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Honda WR-V
    Change Model
Customer Rating
: 3/5
Expert Rating
: 7/10
Warranty
: N/A (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
Delhi
 help (Rs.Lakhs)
    Change City
8.15 Lakhs-10.35 Lakhs

Strong Areas

  • Stylish Demeanour
  • Good Performance
  • Long Equipment List
  • Spacious Cabin

Weak Areas

  • Average Quality
  • Noisy Diesel Motor 
  • Noautomatic
  • Pricey Nature
     
Honda WR-V
 
 

Honda WR-V Expert Review

Between the hatchback and SUV segments, Indian market has a category for rugged hatchbacks. This is where major carmakers including Hyundai, Toyota and Volkswagen brought their hatch-crossovers and Honda too has entered the field now launching the WR-V based on Jazz. 


Author

By

ecardlr.com National

The concept of hatchback based crossovers did not really catch the interest of buyers in India. Aiming to give their cars an SUV like feel companies like Hyundai, Toyota and Volkswagen used thick cladding, roof rails and larger wheels to make sporty versions of them. These came as Hyundai’s i20 Active, Toyota’s Etios Cross and Volkswagen’s Cross Polo. But the makeovers did not transform them adequately into an SUV that could impress Indian buyers.

Fiat did make some extra efforts on its Avventura with revised suspension and a tailgate mounted spare wheel but even that did not help much to inspire purchases. Then there are some other compact SUVs such as Ford Eco Sport and
Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza built from ground up – the prices of these are not much higher than the cross-hatches and they have achieved better sales in the market.
         Honda WR-V
Honda’s WR-V is a new entrant in the segment. This is also a cross hatch or sub 4 meter SUV with Jazz as its donor car. It comes with the same petrol and diesel engines:


-    1.2 litre, 4 cylinder i-VTEC with 89 bhp at 6000 rpm and 110 Nm torque at 4800 rpm 
-    1.5 litre, 4 cylinder i-DTEC with 99 bhp at 3600 rpm and 200 Nm torque at 1750 rpm 

The petrol engine is mated to 5 speed manual and the diesel is coupled with 6 speed manual transmission. 
We delve further into its design, features and performance.


External Impression 

When we first looked at the WR-V we felt that it does project a different persona than the Jazz particularly due to its brawny, SUV like front end, the larger wheels and the beefed up suspension. In reality, nonetheless it is still a Jazz with a spacious cabin and huge luggage space. 
 
The design modifications to differentiate it from the regular Jazz hatchback are called ‘wild armour’ treatment by Honda. Focus is on elements of strength and toughness. WR-V has a muscular SUV look with raised bonnet line, a broad chrome belt in its grille and contrasting scuff plate. The bumper is more neatly sculpted. Therefore, when looked at carefully, the WR-V does look more like an SUV than the Jazz which has an MUV like appearance.
            Honda WR-V Tail-Gate-Spoiler
There are new headlamps and they look attractive with their LED day time running lights (DRLs). As in crossover hatchbacks, there is thick cladding around the wheel arches and the lower ends of doors. 
This car gets 16 inch gunmetal finish multi-spoke alloy wheels with 195/60 R16 tyres. As against this, the regular hatchback (Jazz) run on 15 inch wheels with 175/65 R15 tyres. Bodyline and glasshouse are quite similar to the Jazz. 

Silver roof rails are also a part of the design features as per the segment trends. A radio antenna stands towards the rear. Outside rear view mirrors (ORVMs) get integrated blinkers.


                Honda WR-V Split Type Rear Combilamp
 

In terms of its dimensions the WR-V has a length of 3999 mm, width of 1734 mm and height of 1601 mm. By these standards it is 44 mm longer, 40 mm wider and 57 mm taller than the Jazz. 

One thing reflecting the serious efforts of Honda in customising this utility vehicle is the work on wheelbase – it is 2555 mm long which is 25 mm more than the Jazz’s. It was the result of modified mounting points for the revised suspension. Ground clearance measures 188 mm and that is 23 mm higher than the Jazz. With its raised stance the WR- V gets a better SUV look and feel. 

The rear end is also distinct with L-shaped tail lamps and new bumper. Number plate has been positioned at a lower level than in Jazz. An LED stop lamp above the rear windscreen (that also gets a wiper) and reflectors housed in the blackened part of the bumper complete the look.

 
            Honda WR-V Large Boot Space 
There is a choice between 6 colour options for Honda WR-V. These comprise Premium Amber, White Orchid, Golden Brown, Carmelian Red, Alabaster Silver and Modern Steel. 


