Honda Car India, foraying into the world of hatchback crossovers and sub-compact SUVs combined, recently launched the WR-V (Winsome Runabout Vehicle) in the Indian car market. Debuted at a starting price of INR 7.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the WR-V promises to offer the best of both worlds; which is the practicality and convenience of a compact hatchback alongside the daunting road presence of an SUV, thanks to its crossover-ish profile. The nearest rival which tends to threaten the sales figures for the WR-V, in the hatchback crossover segment, is the Hyundai i20 Active, the ‘mixed breed’ avatar of the Elite i20 premium hatch. In order to see if the Honda WR-V packs in what it takes to challenge the likes of a well established product like that of the i20 Active, we pitch these two against each other to see which one is the best pick of the lot!
Honda WR-V vs Hyundai i20 Active: Price
First things first, lets talk about the prices. The Honda WR-V is available in total of four variants, two each for petrol and diesel derivatives. The base petrol version of the WR-V retails at INR 7.76 lakh with the top of the line model costing INR 9.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) to own.
Coming to the Hyundai i20 Active, this crossover is being made available to choose from a total of 6 variants, three each for petrol and diesel. The base petrol version of the i20 Active retails at 6.77 lakh with the top of the line diesel version priced at INR 9.77 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Honda WR-V Vs Hyundai i20 Active: Exterior Design
Now the segment that we are currently talking about here, which is the one of the ‘hatchback crossovers’, is all about the exterior design of the vehicle. And for once it must be said, that the Honda WR-V, in true sense, makes sense to classify amongst the lot. The reason why it has a upper hand over other products in this segment is because of its unique characteristics, not in comparison to its rivals, but in comparison to its donor car. Now you see, the WR-V is derived out of the Honda Jazz, just like the i20 Active is derived out of the Hyundai Elite i20.
But the case with the WR-V is that Honda has provided the same with a completely different front and rear facia, making it an all new product, rather than a mere extension of the Jazz. The WR-V comes with a botched up face, the highlight of which off-course is the thick chrome grille with the Honda insignia on top.
The front bumper has been given a touch of augmentation resulting in an overall aggressive character. The side profile of the WR-V is where you see its belongings with the Jazz as it is here you get to see the thick shoulder crease indigenous to Honda cars. Towards the back, the WR-V gets L-Shaped tail-lamps, a wide window pane and a small roof-mounted spoiler which sums up its over all look.
In comparison, the Hyundai i20 Active feels a bit tamed and a bit more serious in its appearance. It still gets the razor sharp profile of the Elite i20; but with thick black plastic cladding, faux skid plates, roof rails, restyled bumpers and new alloy wheels thrown into the mix. What these additions do is present a slightly rugged side to this premium hatchback which otherwise has a sporty air to it. In comparison to the WR-V, the i20 Active gets a subtle demeanour but with a hint of mischief about it
Honda WR-V vs Hyundai i20 Active: Interiors
All the individualist nature of the Honda WR-V comes to an end once you step inside the cabin. The dashboard layout is a direct lift from the one that you see on the Honda Jazz. That said, there is nothing to complain about, as this design is quite pleasing to the eye with its sharp contours and a dual-tone layout of black and silver. As with the aesthetic appeal, the material quality too remains identical which is a good thing off-course. Apart from the usual bits which are multi-spoke steering wheel, large circular dials on the instrument cluster and waterfall design center console, new additions include Honda’s Digipad infotainment system and a segment first feature, sun-roof.
Talking about the Hyundai i20 Active, this one’s cabin differs from that of the Elite i20 in regards to the fact that this one comes with orange colour highlights around the center console, air vents, gear knobs and on the seat upholstery. The rest of the specifics, be it the feature list or the car’s ergonomics, they remain identical to the donor hatch. Over the WR-V, in terms of creature comforts, the i20 Active gets automatic projector headlamps, cornering lights, rear air-con vents, auto dimming IRVM and a remote boot opener.
Honda WR-V Vs Hyundai i20 Active: Engine and performance
For this particular comparison we had brought down the diesel manual derivatives of both the Honda WR-V and the Hyundai i20 Active. Taking the case of the WR-V first, it derives it power from the same 1.5-litre i-VTEC unit which does its duty on the Honda Jazz. The oil-burner pumps out 99Bhp along with 200Nm of peak torque; paired to which is a 6-speed manual transmission. An initial hesitation is observed from the engine in the first two gears with things only getting better with the gear stick positioned well in the third slot.
The sweet spot of this oil-burner lies somewhere in the mid-rev range, around the 2,000 rpm mark, reaching which can sometime be a bit cumbersome. There is audible engine noise inside the cabin which is ever so intrusive and omnipresent, only getting quite once cruising at higher speeds. That said, the ride quality is quite good, bumps are absorbed with ease and the car maintains its stance quite well even when cruising at higher speeds.
Coming to the i20 Active, for starters this one is powered by a 1.4-litre U2 CRDi unit which churns out 89Bhp along with 220Nm of peak torque. The transmission responsibilities are taken care of by a 6-speed manual unit which is a joy to operate albeit the rather heavy clutch. The engine is quite smooth to operate with it showing a bit of reluctance only at lower rpms. That said, it does not punish you even if you are in a wrong gear at the right time. Taking about ride quality and comfort, then it must be said that the Hyundai has worked its way up to glory. Unless it’s a big one, bumps are seldom felt inside the cabin; the ride quality surpasses even some of the currently on sale c-segment sedans.
Honda WR-V Vs Hyundai i20 Active: Verdict
So which one should you buy? Well, let us put it this way, if looks are all that maters to you, in the sense that you are looking for an in-budget, stylish, practical, fuel efficient city run-about vehicle which has an SUV-ish road presence, then you should go for the Honda WR-V. However, if you want to be unique from the growing SUV culture in the country and are looking for a tourer that comes with all the creature comforts packed in alongside offering a premium feel, then our suggestion would be that you opt for the Hyundai i20 Active!