Test drive review: Honda WR-V
Of late Honda has been playing on a sticky wicket. Having compromised on the very aspects that once made Honda products premium and the badge itself aspirational, the company has been losing ground. The City of course has been an exception. Now, the new WR-V might be a turning point for the Japanese icon in India.
What is it?
Based on the Jazz, the WR-V is Honda’s answer to the likes of Hyundai’s i20 Active. It’s a crossover that’s targeted at urban customers who have an active lifestyle. But beyond the marketing spiel, the WR-V can be differentiated from the Jazz by the more aggressive styling of the front end. At the rear too the boot lid is styled differently. On the inside the dashboard is a straight lift from the newest version of the City, as is the steering wheel.
On the quality front, an area that Honda has been firefighting with critics and consumers alike in the recent past, things are noticeably better. Plastics on the dash and all the new panels feel good and can match up to the competition.
There have been alterations to the list of kit consumers get as well. So if you’re a fan of the famed magic seats there’s bad news for Honda has discontinued the feature in the WR-V altogether. But as compensation, there is now a 17.7 inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav, Mirror link, two USB slots, a micro SD card slot and a slot for HDMI. In the top-of-the-line VX variant that we drove you also get a one touch electric sunroof.
Mechanically, not everything remains the same even though that would have been the easy thing to do. While the 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel continues unchanged, it now gets cruise control. Meanwhile the 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol engine gets a new five-speed transmission, which is essentially the same unit as the one used in the BR-V but with further changes to ratios.
On the chassis front, thanks to altered suspension mounts, the wheelbase is 25mm longer. The suspension itself is new and slightly softer than on the Jazz. The wheels are larger too and get wider profile tyres.
Fun to drive?
On the go the petrol car feels peppier in first, second and third but not significantly so. Unfortunately, it flattens out towards the top of the rev range. On a slope you might have your work cut out if you want to get past. Thankfully the gear changes are slick and precise.
The diesel suffers no such issues and provides enough poke for serious progress. But the thing you notice most is the reduction in noise.
Dynamically, the WR-V feels capable and around turns feels composed. The softer suspension setup means a bit more body roll but nothing really significant enough. That said, the driving experience in the WR-V is more run of the mill than soul stirring. It’ll do the job and it’ll do it capably. Just don’t ask for flair.
The Honda WR-V has a lot going for it. It’s spacious, it looks good and is loaded to the gills. Honda has worked to address things like quality and NVH levels to deliver a product that should offer decent value. Now, over to Honda India’s pricing strategy.
Evo Rating: 3/5