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Honda WR-V launch

Honda South Africa has launched a new entry-level SUV called the WR-V. It is manufactured in India and imported here for consumers. WR-V sits right at

By Thami Masemola on 18 Jan 2021
Honda South Africa has launched a new entry-level SUV called the WR-V. It is manufactured in India and imported here for consumers. WR-V sits right at the bottom of the SUV range at the moment, below the BR-V, HR-V and CR-V respectively. Two trim levels are available for sale; Comfort and Elegance. I drove the vehicle in the Western Cape.

The WR-V is pretty small in size, measuring 3.9 metres long, 1.7m wide, 1.6m tall and with a wheelbase of 2.7m. Very compact then. With these dimensions Honda is targeting the first-time SUV buyer with a tight budget, or people with other cars, but looking for a small run around. Wheels are 16-inch in diameter, and tyres measure 195/60 R16. There is a full-sized spare wheel at the rear, which is quite a rarity in these days of space savers.

Honda went for the elevated Jazz look when designing the WR-V, which is a good thing, because the Jazz has always looked good. The front grille is topped by a chrome bar and flanked by headlights (LED in the Elegance) and daytime running lights. Fog lights sit at the bottom. The side profile shows a black protective bumper, a strong muscular shoulder line, large front window with clear visibility, chrome handles on the Elegance and colour-coded ones on the Comfort, as well as those 16-inch wheels. Honda fitted both trims with roof rails and a rear window wiper.

Stepping into the cabin one finds a number of current features, including the touch screen infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, USB connections, remote keyless entry, and automatic window adjusters. The Elegance adds a bigger 17.8cm screen, Android Auto/ Apple Carplay compatibility, and a reversing camera among others. Both versions are fitted standard with cloth seat upholstery. Honda’s “Magic Seats” system is part of the package, and makes life a little easier for carrying larger items.

The engine fitted into the WR-V is a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre i-VTEC 16V type. It delivers 66kW at 6 000rpm and 110Nm of torque at 4 800rpm. The standard transmission across both trims is a 5-speed manual which sends power and torque to the front wheels. No acceleration or top speed figures have been supplied, only to say that the WR-V returns on average, 6.4 litres per 100km in fuel consumption.

Driving the car in the Western Cape it felt solid, and well put-together, as many other Honda's do. It was comfortable on the road, with very little road noise intruding into the cabin. The gearbox is smooth and offers fun changes, even as one would wish for more power. In Gauteng and similar high altitude areas, it will not breathe as freely and will surely lose some performance, especially when overtaking.

With the WR-V, Honda is entering a rapidly growing market with a number of entrants already entrenched in their positions. It will be a challenge to displace them, especially ones with the big brand names behind them. Nevertheless Honda has never shied away from a challenge, and this is one they can do well in.
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