Honda WR V Facelift Review & First Drive

Honda WR V Overview

What’s the difference between compact SUVs and cross hatchbacks? A lot, or little? Both are derived from hatchbacks and promise a more rugged, SUV-like experience. At the end, it is the experience that counts, which is why cross hatches with obvious hatchback genetics aren’t as popular as the more masculine compact SUVs. However, Honda is looking to rewrite the cross hatch recipe for India with the new WR-V. Although it is based on the Jazz, the WR-V has been thoroughly re-engineered to make sure that not only does it look different and rugged, but feels that way too. So, does it? View offers on Honda Cars from Honda dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop

Honda WR V Look

Due credit must be given to Honda for ensuring that the car looks significantly different from the Jazz, unlike rival manufacturers with their compact crossovers. The front is all-new with a rather burly design that is inspired by the BR-V. The Honda WR-V’s bonnet is significantly higher than in the Jazz while the nose is flatter. It also gets the thick chrome garnish on the grille like all the new Hondas. The headlights, which integrate into the chrome garnish, feature LED DRLs and remind me of the BR-V. The Honda WR-V looks quite butch if you ask me, thanks to the plastic cladding and faux bash plate at the bottom of the bumper.

From the side, however, it’s hard to miss the almost identical shape of the Jazz, right from the large windows to the strong character line running across the doors. The most noticeable differences are the plastic cladding along the wheel arches, the roof rails and the larger 195/65-section tyres with nice-looking 16-inch diamond-cut alloys.At first glance, the rear looks quite different from the Jazz with the new ‘L’ shaped tail lights, the repositioned number plate holder and the faux bash plate. However, closer inspection will reveal that some of the elements like the overall shape of the boot lid are identical to the Jazz. Overall, Honda has managed to make it look a little more sporty and a lot less minivan.

Honda WR V Comfort

The cabin is a spacious one and it’s something that I won’t complain about. There’s ample leg, knee and head room and even the back seats are extremely comfortable. If I would want to nit-pick, I would say the foam on the seats was a bit on the softer side and since it’s roomy, it could have also done with AC vents, at the rear. It feels roomier also because of the big glass area, it has. Two small quarter glasses, one on the C-Pillar and the other on the A, make for not only good visibility, but also a sense of roominess, for the driver and passengers. The feature list too is a comprehensive one and well we expected that from the WR-V, given that the facelift, of the City, received a whole bunch of them.

The features on the top-end VX variant, that we drove, include a sunroof (which is a segment first), a 7 inch touchscreen infotainment system or as Honda calls it Digipad (the same as on the City), which has everything from navigation, to Wi Fi support for Internet (which is optional), to 1.5 GB internal memory. There’s also Bluetooth, 2 USB slots, 1 HDMI in-slot and Mirror Link for smartphone connectivity. Other features include a reverse camera, with a multi-view layout – for wide, normal and top views. The diesel model gets some more features and this includes a start/stop button, smartkey entry and cruise control; these features go missing in the petrol variant. So there’s a lot packed into it and we can say that about safety features as well. ABS with EBD and Dual airbags will come as part of standard equipment, which is a big thumbs-up, for Honda.

Honda WR V Gearbox

On the engines front, the Honda WR-V is offered in both petrol and diesel and this came as no surprise really. We drove the diesel first and the 1.5 litre mill produces the same amount of power as well as torque, as in the Jazz. So there’s 99 bhp on offer and a pulling power of 200 Nm. Start the engine and it’s very apparent that it’s a diesel and it’s quite vociferous, in acknowledging that. As the revs build, the decibel inches a notch higher and we sure wish there was more insulation, to keep the engine noise out of the cabin. Honda says that it has tuned the gear ratios on this one and it has, for more efficiency. As a result, the WR-V puts out 25.5 Kmpl and that’s pretty good considering that the EcoSport diesel returns 22.27 Kmpl and the Vitara Brezza 24.3 Kmpl.

But this affects the way you drive. The gears need to be changed more frequently and the power delivery from the transmission to the wheels accounts for a slight delay and hence a lag. Though the torque figure is a respective 200 Nm, you have to be above the 2200 rpm mark, till you actually see it kick in. We noticed this, when we were climbing some steep slopes. On flat surfaces, like the national highways or the city roads, we encountered, there was no complaining, but the delay in power delivery is extremely evident and you can’t help but feel disappointed, considering that on paper it’s the most powerful diesel crossover, in the country.

The 1.2 litre petrol is also the same engine, as on the Jazz, and produces 89 bhp. It’s at its chirpiest at low speeds and works beautifully well, at the lower end of the power band. The power delivery falls flat, as you go higher up the powerband and this means that you have to downshift to boost your power and move ahead. Now, you might think, this will constitute your changinggears from time to time and that’s no worry because the clutch is light and you don’t feel the strain. The petrol WR-V gets a five-speed manual transmission, which is smooth to operate, but the gearshift is small and hence difficult to grip. We asked about the CVT, but there’s none planned yet.

Honda WR V Rideing

With a beefed-up chassis, longer-travel suspension, larger rims and bigger tyres the WR-V holds promise. It was immediately apparent that the WR-V could tackle manholes, potholes and ditches very well. It soaked up the worst of shocks with only the slightest of thuds creeping into the cabin. With the healthy ground clearance the WRV can be comfortably used for some mild rough roading.

However, while cruising on the highway the petrol WR-V tends to feel a bit restless. It tends to bob and rock a bit; we suspect the taller ride height and the softer suspension setup is responsible for this. The diesel variant feels better tied down as it has a slightly firmer suspension setup to deal with the greater overall weight. It also feels nicer to drive through a set of flowing corners as it exhibits less body roll. Despite the revised steering hardware, the WR-V didn’t feel particularly enthusiastic to steer. Nonetheless, straight line stability is good and it has good grip too. No doubt the 2555mm-long wheelbase, longer than the compact SUVs as well, helps impart that confidence. The inclusion of ABS and airbags as standard boosts that sense of confidence even higher.

Honda WR V Safety

The WR-V also gets features like a new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a segment-first sunroof. The infotainment system’s user interface is all-new too. It is an Android-based system, which is evident from the way it looks and feels, and supports Wi-Fi connectivity if you connect a Wi-Fi receiver to the USB port. So you can access websites from the system’s built-in browser using an Internet connection from your phone’s hotspot or from a dongle. In terms of safety, the WR-V will get ABS and dual front airbags as standard features, so full marks to Honda for that. However, it does lose some of those marks because the rear passengers don’t get adjustable headrests, making rear-collision safety for them quite poor.

Honda WR V Price in Hyderabad

Honda Wrv Ex-Showroom Price in Hyderabad ranges from 7,73,034/- (WRV S MT Petrol) to 9,99,900/- (WRV VX MT Diesel). Get best offers for Honda Wrv from Honda Dealers in Hyderabad. Check for WR V price in Hyderabad at Carzprice

Honda WR V Bottomline

The Honda Jazz has always been a very practical family car for India. The WR-V with its higher ground clearance and improved ride quality only makes the deal that much sweeter. Thankfully it looks significantly different from the Jazz too, at least from the outside, so we’re not bored of what we’re looking at. The diesel variant, despite being noisy, is still quite nice to drive around in the city and on highways.The car is set to launch on March 16, and we expect it to be priced around Rs 70,000 more than the Jazz. Anything more and it would be hard to justify the additional cost. So that puts the price range of the Honda WR-V between Rs 6.50-10.50 lakh, ex-showroom Mumbai, which, compared to its rivals, is a bit on the steeper side.

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