Another road test, another vehicle in the BS6 era. But this is a crucial product. You see, Honda never really had a compact SUV of their own for the Indian market and it has filled in the gap with this – the WR-V. So, there’s a lot riding on the WR-V’s shoulder and we drive its diesel guise to assess its relevance amongst other compact SUVs.
First up, let’s address the changes done on the exterior. Honda has made a few visual changes that do help make the model look fresh. There’s the more pronounced front end with a bolder grille and a sharper bumper, new LED projector headlights along with LED taillights that have a blacked out casing. New 16-inch alloy wheels too – the petrol version gets four-hole Berlina Black wheels while the diesel model gets five-hole Shark Grey units.
Lesser has changed on the inside than it has on the outside. You’re welcomed to the all-black dashboard as before with a few brushed silver trims and the only evident addition here is the sportier upholstery. Space in the back seat remains the WR-V’s highlight, though we would have liked a bit more creature comforts for the rear occupants like a centre arm rest, rear AC vents, adjustable rear headrests or any form of charging.
The 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engine retains the power figures of the outgoing version and remains a very familiar and likable mill. The power delivery is linear and there’s good amounts of torque accessible from the word go. It pulls neatly till around the 4,000rpm mark and that’s where the power begins to taper off. Yet, the engine feels refined for the most bits and the real world fuel efficiency is exceptionally good.
What’s also familiar is that composed ride and handling dynamics of the WR-V. This is where the lower centre of gravity owing to it’s crossover construction shines. It’s manners around bends are tidy and the body control is good too. Typical Honda characteristics, no? The suspension remains pliant on broken roads and the WR-V dosen’t mind bad tarmac either.
Yet everything in here feels so famililiar and dated. Perhaps there wasn’t too much that could have been done to an already good package, but an updated equipment list wouldn’t have gone amiss. Yes, the WR-V is slightly less expensive than the competition but then those SUVs feel a lot more in terms of their offering. What could be a deal breaker for many is the absence of an automatic transmission and that would certainly overshadow the WR-Vs strengths. That said, it still remains a compelling proposition for the frugal diesel engine, rear seat space, practicality and that trust envoloped with the Honda badge upfront.
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbochrged DOHC
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Fuel tank: 40 litres
Boot space: 363 litres
Prices: Rs 9.93 lakh onwards (ex-showroom, India)