Winsome Roundabout Vehicle. If we tell you that’s the name of Honda’s new car for India, you’d say that’s not a name, it’s a sentence. But if we tell you that they’ve cut it short to call it the Honda WR-V, and it has been conceived and designed to help you take on our everyday road conditions which mostly resemble stages from the WRC, your ear wax will shift. Although whether you wish to hear or listen, we’ll leave that for you to decide.
Honda WR-V Video Review:
The Honda WR-V is a compact crossover that joins a flock of cars which never really flew. A largely neglected pack which counts in products like the Fiat Avventura, the Hyundai i20 Active, the Vokswagen Cross Polo and the Toyota Etios Cross. However, Honda’s been clever and rather than shopping for some stilettos and body cladding for their new car, they’ve actually made changes which are skin deep. Changes which go further than just merely extending the ride height and are more meaningful. For instance, they’ve toughened the suspension, altered the gearing, increased the wheelbase, have added some first-in-segment features. And most importantly, they’ve put an honest effort to make the product look different than the Jazz.
The WR-V sends out a mating call to attract those who follow an urban, but active lifestyle and need a travel partner which is comfortable, efficient, will walk over everyday bumps and ruts without any fuss, and looks outdoorsy. The car will be offered in ‘S’ and ‘VX’ trim levels with 2 engine options – a 1.2 petrol and a 1.5 diesel. Both connected to manual gearboxes only.
Honda WR-V Engine And Performance
We started our stint driving the petrol model and straight away, the duality of this i-VTEC motor shone through. For a small capacity engine, although it makes its power high in the rev range, it took off from standstill without any clutch trickery. Even when you’re trundling around in town, driveability is decent and things feel satisfyingly peppy when you feed it some gas in the right gear. However, it likes being revved and rewards with a fruity tone in return when you step on it. In order to really enjoy what the motor has to offer, though, one has to keep things on the edge. Which means you’d be downshifting and revving the engine towards its redline pretty often. Fun when you’re in the mood, but not comforting when you wish for something that dishes out the goodies effortlessly. Just the point where the punchy diesel comes into the picture and instantly makes you a convert. It presents that strong a case for itself.
Honda says it has worked on the NVH front to make their only diesel engine for India smoother and less noisy. To hand it over to them, the engine feels more refined and less clattery now. But then, that’s only in comparison to its application in other Honda machines. Compared to the Multijets of the world, it still has to play catch up in terms of refinement. But ignore that aspect, and that is when you start appreciating the brilliance of this motor.
It is fantastically tractable even when spinning at sub 1500 rpm levels and starts building power really early, around the 1200 rpm mark. In the WR-V, altered gearing and engine characteristics, makes the motor feel sprightlier and happy when the revs climb. In comparison to the lazy and not so spirited behaviour it displays while powering the BR-V. Paired to a slick shifting 6-speed box, it makes for a fantastic highway cruiser, chugging along happily at three digit speeds while its internals spin lazily. Even in town, the healthy chunk of torque that is accessible at low revs makes it an effortless commuter and that behaviour strikes out a lot of gearshifts which would’ve bothered you otherwise. Between the two motors, unless you really hate the smell of diesel or otherwise, this should be the engine of choice.
Chunky stalks look built to last
HDMI input for those who still love their cables
Steel spare wheel is neatly tucked away along with replacement gear
Honda WR-V Ride And Handling
The Honda WR-V rides on a McPherson front and torsion beam rear suspension setup which has been optimized for comfort. On the move, it translates to the chassis staying composed in variable conditions and lends the car with predictable road manners. Credit also goes to the electronic steering system which remains light at city speeds, but picks up a good amount of weight with increase in velocity. Moreover, it is precise to the driver’s inputs and offers confidence when the going gets fast. All that is further assisted by wide 195 section rubber which has been wrapped around 16″ wheels.
Although comfort is priority, the rear suspension in particular has been dialed for an eager rebound, which makes the rear passenger bob about a little bit when the WR-V is tackling smooth, but deceptively wavy surfaces at high speeds. Body roll is well contained when corners are attacked enthusiastically, and the WR-V offers decent levels of grip, but will understeer like a typical FWD setup if you really push it. For a package that has been designed for comfort, the crossover absorbed large bumps and the rough with ease when we took it off the road and made it climb a little hill that overlooked the sea. Even here though, the diesel powered WR-V with that additional weight up front feels more in-sync with the car’s built to take on the tough image.
Honda WR-V Interior And Features
The Honda WR-V’s wheelbase has been extended by 25mm in comparison to the Jazz. And nowhere is it more apparent and appreciated than in the back seat. There’s oodles of cabin space and knee room for rear passengers, which is further enhanced by a generous glass area and a good amount of width. The rear bench is a little lacking in under thigh support for tall passengers though and integrated headrests don’t push the case of comfort too far. The amount of space all around tries to make up for that. There’s no central arm rest or dedicated ac vents for rear passengers either. In contrast, seats up front offer a good amount of all round support, where the driver’s seat is adjustable for height.
The steering too is adjustable for reach and height, which makes it easy to attain a comfortable driving position.
The system supports Bluetooth audio and telephony, USB, microSD and HDMI input. It can also connect to the internet through a WiFi adapter and has an in-built browser too.
We found the gear stick too thin to hold, however, since the box itself is slick, all it needs is a pinky flick to slot it through the gates
Honda WR-V Design And Styling
The Honda WR-V has been designed around a ‘Wild Armor’ theme, which works well to project a sturdy and tough image of the car. And Honda has done a fine job to make the WR-V look distinct and largely disconnected from the Jazz.
Sideways, it bears a lot of resemblance to the Jazz though, although all-round cladding, roof rails and the new alloy wheel design do try hard to differentiate.
Android based system isn’t the most responsive
Air-conditioner cooled the cabin efficiently on a seriously hot day
Honda WR-V Design Buying Advice
The Honda WR-V will be launched on March 16th at a slightly premium price point above the Jazz. For the additional amount you might spend, the WR-V offers extra space, features and distinctive looks which bear little resemblance to its Jazzy cousin. It isn’t an off roader and it knows that. But then here’s what all that side cladding and increased ride height does to you. It alters your mind to think that the machine you’re piloting has been designed to take on the tough. And just to demonstrate it to ourselves, we drove the WR-V to the top of a hill, where just a few days ago, a little hatch had to be carefully placed and driven to ensure we got there along with the bumper.
Not that the other hatch wouldn’t have gotten there, but machines like the WR-V somehow trick you into thinking that you’d get there effortlessly. And for offering that peace of mind alone, the WR-V is a fine product which is thoroughly modern, has Honda’s brand image and reliability backing it, and it drives well too. If you pick this over a conventional hatch, there’s nothing you’d lose, but stand a lot to win, and if you ask us, we’d pick the one which sips diesel.
Honda WR-V Prices
S MT Petrol: INR 7.66 lakh
VX MT Petrol: INR 8.88 lakh
S MT Diesel: INR 7.66 lakh
VX MT Diesel: INR 8.88 lakh
Honda WR-V Technical Specifications
Honda WR-V Petrol
Fuel Type Petrol
Max Power 89 bhp @ 6000 RPM
Max Torque 110 Nm @ 4800 RPM
Transmission Type Manual
Mileage (ARAI) 17.50 kmpl
No of gears 5 Gears
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Honda WR-V Diesel
Fuel Type Diesel
Max Power 99 bhp @ 3600 RPM
Max Torque 200 Nm @ 1750 RPM
Mileage (ARAI) 25.50 kmpl
Transmission Type Manual
No of gears 5 Gears
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Honda WR-V Image Gallery