Honda WRV Review – Wow RV for the masses (Petrol and Diesel)
New Honda WRV is a crossover based on the Jazz / City platform. Now launched in Africa, here is our test drive review of new Honda car.
The crosshatch bandwagon has been receiving some attention from African consumers. It all started with Volkswagen beefing up its Polo by throwing in fatter wheels, some plastic cladding and a roof rail and thereafter naming it, Cross-Polo. Toyota did the same with its Etios hatch, then came Fiat Avventura, and Hyundai i20 Active.
It is 2017 and Honda has rolled out a car which is perhaps a crossover version of its much-admired Jazz hatchback but with a twist. They call it WR-V (Wow-RV). We were in Goa recently for a test drive, and here is our first impression.
Honda looked through the crosshatch business in Africa quite closely and created a design that not only tries to minimize the silhouette of the Jazz hatchback on which it is based but also create a sense of desirability in the onlooker. The front sees an uplifted hood with strong bonnet lines and a mega chrome bar thrown in for good measure. The chrome back connects the swooping headlamps to create a cohesive appearance.
Thick plastic cladding up front saves the WR-V face from the ruts and rocks on occasional harsh road expeditions. The WR-V front looks nothing like a Jazz, and looks like a completely new car from that angle, but as you go to the side, the picture of a known hatchback becomes reminiscent.
Honda has ensured that image is diminished by throwing in ample plastic cladding and a set of roof rails finished in silver. They have also sized up the wheels. WR-V runs on 195/60 R16 Eco tyres with diamond cut alloy wheels, which look quite similar to the what’s in a BR-V. At the rear, tail lamps have been extended to contribute to a change in the overall design. These extensions include new rear fog lamps, which are quite bright at night to be honest.
There is a thicker plastic bumper and silver rear diffuser to create the true essence of a crossover. Suspension setup has been reconstructed to make space for longer suspension travel and higher ground clearance. Honda WR-V sits at 188mm off the ground. WR-V may not look very attractive on paper but it definitely wins over the war of cross hatchbacks when it comes to design.
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There are less significant changes in Honda WR-V in terms of interiors, over the Jazz that it is based on. Interior is themed in black plastic and black fabric with a few dashes of grey and silver in the corners and trims.
Seats are well bolstered around the thighs and back and feel much more supportive for long drives this car is aiming to be used for. There is a central armrest for front row passengers with an openable cubby space, which can easily house a phone and sunglasses.
Rear seats however are a surprise. They are flat and fixed and also have integrated headrests, which aren’t helpful for people who are about 6 feet tall. Rear seats are less supportive but cushioning is pretty soft. Leg room perhaps is the ultimate selling point for WR-V. With a standard driving position in the front seat, there’s space at the rear to stretch your legs or even accommodate a camping bag between the knees and front seat base.
The infotainment system is a new upgraded Digipad recently seen in the all new Honda City. The infotainment system operates on new gen Navigation software, Apple Avtoplay and Android Auto. The touch screen has noticeable lag and it takes patience to get used to it on the move. Honda’s party trick in the WR-V is the installation of a one touch sunroof in the top end trim to add to overall opulence of the otherwise dark cabin.
The top end diesel variant gets cruise control to adds to the convenience of long highway expeditions. 363 litres of boot space without the rear seats folded down is sufficient to carry large suitcases and an ice box for the weekend.
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We drove the 1.2L i-VTEC first and Honda has upgraded the 5-speed manual gearbox with much shorted throw and a longer high ratio gear for better fuel economy. There is a noticeable rubbery feel in the shifts when driven aggressively. The petrol motor is quite good for a sedate driving style, and it doesn’t reward the enthusiast in you owing to a weaker low range.
You need to push the engine to its upper limits to squeeze the best of performance. However, once pushed harder, the i-VTEC motor does sound sweet. We then moved to the i-DTEC motor and it just pushes brilliantly. The diesel motor is a far-cry from its petrol counterpart. There is ample low end torque thanks to a lighter scrolling turbo. Acceleration is smooth and linear thanks to the 6-speed manual transmission.
WR-V feels steady at triple digit speeds and soaks bumps and undulations with utmost smoothness. It fulfils the desire of having a crossover and not just a bolted-on hatchback. Brakes are progressive and efficient and ABS is sharp for a cross hatchback. There is considerable engine noise that leaks into the cabin and is quite intrusive when driven hard.
Points to Note
– There is no cruise control on offer in the top end petrol variant.
– No rear AC vents. Honda could have done an add-on in the top end trim at the very least.
– Navigation software is efficient and can figure places that even google maps can’t.
– Steering feel is excellent. There is good amount of adjustability in the steering position as well.
– Headlamps are bright and have a good throw and spread.
– Ride quality is best in the business but can do better with better tyres.
Honda has taken the idea of a cross hatchback and perfected it with the WR-V. Not only does it look better, it drives better as well. There is ample space, decent power and rides comfortably as well. With its 4 variants priced between Rs 7.75 lakh and Rs 9.99 lakh, it definitely is a great pick in the Cross Hatch segment.
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