Into the Cabin 

The Jazz has been admired for its cabin and so Honda has not deviated much from what they know is already successful. Ingress and egress were good in Jazz and they have become even better with the raised stance of WR-V. Inside the cabin you will be welcomed by the familiar black coloured theme and it brings brushed aluminium highlights, enhancing its premium look.

As per the choice of variants, fabric seat upholstery is available in two combinations. There is black & blue for the lower (S) trim and black & silver with double stitching for the upper (VX) version. There is a usable centre armrest with USB port and 12 V charging socket.

 
            Honda WR-V Dashboard
On the instrument console you will see a large speedometer dial flanked by other two smaller dials for tachometer at left and driver information system at right. The three spoke steering wheel with silver accents has audio controls. 
 
Honda has included tech rich features in the cabin equipment package for the top spec trim. The VX version of WR-V gets Digipad infotainment system that made its debut with the facelifted City. This 7 inch touchscreen device is easy to read thanks to its large and clear fonts. It is also not difficult to operate and has an array of functionalities. These include sat nav, MirrorLink, video playback (with the help of an HDMI port and for safety reasons only when the car is not moving) and voice commands. As in some other cars, the voice command is not very sensitive and you will want to use the hand operated touchscreen more often.

 
               Honda WR-V Spacious Inside
There is a reversing camera as in the new City and it offers multiple views which do help with parking in tight spots. But you don’t get acoustic warnings which is a bummer. 

An offering that helps the WR-V in winning some more brownie points is the electric sunroof. This is a segment first feature and will help in attracting feature conscious buyers of compact SUVs. 

As for other features, the top spec car comes with one push engine start – stop button, cruise control and Honda smart key system with remote but these are offered only with the diesel.  For cabin illumination, apart from the interior light and cargo light, the VX trims get an additional front map lamp. An aptly sized foot rest is provided but it feels tad more upright than what we would have preferred. 

For seating comfort, Honda WR-V provides a lot of space. The front seats are large and supportive with adjustable headrests and the driver’s seat is adjustable for height. The steering wheel too can be adjusted for rake and reach making it easy to get into a comfortable driving position.

As in the
Jazz, the lateral visibility draws no complaints, but the view upfront gets obstructed around a corner because of the thick A-pillars & quarter glass design. this creates blind spots. Also, the windscreen is more slanted than what we would have preferred.

 
           Honda WR-V Dual Airbags

 

Power adjustable (and power foldable in upper variant) ORVMs are big and lend you a good view of the scenes behind. But the internal rear view mirror shows you little and again, the rear pillars mar visibility. You need to be careful when reversing into your parking slot.

You get plenty of cubby holes for keeping smaller items. There are cup holders in front of gear lever stick and another scooped out area near the handbrake. There is a spacious glovebox and door pockets are also usable. 

At the rear, the legroom is generous, the shoulder room is adequate but the under thigh support could have been better. Jazz has special ‘magic seats’ which you can split, fold and flip forward to create seating and storage layout as per your needs. But unfortunately the same does not come with WR-V’s seats. 
To cut down on costing Honda has offered fixed backrests for rear bench seat here. You cannot push it down to create more space in boot section. But the standard storage space is good enough at 363 litres. It is also well sculpted and easy to use for loading and unloading luggage. There is a storage recess under the rear seats which became feasible by positioning the WR-V’s fuel tank under the front seats. 


Engine, Transmission and Performance  

Petrol Model
The 1.2 litre 4 cylinder engine in WR- V is the same as in 2nd generation Jazz and it generates a healthy 89 bhp but just 110 Nm of torque. Honda did work on the gearing to improve the initial acceleration and compensate for the 50 kg extra kerb bulk of WR-V’s body.

              Honda BR-V i-VTEC Petrol Engine
               
When you start the engine, the petrol motor is not noisy and it goes on to show its refinement through low revs. The bottom end performance with this engine is fine but power delivery is rather flat at mid revs and you need to frequently downshift while driving through the city traffic. With the same engine a smaller car like Brio feels peppier. Thankfully, the gear changes are not a hassle due to the light clutch. The 5 speed manual ‘box is also slick to use. It’s just that the sporty, small gearshift knob is little hard to grasp.

This engine is rev happy and can climb up to just below the redline to unleash its full power. As you go up on the revs you will also find the progress more satisfying but then the engine note becomes too audible. This is not to everyone’s liking. So to derive the performance out from the WR-V you do need to make the engine work harder. 

We wish Honda puts the bigger 1.5 litre petrol engine under WR-V’s hood to make the performance peppier. A CVT combination with this unit will be even more likeable. 


