Petrol
Power-89bhp at 6,000rpm
Torque-110Nm at 4,500rpm
1.5-litre i-DTEC Diesel
Power-99bhp at 3,600rpm
Torque-200Nm at 1,750rpm
5-speed Manual (Petrol)
6-speed Manual (Diesel)
(Please note the fuel economy mentioned above is rated by ARAI)
Honda WR-V is based on the Jazz, but its design and performance are much better than its hatch sibling. The cabin insulation is the one area Honda needs to address. Having said that, the WR-V is one of the better compact crossovers out there in the market.