Compact vehicles seem to be the new fondness for both consumers as well as manufacturers in India. Which is why for the last couple of years, we have seen an increase in such type of vehicles that are gathering popularity for themselves with the badge of a Crossover. Taking a similar route, Honda Car India is all set to introduce WR-V which is being pitched up as a ‘Sporty Lifestyle Vehicle’. So will Honda WR-V be able to topple competition or would it just be another CrossOver to join the current brigade is what we are just going to find out?
Honda WR-V – Exterior Design
Call it a botched up look or something different, well the Honda WR-V does stand out from up-front. Not for the right reasons but then again the manner in which it looks down upon you as if it were angry. Considering that it is actually based on the Jazz hatchback, Honda has worked on it quite a bit. The reason for this is that the nose looks beefy and muscular as it is characterized by a chunky chrome grille which blends in seamlessly with a pair of slim pulled back headlamps.
Come down and the bumper seems to have a lot going on. Firstly the edgy lines instantly catch your attention as do a pair of circular fog lamps with black plastic surrounds. While at the lower end there is a silver skid plate and plastic cladding to lend it at much important cross over look.
Unlike the front fascia, the side profile of Honda WR-V stays more or less identical to the Jazz. The portions which seem to have been enhanced is the lower quarter of the vehicle which has black plastic cladding, also seen on its wheel arches providing it a rugged look. The presence of silver roof rails on either side lend it a distinctive character.
Now to the rear, in the first glance the design will seem very European, courtesy the L shaped tail lights. A larger windscreen available on tailgate further helps the cause as does a roof mounted spoiler with an integrated brake light. In coordination with the rest of the body, the WR-V gets black plastic cladding at the rear too with a provision of a skid plate completing the whole look of the car.
Honda WR-V – Interiors
Hop into the cabin and the story for the new Honda WR-V is not different than what one experiences on the outside. It is a familiar interior that we have already seen on the current selling Honda Jazz however what Honda Car India claim is the WR-V comes with couple of enhancements. Top most on the list is the presence of a sunroof which according to the Japanese manufacturer is a first for the segment. Like the recently launched Honda City, the WR-V also has a Start Stop button to offer for the sheer convenience factor.
Besides these, the Honda WR-V’s interior is offered in two colour themes called Urban Casual which is a combination of black and bluish grey seat fabric while Urban Sophisticated refers to a blend of Black and silver upholstery. Talking about the layout, the WR-V is similar to the Jazz where in the dash quality feels a bit more premium that before. In fact the fit and finish further complements the overall feel to this vehicle.
Its center console features an improvised 17.7cm touchscreen infotainment system called Digipad. It offers satellite-linked navigation, audio streaming, Bluetooth telephony, voice recognition, 1.5 GB internal memory, 2 USB ports, 2 microSD car slots and 1 HDMI slot. This system also caters to Wi-Fi support for internet which is an optional fitting along with Mirror Link support for smart phone connectivity.
Coming to the question of space and comfort? Well Honda has definitely worked on both these departments as the WR-V is 44mm longer than the Jazz. What this means is that the company has utilized its Man Maximum Machine Minimum philosophy to the fullest. In fact with this alteration the front row which anyways had good amount of head, shoulder and leg room is now joined by the back row that offers equivalently good amount of space.
We found the cushioning of both rows to be very generous, good for short and long distance travel. With an increased wheel base of 25mm, the Honda WR-V offers 9 litres more of boot space in comparison the Honda Jazz. List of standard safety equipment in WR-V includes Dual front SRS airbags, ABS while a rear view reverse camera is optional.
Honda BRV – Engine and performance
All-New Honda WR-V comes in both petrol and diesel derivatives. These power plants are tried and tested off which the petrol is a 1.2 litre unit while the diesel has a 1.5 litre engine on offer. A bit more in detail, the petrol WR-V is fitted with a 1.2 litre i-VTEC engine that produces 89bhp of power with 110 Nm of torque and is matted to 5-speed manual transmission. Meanwhile the diesel that happens to be a 1.5 litre DOHC i-DTEC engine gives out a maximum power output of 99bhp and 200 Nm torque while being propelled by a 6-speed manual transmission. Out of the two, we spend most of our time in the city of Goa with the diesel derivative which is why we would be talking about this one first followed by the petrol.
The 1.5 litre diesel as we all know has a history of high NVH levels, which we were expecting on the WR-V to be on the lower side however it isn’t still up to the mark. That aside this unit feels at ease in city as well as highway driving conditions. In fact around the 1500 RPM there is glitch wherein the engine tends to rev on a high note for a couple of seconds beyond which things become fairly calm. The 6-speed transmission on-board supports this variant very well in terms of good shifts in fact personally I very much liked the gear lever provided in the WR-V.
Unlike the conventional sticks this one is a bit smaller but a bit tall giving the feel for a sports car. As for the petrol, the engine is much quieter than the diesel so transition did take a bit of time getting used. However this particular engine does well on its part to provide a enjoyable drive as it offers linear acceleration with great refinement. Its 5-speed gearbox just adds to the overall experience by handing out great shifts.
For a comfortable ride, Honda has fitted the WR-V with an improved suspension. It has worked on certain elements such as increasing the wheel base and tread for greater stability, the diameter of the stabilizer had been increased for better roll stability, bigger tyre size and high ground clearance means that the WR-V glides over potholes and broken roads with utter ease. As for handling this vehicle does well to keep things under control.
Honda WRV – Verdict
The Honda WR-V in relative terms does feel like a Crossover rather than an SUV to which many might refer. It has a front end that would attract many by the design as it has a lot going for it. There are sharp edges and then the topping of chrome that is sure to tickle quite a few number of customers whom might also take a liking to the European touch especially provide by Honda to its rear end. The plastic cladding and presence of skid plates both up-front and at rear add to its Cross over appearance however lack of innovation especially on the insides when it comes to the layout is a bit of a letdown. But then the smart use of space by extending the wheel base and length of the WR-V means that the consumer gets a bit extra in comparison to Jazz and the others in its class. All-in-all we would have to wait till the 16th of March 2017 to figure out whether the Honda WRV is going to be a great value for more or not. Until then stay tuned to the OnCars News Section for all the latest updates on the Upcoming Honda WR-V.