The Honda WR-V is a newcomer to the hatchback-based crossover segment, taking on the likes of Hyundai i20 Active, Volkswagen Cross Polo and Fiat Avventura. But unlike its competition which includes merely beefed up models with plastic cladding and faux silver trim, the WR-V is a result of Honda India going all-out to create a legitimate crossover based on the Jazz hatchback.We aren’t big fans of hatchback-based crossovers as they often tend to appear and feel like the cars they are based on. Happily, the WR-V bucks this trend, with vastly different styling, some additional new features and tweaked internals as compared to the Jazz. Here’s how the newcomer fares as an urban friendly crossover. Check On Road Price of WRV
Look at the WR-V from the front and you’ll be forgiven to think that it’s an all-together new car. Honda has done a fine job of endowing it with a beefier ‘SUV’ look, a raised bonnet line, a thick chrome grille, a contrasting scuff plate and a sculpted bumper. The headlights come with daytime-running LEDs and look attractive. The rear end too is unique to the WR-V with its L-shaped tail lamps, revised bumper and a fairly revised tailgate design that now sees the number-plate slot positioned lower than in the Jazz.
The car’s sides are where you can draw the most visual similarities with the Jazz, with familiar bodyline and glasshouse. There are some unique bits too, with the WR-V getting thick plastic cladding, chrome door handles, roof rails and larger 16-inch alloys wheels that ride on wider 195 mm rubber.Get offers & discounts on WRV
The WR-V is 44mm longer, 40mm wider and 57mm taller than the Jazz; surprisingly its 2,555mm wheelbase is 25mm longer than the Jazz, (Honda says, it is due to revised suspension mounting points). The WR-V will be offered in six colours, including a new ‘Premium Amber’ shade.
There are less significant changes in Honda WR-V in terms of interiors, over the Jazz that it is based on. Interior is themed in black plastic and black fabric with a few dashes of grey and silver in the corners and trims.Seats are well bolstered around the thighs and back and feel much more supportive for long drives this car is aiming to be used for. There is a central armrest for front row passengers with an openable cubby space, which can easily house a phone and sunglasses.
Rear seats however are a surprise. They are flat and fixed and also have integrated headrests, which aren’t helpful for people who are about 6 feet tall. Rear seats are less supportive but cushioning is pretty soft. Leg room perhaps is the ultimate selling point for WR-V. With a standard driving position in the front seat, there’s space at the rear to stretch your legs or even accommodate a camping bag between the knees and front seat base.
The infotainment system is a new upgraded Digipad recently seen in the all new Honda City. The infotainment system operates on new gen Navigation software, Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The touch screen has noticeable lag and it takes patience to get used to it on the move. Honda’s party trick in the WR-V is the installation of a one touch sunroof in the top end trim to add to overall opulence of the otherwise dark cabin.The top end diesel variant gets cruise control to adds to the convenience of long highway expeditions. 363 litres of boot space without the rear seats folded down is sufficient to carry large suitcases and an ice box for the weekend.
The Honda WR-V is offered with a choice of two engines – 1.2-litre i-VTEC and 1.5-litre i-DTEC. The petrol engine churns out 90 PS at 6000 RPM along with 110 Nm at 4800 RPM. The engine is offered with a 5-speed manual transmission but this is a new gearbox and not the one on the Jazz and other Honda cars. Honda isn’t providing the CVT gearbox with the WR-V. The petrol engine is very refined and feels eager to rev. The low end is underpowered and feels disappointing but the mid range feels strong and there is a lot of action near the redline. The new gearbox has smooth shifts and the clutch is light too. Expect the petrol engine to give out 12-14 km/l in real life conditions while the ARAI-claimed figure is 17.5 km/l.
The diesel engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. It produces 100 PS at 3600 RPM and 200 Nm at 1750 RPM. The oil-burner is really noisy across the rev band. There is some turbo lag but once you cross it, power delivery is linear right up to 4000 RPM. The engine feels very responsive in the mid range and it actually makes the car fun to drive. Gear shifts are smooth on this one as well and a real life fuel efficiency of 17-20 km/l can be expected, with the ARAI-claimed figure being 25.5 km/l.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
The most significant mechanical update in the Honda WR-V is the suspension. The new set-up and the larger tyres raise the ground clearance to 188mm from the Jazzs 165mm. Ride quality certainly feels more supple than the Jazz, and it absorbs potholes quite well without any thuds. That’s also got to do with the larger-profile tyres. Damping is neither too soft nor too firm, so the car doesn’t feel bouncy or jumpy over undulations.But around the bends, the car does tend to roll a little when you start to push it. However, at normal driving speeds, the Honda WR-V feels safe and confident. For reference, it feels around 30 per cent less stiff than Marutis Vitara Brezza and therefore a little less nimble too. The electric steering offers good feedback but feels quite vague. But its neither too light nor too heavy and weighs up well at higher speeds.
All variants of the Honda WR-V get dual front airbags and ABS with EBD as standard. It also gets a rear camera with multiple viewing angles, but like the City and Jazz, you don’t get rear parking sensors.
The WR-V is more of a lifestyle choice than a no-nonsense city runabout. It certainly looks the part, has a versatile cabin with loads of space and a pair of tried and tested engines. That said, it doesn’t come off well as an enthusiast’s choice but that’s passable because it’s not what Honda was looking to make here. The WR-V is all about efficiency and practicality and you get plenty of it. As for the all-important pricing, we will have to wait until March 16 because that’s when Honda India will officially launch the WR-V.