Compact SUVs have started dominating the market, every other leading market player is coming up with their new cards to try their luck. The latest entrant to the party is the all new Honda WRV and I with some of the other fellow T.A.I. members were given the opportunity by Mr. Nirmalya Chatterjee, to test drive the new machine from Honda at their Mani Square Mall Sales Event, Kolkata.
The new WRV is not another testosterone injected hatchback with added ground clearance, roof rails and body cladding, but it is a complete new product from Honda based on the Jazz platform, though it looks similar to jazz from many angles. For instance the WRV boasts a longer wheel base than Jazz, generating more leg room and boot space than its sibling. The suspension setup is also quite different from Jazz, as it gets a softer suspension setup to handle rough roads with an aplomb.
The WRV gets a descent build quality, which is at par with its rival Vitara Brezza, but falls behind i20 Active and Ecosport as Honda went with thin quality sheet metal. The panel gaps are consistent though. In short WRV cannot boast about its build quality among its rivals.
It carries a neat design and one can easily distinguish the car from its sibling Jazz. The front have been completely revamped and it gets angular headlamps with daytime running LEDs, raised up bonnet lines and a sculpted bumper to name a few. The thick chrome bar running through the grill may not be pleasing to everyone’s eyes. I wished they would have given projector headlamps or atleast dual barrel headlamps, to increase visibility at night as well as to give it a sharp look, the design feels a bit bland and may not suit everyone’s liking. It comes with 16 inch precision cut alloys and has a ground clearance of 188 mm.
The interior is the place where the WRV will score 10 on 10. It has got acres of space inside and will surprise many of you with its sheer leg room. It feels like a 3 BHK apartment compared to its rivals’ 2 BHK apartments. Head room is descent enough for tall passengers. It has got plenty of cubby holes here and there to keep all those knickknacks. Its competition is far behind it in terms of leg room and overall space. The boot space stands at a class leading 363 litres. Overall Honda has done the packaging of the car smartly.
The dash board gets a same layout as the Jazz or the City, which is a good thing itself. The quality of the plastics could have been better, as it feels a bit plastic at many places and lacks the premium quotient. The instrument cluster looks futuristic and will keep you busy with all the information you may need.
The infotainment system is a state of the art one, and Honda likes to call it the digipad. It has got all the bells and whistles like Android Auto, Apple Car Play, in built GPS maps, with an additional feature in which you can browse the internet through this system if you connect it with your smartphone’s hotspot. The touch could have been a little intuitive, otherwise it’s a perfect system to own.
The top model of this car comes with an Electronic Sunroof which is a drool-worthy feature and a first one in its segment. This alone takes the entire experience to an all new level.
As I said above, this car totally justifies the score 10 on 10.
RIDE AND HANDLING
The low speed ride quality of the WRV is phenomenal as the suspension is tuned for comfort. It swallows pot holes and rough surfaces with aplomb and may sometime remind you of Renault Duster. But you will feel the downside of this softer suspension setup when the speed increases, vertical movements will be felt after 100 kmph and the car won’t be as sure footed as some of its rivals at triple digit speeds.
The petrol version of the car failed to impress me, as it felt bouncy over rough patches, the car felt light and unsettled.
However the diesel version of the car thoroughly impressed me with its matured ride quality, which is a result of stiffened dampers to bear the extra weight of the diesel engine. The car felt much stable at higher speeds and tackled bad roads in a much better way than its petrol counterpart.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
The petrol WRV comes with 1199 cc petrol engine delivering 89 BHP and 110 nm of torque, mated to a 5 speed tranny. This engine performs well in the Brio, but failed to create any impression in the WRV because of its higher kerb weight. The performance is sufficient for city limits, but once you are on the open highways you will be left with need of more power. The company claimed mileage is of 17.5 kmpl, which is decent enough for a petrol car of this size. This engine is a big letdown for those who will be considering only petrol option.
Now coming to the oil burner diesel, it comes with a 1.5 litre engine delivering figures of 99 BHP and 200 nm of torque, mated to a 6 speed gear box. The bottom & mid range is quite strong and turbo lag is well contained, much better than its rival like Ecosport, Brezza and the i20. Gear changes required to amble around the city is quite less, the 6th gear gives it a lot of flexibility and the engine stays relaxed at triple digit speeds. However the top end is weak and power tapers off after 3500-4000 rpm. The company claims a fuel efficiency figure of 25.5 kmpl in this version making it one of the most fuel efficient cars of India.
If you are in the market looking for a compact SUV then the new WRV is definitely a potent contender as it is loaded to the gills with segment first features, has got a spacious cabin and sports a very good balance between ride and handling.
[Disclaimer:Pictures are for reference purpose only and are not clicked by me]