Compact crossovers are the current hot favourite in the Indian market and not without reason. These cars come with the practicality and ease of a hatchback, the interior space of a sedan and the on-road presence of a small SUV. These are things that most buyers like and are ready to pay extra for. The WR-V is based on the Jazz platform but is around 44mm longer, 40mm wider and has a longer wheelbase by 25mm as well. Honda hopes this extra girth will make the WR-V a popular choice with buyers.
The Honda family resemblance is prominent with the new chromed out grille and big ‘H’ logo in the middle. The front end with its angular head lamps looks different from the Jazz. The side profile is remarkably similar though the WR-V is slightly taller in proportion. The back end with its more shapely lamps and reworked bumper give the WR-V plenty of character and does make it look like a compact crossover. Overall, the WR-V might not have the same SUV look like the Ford EcoSport, it manages to look different from the Jazz and does have the right balance about its design.
Honda has offered the same dashboard as the Jazz. However, quality has gone up significantly and is ahead of both the EcoSport as well as Vitara Brezza. The black theme is also different from the beige of the Jazz, on which it is based. The highlight is the addition of the new DigiPad, which is Honda’s own 7-inch touchscreen for infotainment. This system is intuitive to operate and has good legibility as well so navigating around it on the move isn’t a chore.
The seats offer excellent support with good cushioning all around. The car also comes with 2 airbags, ABS with EBD as standard across all versions. The top version also gets a sunroof, something rivals don’t offer even as an option.
The rear seats are massive for sheer legroom and can accommodate the tallest of tall passengers. Six footers shouldn’t have a problem at all in the back. The boot at 363-litres is massive in terms of luggage capability as well.
Engine, performance and gearbox
You get the familiar 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre engines that also do duty on the Jazz. The petrol makes 89bhp while the diesel makes 99bhp of power.
The petrol needs some revs to build momentum and it’s a rev happy engine, which means you can rev it to its redline of 6,500rpm without a fuss. The five speed manual gearbox is decent to operate as well but doesn’t have the same sporty feel of other Honda cars. Honda has worked on a new gearbox for the petrol version, which delivers a claimed figure of 17.5kpl.
Honda has worked hard to improving the noise levels of the diesel engine by adding a lot of sound deadening material across the chassis and the results are for everyone to see. Though still not the quietest cabin around, the noise now seems like a distant hum rather than the constant chatter it was in the Jazz.
The diesel though suffers from massive turbo lag and gets going only once past 2,000rpm. The diesel engine comes with a six-speed manual and delivers 25.5kpl.
Ride and handling
The steering on the WR-V is ultra-light, which means that parking into tight spaces will be a cinch. It is accurate though and has decent feel. As speeds rise the steering seems to add decent weight. The suspension is on the firmer side though, which means that you will have to slow around some rumble strips or else they will be felt inside the cabin. The good side of a firm suspension is the fact that the high speed ride inspires confidence.
If you are in the market for a hatchback but want something different from the usual then simply go with the WR-V. It comes with loads of attitude on the outside, a large cabin on the inside and plenty of features to keep you and your loved ones safe and entertained as well.