Sam says more power?


Honda has introduced their newest entry to the compact SUV segment in the form of their WR-V. According to Honda, the vehicle draws inspiration from the Jazz and BR-V. The Jazz’s influence can be felt strongly particularly in the interior but the WR-V would have been served better if more inspiration was drawn from the engine of the BR-V and consequently the power output.

The WR-V has plenty to offer the urban driver who wants an SUV-feel without necessarily having the full size or cost of an SUV. Power output was very disappointing. While it performed acceptably with only the driver, still requiring a fair deal of work to maintain speed and overtake, as soon as you add even one more person it struggles. You need to work hard to overtake, gain speed and driving on inclines. Add another two and it becomes plain frustrating.


The Honda WR-V comes with a 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine which employs Honda’s i-VTEC intelligent valve timing management system. Maximum power output is rated at 66kW, reached at 6 000 r/min, combined with a peak torque output of 110 Nm at 4 800 r/min.


Matching this to a larger body was not the best decision as the heavier body automatically creates a need for more power. If you drive alone most often or use the compact SUV mostly for urban trips it will likely be a limited concern for you but if you often drive on the highway or want the larger car for a larger family, you may want to think twice about the WR-V.


Two Honda WR-V models are available: the Comfort and the Elegance. Both feature five-speed manual gearboxes. According to Honda, the WR-V has a combined fuel consumption figure of 6.4L/100km. During our time driving a mixture of urban and open highway, we managed to reach 7.3L/100km. I do think it is possible to better this figure on longer trips, making it quite a fuel-efficient car.

The exterior

The WR-V has more of a SUV look to it than the station wagon look than what the BR-V previously had. This is an automatic plus for the WR-V because the station wagon look was never a favourite in South Africa. Ultimately, it builds on the look of the Jazz with some changes and additions to the front and rear and with a higher ground clearance to create that SUV feel.


The front-end features an expressive, bold headlight design complemented by distinctive LED daytime running lights framing Honda’s signature wing face. A pronounced swage line, crisp contours and emphasised wheel arches add to the presence of the WR-V.


The rear-end is dominated by the large C-shape LED tail light clusters. Its tailgate opens all the way down to bumper level for effortless loading. The trim is finished in contrasting charcoal and alloy to underscore the WR-V’s character. The raised stance and wide tracks of the WR-V further reflect a rugged attitude typical of a SUV.


The interior

The Honda WR-V has a comfortable interior that is very reminiscent of the Jazz. It has the Magic Seat system that I first discovered in the Jazz and which I find to be incredibly clever and useful.


The tested vehicle was the Comfort option so while it had the essentials including multi-function steering wheel, Bluetooth, auto air-conditioning and touch-panel controls it does not come with Apple Carplay or Android Auto. This is only available in the higher Elegance model. The Elegance model also includes perks such as cruise control, smart keyless entry, and push button start. Nice-to-haves but not essentials.


While the interior is large enough for a small family with fair leg room and comfort, I did find the size of the WR-V to be an optical illusion. Based on the exterior, I did expect the interior to be a bit larger than what it was. To me, you do not just want a vehicle that looks like an SUV from the exterior but actually resembles it from inside as well.



Both the Comfort and Elegance models come with an impressive amount of six airbags. Additional features include front seatbelt pretensioners, ISOFIX child seat anchors, ABS with Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD).


The WR-V is designed with Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure which allows for the even distribution and redirection of collision energy away from the passenger compartment. It also minimises damage to other impacted vehicles.


Ultimately, the power is disappointing in the Honda WR-V. If you do not, however, foresee this being an issue for the purposes that you will use the compact SUV, there is little else on which the WR-V can be faulted.


Good to know

The specs

Engine: 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Fuel consumption: 6.4L/100km

Power: 66 kW

Torque: 110 Nm

Price: starting from R289 900

Warranty: Standard with a five-year/200 000km warranty and a four-year/60 000km service plan. Three-year AA Roadside Assistance service is also included in the purchase price.

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