Driven: 2020 Honda WR-V
Compact SUV’s are becoming more common these days, brands cannot help but flock towards the idea. Among these brands is Honda, which have a great deal of experience in building high-quality SUV’s. The BR-V, HR-V, and CR-V have become quite successful in local markets, but some may find its size intimidating, never mind its demanding price tag. If you are one of these people, then Honda’s 4th inline alternative, the WR-V, might just grab your interest. The WR-V offers all the practicality and comfort you would expect from its bigger siblings but only smaller. We recently spent some time with this newbie, and we must admit it, the WR-V is among one of the best-value-for-money compact SUV’s out there.
There is no doubt that the Japanese automakers have found a niche in building top-quality SUV’s and the WR-V is no different. The WR-V’s engine as expected is well-built and very economical. The WR-V gets offered in both Comfort and Elegance guises. Both share a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre petrol engine that produces 66kW of power and 110 Nm of torque. Although it is built to be more fuel-efficient than its competitors, the WR-V does however lack that power punch needed to compete with them. Uphills with the WR-V felt quite lethargic, and this is mainly due to its lack of torque. The WR-V’s 5-speed manual transmission proved to be quite smooth despite its engine being tumultuous at times. There are cracks in the WR-V’s performance, but its excellent fuel consumption of 6.4 L/100 km is enough to make any consumer intrigued by the nifty SUV.
Outside, the WR-V gets all the styling cues you would expect from a Honda SUV. It may not be exactly easy on the eyes as one would say but true Honda enthusiasts will certainly appreciate its design. Features such as its chrome-wing grille make it easy to recognize that the WR-V’s influence stems from the Honda BR-V and Jazz. As standard, the WR-V gets LED daytime running lights and C-shaped taillights. Its ground clearance of 177mm makes an ideal offering for those navigating through the pothole-filled roads of South Africa. In terms of wheels, the WR-V gets around on 16-inch alloy wheels. The WR-V may not be the most stylish compact SUV out there, but at the end of the day, its value for money recognition is what you would be after when you consider the WR-V.
Much like its bigger siblings, the WR-V offers a spacious and comfortable cabin. Its hard plastics give us the impression that despite its low-price tag, Honda has managed to maintain a good practical interior. Features such as its 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system make the WR-V feel quite homely. Other wonderful features include a multifunction steering wheel, keyless entry (with push-button start), and a rear-view camera. Honda’s design language is evident throughout its cabin but despite all these wonderful features, its lack of style may drive consumers away.
Overall, the WR-V is a certain bargain-for-money compact SUV, offering all the features of an SUV above its asking prices. The WR-V’s starts at R289 900 making it a direct competitor to the Ford Ecosport and Hyundai Venue. Despite everything that is great about the WR-V, one cannot help but feel that it's still finding its feet. Its style feels very much borrowed rather than its own. Although the WR-V offers everything we want from a compact SUV, it lacks that certain flamboyance to truly stand out.
Honda WR-V 1.2 Comfort R289 900
Honda WR-V 1.2 Elegance R319 900
The Honda WR-V is sold with a 5-year/200 000 km warranty, 4-year/60 000 km service plan, and 3-year AA Roadside Assistance.