Honda WR-V is a great car that’s begging for a bigger engine

By Jason Woosey 12m in the past

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JOHANNESBURG – As an increasing number of patrons flock to SUVs, Honda has launched one other compact crossover providing in South Africa. It’s referred to as the WR-V and in the event you dig beneath the floor it’s extra acquainted than you may assume.

What is it?

The Honda Jazz, now in its fourth era internationally, was deemed a masterstroke in inside packaging and practicality when the primary variations appeared within the early 2000s, and the following generations have constructed upon that successful recipe.

But given the aforementioned SUV migration, many patrons merely don’t wish to be seen in an MPV-like capsule nowadays, regardless of how roomy and versatile it is. And that’s why the WR-V is dressed for success. Although it’s labeled as a separate mannequin, with seemingly no intention of truly changing the Jazz, the WR-V is in truth very carefully associated to the third-generation of Honda’s compact hatch.

Look past all that black cladding and also you’ll see the essential Jazz physique shell stays intact, however not like another ‘cross’ hatches, the WR-V has a fully distinctive frontal design and the again finish has been modified sufficient to make it appear to be a completely different car. Throw in a set of modern two-tone 16-inch alloy wheels and a increased floor clearance (173mm versus 135mm) and also you all of a sudden have a car that appears the half in your native grocery store car parking zone.

What’s it wish to drive?

To check how it might deal with a long-distance journey we took our WR-V check unit on a return journey from Johannesburg to the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, and virtually as quickly as we hit the freeway we wished it had extra energy.

The solely engine supplied within the WR-V is Honda’s acquainted usually aspirated 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol motor, which produces 66kW at 6000rpm and 110Nm from 4800 revs. That may work nice in a small entry-level car corresponding to Honda’s Amaze, which weighs round 920kg, however it simply doesn’t reduce the mustard when tasked with pulling the 1100kg WR-V with its large, sensible physique.

This is an engine that must be labored laborious, however generally that isn’t even sufficient to keep up a regular tempo. The WR-V might be significantly irritating on the freeway as more often than not it merely doesn’t have the type of tempo wanted to maintain up with site visitors within the quick lane, significantly when there’s any type of incline concerned. Even on multi-lane highways you have to to plan your strikes fastidiously to keep away from getting caught behind slower vehicles or slowing down the right-lane site visitors.

I discovered the efficiency to be a bit extra tolerable on the coast, nonetheless Gauteng altitudes actually go away this car wanting. Because the engine wanted to be labored laborious at instances, my gasoline economic system did undergo a bit, however it nonetheless returned a respectable 6.8 litres per 100km on the freeway.

What this car is actually begging for is Honda’s 1.5-litre usually aspirated unit, which is out there within the Jazz and BR-V. However, being in-built India – the place the site visitors makes it tough to exceed 80km/h – a bigger engine was simply not deemed essential for the WR-V. It’s a pity that Honda’s Indian division couldn’t comply with the instance set by Maruti Suzuki, which in some cases does match bigger engines for export markets corresponding to South Africa.

Apart from the efficiency, the WR-V is actually agreeable to drive. The driving controls and equipment lever really feel slick and effectively weighted, as does the steering, and the experience high quality is as comfortable as you could possibly count on at this degree.

But how sensible is it?

This is the place the WR-V actually shines, and being so carefully primarily based on the Jazz, that ought to be a foregone conclusion.

There is loads of headroom and legroom for occupants at the back and front, in addition to a very helpful 363-litre boot capability.

It’s not solely spacious – however versatile too, largely because of Honda’s ‘Magic Seat’ system that enables the again seat bottoms to individually fold upwards to create a vertical storage compartment behind the entrance occupants. The again seats additionally fold flat within the standard method to develop the boot into a massive horizontal space.

Is it secure?

As far as security options go, the WR-V affords a formidable airbag depend, with entrance, aspect and curtain baggage being included. Isofix rear seat fixtures are additionally a part of the deal right here. However on the energetic security entrance a notable omission is stability management.

As for its structural integrity, the Indian-built WR-V has not, to our data, been examined by an unbiased crash testing authority as but. However the truth that it’s so carefully primarily based on the Jazz does put our minds comfy because the latter scored 5 stars in each the Asean NCAP and Latin NCAP checks.

Features for the money

The WR-V is offered in two variants: Comfort (R289 900) and Elegance (R319 900).

We examined the bottom mannequin, and though its audio system didn’t have a touchscreen, its mixture of standard buttons and a color LCD display proved completely satisfactory and purposeful. However, in order for you Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, you’ll should decide for the Elegance mannequin, which ships with a 17.8cm touchscreen infotainment system.

Other than the infotainment deficit, the Comfort mannequin is impressively appointed for its value, with customary options corresponding to automated local weather management, multi-function steering wheel, peak adjustable driver’s seat, electrical home windows and mirrors in addition to entrance and rear parking sensors.

Apart from the aforementioned touchscreen system, the 1.2 Elegance spinoff provides cruise management, push-button begin, reverse digicam and a leather-covered steering wheel.


The WR-V is a car that we actually wish to like. Honda has taken its ultra-practical Jazz recipe and spiced it up with some SUV-inspired zing to provide it extra presence within the car parking zone. It’s a method that basically deserves to succeed, however it’s let down by a lack of energy that leads to long-distance journeys being removed from easy.

However, in the event you’re on the coast and most of your driving is inside the city jungle then the Honda WR-V might make a lot of sense. It’s priced effectively too, at R289 900, though we’d fortunately pay extra for a bigger engine.

IOL Motoring

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