Just like in the Jazz, the WR-V gets the petrol 1.2-litre i-VTEC engine which makes 90bhp at 6,000rpm and 110Nm of torque at 4,800rpm. It also gets the diesel 1.5-litre i-DTEC motor which produces 100bhp at 3,600rpm and 200Nm at 1,750rpm. While the petrol motor uses an all-new five-speed manual gearbox (no CVT), the diesel continues to use the earlier six-speed manual transmission. However, both gearboxes now have shorter ratios to maximize the performance from the motors as the WR-V weighs around 50kg more than the Jazz. And this also shows in the ARAI fuel efficiency figures for the WR-V. It is claimed to be 25.5kpl for the diesel WR-V, vis-a-vis 27.3kpl for the Jazz.
Although Honda has improved the NVH over the Jazz, the diesel motor in the WR-V makes a considerable amount of clatter at idle which gives it a crude feel and there’s no running away from it even while in motion. This motor responds in a torquey fashion and lugs you ahead in a linear way from around 1,700rpm to about 3300rpm. Post which, it gets markedly slower before nudging the 4300rpm limit, at which point the engine seems to gets buzzy. Also, as the meaty portion of the powerband is experienced between a narrow 1,700rpm and 3300rpm, one has to constantly work the gearbox to get the desired performance. The six-speed manual transmission may feel slightly rubbery, but it has a short throw with well-defined gates and a slim gear knob. Thanks to the extra gear, the WR-V can cruise at higher speeds without the motor sounding or feeling stressed, to an extent.
Honda has altered the Jazz’s suspension set-up before applying it in the WR-V. They’ve increased the wheelbase and track for better stability, added 25mm to the springs for higher ground clearance, used thicker anti-roll bars, replaced the Jazz’s 175/65 R15 tyres with 195/60 R16 tyres, and increased the rigidity of the lower arm and knuckles for better handling. Thanks to these updates the WR-V feels more sure-footed for treading over broken or uneven surfaces, and there’s hardly any suspension noise filtering into the cabin. At any speed, the longer travel offered by the extra length of the springs does help in good shock absorption. However the ride does get bouncy over sharper undulating surfaces and bumps.
Also, we found the power steering to be light and fairly quick off the centre. Though it is accurate enough for regular driving situations, don’t expect fireworks around corners. Since the WR-V wasn't built for a sporty intent, it does a fair job of going through bends with minimal roll. The thicker anti-roll bars have done a decent job in cutting any extra roll that the taller springs would have otherwise invited. However, it does roll more than the Jazz, and there is some side-to-side rocking motion due to the higher centre of gravity and softer springs. Plus we noted that the brakes have a sharp bite with good feedback while braking hard.