The market share of the compact SUV segment has drastically increased and is growing exponentially. Hence, every manufacturer wants to have a vehicle in this space. Honda filled this space by offering the WR-V, based on the Jazz hatchback. Sure, the WR-V isn't really an SUV but a jacked/beefed up crossover to give an SUV-like experience. Since its launch in 2017, it has turned out to be a strong player for the carmaker, and now its BS6 version continues to defend this game in 2020. Here are the top five things you will appreciate about the car and the two that you won't.
1. Crossover looks
The WR-V's sporty design continues with striking lines and a muscular cladding. This new iteration now gets a bold grille with a shiny chrome slat surrounded by new projector headlamps integrated with DRLs. The new bumper sports LED fog lamps, and round at the back, are striking new C-shaped LED tail lamps. The overall styling with new equipment makes it fit the urban background. And also the rural landscape with its good build and quality.
2. Better ground clearance
Honda has raised the ground clearance of the WR-V to 188mm which is much higher than the Jazz's 165mm. Not once did the WR-V scrape or give a feeling that it will over the biggest of speed bumps we encountered. And, as compared to the 15-inch wheels on the Jazz, these 16-inch alloys prove to be an added advantage for high riding over rough roads.
3. Spacious interior
The WR-V is quite tall and wide like many compact SUVs, which means there's quite a lot of cabin space. Even the second row has room and can accommodate three average size individuals with adequate shoulder-, knee-, leg- and headroom. Then, the sunroof continues to be this car's USP and elevates the sense of space inside.
Along with good space, it's quite practical too, with an ergonomic cabin with many storage places and usable features to impress a buyer. It offers a good driving position with a high and comfortable seating, and good all-round visibility too. Its light controls make it easy to manage in the city, particularly in stop-and-go traffic with quick and smooth transmission shifts, a light clutch, and a nimble steering. It offers a good ride and handling package too with a comfortable ride that doesn't allow the bumps to be felt inside. Even when shifting from a tar surface to concrete or broken roads, the suspension doesn't relay any uncomfortable feel into the cabin.
5. Frugal diesel engine
In the area of fuel economy too, it's impressive with an ARAI-tested claim of 23.7kmpl. The 98bhp 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engine with its low-friction aluminium construction comes mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. The 200Nm of torque is available in the low rev-range, and a good mid-range provides it great drivability too. When on the highway, one can put it in sixth gear and cruise comfortably at lower rpms and save more fuel.
1. Lacks road presence
Even if the Honda WR-V fits the urban and rural landscape, it doesn't really stand out on the streets. This crossover does not have that aura of a mighty road-going vehicle with astounding road presence due to its compact footprint. And it still looks more of a hatchback than SUV from some angles, especially the rear.
2. Misses some equipment
The top-spec variants are equipped with a fair share of features but still miss out on some convenience features. There are no adjustable headrests, separate air-con vents, a centre arm-rest and a charging port for the second-row passengers. Forget about the versatile magic seats that were seen in the previous-gen Jazz, this one here doesn't even get a 60:40 split option. And, we would have loved it if it had wireless charging as well.
The WR-V is based on the same platform as the Jazz and same engine options. So, it not only carries forward all the advantages of the Jazz, but puts forth a better package with enhanced ground clearance, looks and many more characteristics. No wonder, owners never had many complaints and the latest iteration of this compact crossover should be appreciated for all the enhancements.
Pictures by Kapil Angane