Honda WR-V: minimal facelift, even less changed on the inside

However, the WR-V retains its strengths: space and practicality

Based on the Jazz, the WR-V is the car that fills the role of a compact SUV for Honda in India. For 2020, Honda has rolled out a facelift for its crossover, alongside upgrading its engines to meet BS6 compliance. So just how has the facelift changed the WR-V package?

The WR-V now has a bolder look to it, with new projector LED headlamps connected via a thick band of chrome and prominent horizontal slats in the grille, making it appear larger than before. The fog lamps — also LED units — feature thicker black surrounds. You will also find new designs for the 16-inch alloy wheels and re-profiled tail-lamps, which now feature LEDs.

Even less has changed on the inside than it has on the outside with the same smart, angular, all-black dashboard with a few brushed silver trim embellishments. The only change seems to be the seat upholstery, which gets a new embossed pattern that looks a bit sportier.

Space in the back seat has always been a highlight of the WR-V; leg room is fantastic, with a nice angled footrest under the front seats, and though head room is not quite as much as in a compact SUV, it is still rather good. We would have liked a few more creature comforts in the back seat, like a centre armrest, rear AC vents and any form of charging.

Honda WR-V petrol specifications

  • Engine 1199cc, 4-cyl
  • Power 90hp at 6000rpm
  • Torque 110Nm at 4800rpm
  • Gearbox 5-speed manual
  • Length 3999mm
  • Width 1734mm
  • Height 1601mm
  • Wheelbase 2555mm
  • Boot capacity 363 litres
  • Tank capacity 40 litres
  • Kerb weight 1087-1106kg
  • Tyre size 195/60-R16

The equipment list too has seen little change, and while it is decent, other similarly priced cars have taken the game far ahead. What is new are the aforementioned LED exterior lighting and the front HDMI port that has been replaced by a second USB port.

The 7.0-inch touchscreen does feel a bit aftermarket, but it has onboard navigation and supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The bigger issue is that the screen is a bit too dull, making it hard to read in sunlight.

The 1.2-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, has a good amount of pep low down, followed by a rather flat mid-range, and then a resurgence of power past 5,000rpm. This 1.2-litre engine is nowhere near as peppy low down as the City’s 1.5, and with the transition to BS6, responses seem to have been blunted a bit. Performance is down, compared to the BS4 version, with 100kph coming up almost a second slower, and in-gear acceleration times are similarly behind the curve.

The 1.5-litre diesel engine has also returned in BS6 guise, with its headline numbers unchanged — 100hp and 200Nm. What has changed is the ARAI-rated fuel economy, which has dropped by 1.8kpl to 23.7kpl. This is partly because Honda has gone down the Lean NOx Trap route to achieve BS6 emissions standards.

The engine’s tractable nature remains. It may not rev as freely or have as strong a kick in the mid-range as some others, but it makes up for that with usability. There have been no changes to the suspension, and the WR-V retains its great ride and handling balance. Bump absorption and body control are both good, even on a rough road. The 2020 Honda WR-V facelift, then, is as minor as it can get. The new front fascia and LED lighting do give it a bit more character, but there really aren’t any changes of note. A big omission is an automatic gearbox.

Priced from ₹8.50-10.99 lakh, it might be slightly less expensive than its rivals, but those cars also give you a lot more for your money. That said, the strengths of the WR-V remain the same — space and practicality with the peace of mind of a Honda badge on the nose.

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