Diesel Model 

Our next test drive was with the diesel. The familiar 1.5 litre i DTEC churns out 99 bhp and in other Hondas, this engine has offered good driveability with easy delivery of power.

Starting this engine, you will hear a prominent clatter that tells you easily it’s a diesel. Honda has worked upon insulation to reduce the noise that has been much talked about. They have succeeded to some extent because it is less noisy than the Jazz but it is still loud by modern diesel car standards.


               Honda WR-V i-DTEC-Diesel-Engine
WR-V’s diesel engine offers impressive driveability from the start. The power delivery and torque are very linear. You will get the same feeling as from driving a car with naturally aspirated petrol. Gear ratios are spaced out well making the SUV easy to drive in cities of India with just light throttle inputs. 

Throttle response is also fine when you push harder and in high gears too because there is hardly any turbo lag in diesel WR-V. Straight line acceleration does not disappoint.  There is adequate torque to keep you going, and ample power to sustain it. Thanks to absence of turbo lag, you can also overtake slow moving vehicles easily. 

As for the performance on highways, it is competent but again not to an enthusiast’s liking. The engine is tuned for performance in low to medium range rpm. It is not high rpm-friendly.  There is no spike in power in any point and you will not gain much by revving it hard and actually it will only amplify the engine noise to unpleasant levels. Don’t try to push it to redline. 

The right way to drive the WR-V on highways is to work the torque and upshift early. You will keep pace with traffic on the right lanes of broad roads. The 6th gear ratio makes it a relaxed cruiser on highways. This manual gearbox is also easy to use but has a notchy side. Clutch is neither very light nor too heavy. 

It is stated that aluminium diesels are inherently noisier but we’d still wish Honda does something more to improve NVH factor.

Between the petrol and diesel WR-V, our pick is the diesel. 


Ride and Handling  

Honda WR-V sits higher than Jazz but its suspension has also been tweaked to negate the bad effects of raising the centre of gravity. With the bigger 16 inch wheels covered by 195/60 profile tyres, this SUV can easily absorb most potholes and bumps on our roads. While the ride quality of second generation Jazz too had improved over the earlier one, the WR-V fares a notch better. Ride continues to be good at higher speeds too. It does dismiss most irregularities and glides effortlessly over rough stuff. 

Handling is just neutral but it makes you feel comfortable and confident. Body roll is contained and the grip from tyres is at par with competitors. The behaviour of suspension is predictable and safe. 
The electric power steering taken from the Jazz was modified for WR-V after which it offers more assistance at lower speed and is easy to twist around. The steering wheel is light and fuss-free at lower speeds. It is not the sharpest of units but does weigh up well to provide a good feel of control at high speeds. 

WR-V has the ventilated disc brakes for front disc & drums at rear. They perform as expected and stop the car in a straight line without drama. For safety Honda offers ABS with EBD as standard.  Dual SRS airbags for driver and front passenger are also offered in both variants. The rear multi-view camera is exclusive to top-end VX trim.


Fuel Efficiency 

The ARAI certified fuel economy rating for 1.2 i VTEC petrol engine in WR-V is 17.5 km per litre. For the 1.5 litre i DTEC diesel engine powered version it stands at 25.5 km per litre. 

Verdict 

Honda has brought the WR-V to the cross-hatch and compact SUV segment a little late. But it seems this car will emerge as a worthwhile competitor in its field. Yes there are some shortcomings such as the noisy diesel and lack of punch in petrol. Also, there is no AMT/CVT option yet. But it does have quite a few goodies to offer. 

Its beauty goes beyond visual aesthetics. Honda has made significant efforts in differentiating it from the Jazz to which it will be compared in all its reviews. 

Instead of taking the easy route by strapping body claddings, roof rails and decals, the makers did tweak the mechanicals. It also has ample kit in its spacious cabin and there is a sunroof too. At the same time the practicality and ride quality of Jazz have continued to be a part of its traits. 

It is then mainly the price that makes it an expensive for some buyers. WR-V is Rs 81000 to 1.23 lakh costlier than its hatch sibling. It sits in the range of Rs 7.75 lakh and 8.99 lakh for the petrol. The diesel WR-V price range is Rs 8.79 lakh and 9.99 lakh. (all prices ex showroom Delhi). 

Its apparent rivals like Hyundai i20 Active and Toyota Etios Liva Cross are slightly less on price. Probably with all that effort it has put in tuning the suspension, Honda is trying to compete against compact SUVs like Maruti Brezza and Ford Eco Sport instead of rugged hatchbacks. How much the scales turn its favour is now to seen. 

Comfort: 3.5/5
Refinement: 3/5
Safety: 3.5/5
Ride: 3.5/5
Handling: 3.5/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5

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