HomeOpinion2021 Honda WR-V distinct, exhilarating, compact SUV

2021 Honda WR-V distinct, exhilarating, compact SUV

By Andrew Muzamhindo

FOR some, the all new Honda WR-V’s liability is that it is mated to a manual gearbox. For those, who enjoy to let the real feeling of driving sink in, they will love the manual gear box.

Crossovers and indeed SUVs have become big money-spinners for car manufacturers and this new small crossover from Honda will slot in underneath the slightly larger HR-V compact SUV. It is a pity the Honda vehicle brand is not currently recognisably represented in Zimbabwe. So we miss out.

The all new Honda WR-V garners its inspiration from two of its best-selling siblings, the Jazz and BR-V. It exudes a trendy, exciting personality and is certain to be a winning formula. The WR-V retains all of Honda’s proven attributes in terms of unrivalled quality, durability and reliability, while appealing to a new range of customers in the compact SUV category.

From the bold exterior design to the spacious and practical interior, the WR-V is an entry-level SUV offering for consumers seeking a seamless combination of style, practicality and versatility. The tech-savvy WR-V also boasts an abundance of safety, convenience, and connectivity features across the two-model range, making for an exceptionally comfortable and enjoyable driving experience.

Exterior design

The exterior design of the All-New WR-V exhibits a compact yet confident visage, uniquely separating it from other mainstream offerings in the market. While instantly recognisable as a member of the Honda family, the new WR-V features bold, distinctive styling and a sporty, agile appearance linked to the raised stance and rugged appeal expected of a SUV.

The front-end treatment features an expressive, bold headlight design complemented by distinctive LED daytime running lights, which frame Honda’s signature wing face. A pronounced swage line, crisp contours and emphasized wheel arches further add to the head-turning presence of the newcomer.

The Elegance model is equipped with LED projector headlamps and LED fog lights over the Comfort model’s Halogen Projectors and fog lights, both of which are sleek, precise and functional.

The short, wide bonnet’s angle seamlessly integrates with the rake of the large windscreen, while slim A-pillars enhance the smooth, aerodynamic lines of the frontal design.

The generous glass areas create an airy, inviting impression that emphasizes the spaciousness of the cabin, while also ensuring that both front and rear occupants enjoy superb all-round visibility. In addition, large front-quarter windows on either side ensure unencumbered visibility from the cockpit.

The tidy rear-end treatment is dominated by the large C-shape LED tail light clusters, a tailgate that opens all the way down to bumper level to provide effortless loading, and rear trim finished in contrasting charcoal and alloy to underscore the WR-V’s capable character.

The raised stance and wide tracks of the WR-V further reflect a rugged attitude typical of a SUV while the striking 16-inch alloy wheels and slim roof rails add a classy touch.

Interior design

Despite its compact footprint, the WR-V looks and feels spacious inside. The interior execution focuses on intelligent packaging to deliver a spacious front and rear cabin, which comfortably seats five passengers. The WR­V does not compromise on luggage capacity either, offering a generous 363 litres with the rear seats up, and an impressive 881 litres with the rear seats folded flat.

Better yet, the WR-V also incorporates Honda’s ingenious “Magic Seat” system borrowed from the popular Honda Jazz and HR-V. The Magic Seats can be configured in several different ways to accommodate a variety of tall and long objects.

In Tall Mode, the Magic Seats make it easy to accommodate upright objects, allowing a floor-to-roof space of more than 1,2 metres. In this configuration, two mountain bikes with their front wheels removed can be transported upright simultaneously.

Long Mode allows for extended-length objects up to 2,4 metres, such as stepladders and surfboards, to be transported with ease by folding both rear seats and the front passenger seat flat.

The WR-V’s interior is inviting and offers a host of comfort and convenience features aimed at making every commute enjoyable and effortless. The upholstery consists of high-quality black fabric providing the perfect balance of comfort, support and durability.

Soft-touch charcoal finishes emphasize the upmarket feel of the cabin, while silver accents add a further air of sophistication. Both models feature a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with audio controls. The Elegance model gains leather finishes for the gearshift knob and steering wheel, which continues the elegant theme of the interior environment.

Shared with the popular Jazz, the instrument panel of the newcomer is intuitive and ergonomic, featuring a trio of clear, circular dials with blue backlighting. Both models feature automatic air-conditioning with intuitive touch-panel controls as well as front and rear electric windows.

In terms of infotainment, the Comfort model is equipped with a user-friendly five-inch LCD audio system featuring Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free telephony and audio streaming, USB connectivity and four loudspeakers.

The Elegance model has a neatly incorporated seven-inch touchscreen display audio system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

This intuitive system allows the driver to have complete functionality of a smartphone at their fingertips, including app-based navigation, audio streaming and much more. In addition, the Elegance gains an upgraded 6-speaker system.

Both models benefit from rear parking sensors while the Elegance gains an integrated reverse parking camera which provides added convenience when manoeuvring the vehicle in and out of tight spaces.

Customers will also appreciate other added amenities available on the Elegance model such as cruise control and smart keyless entry with push button start, allowing the driver to seamlessly unlock, enter and start the car with the key fob still in their pocket.

Engine and suspension

Fuel economy has become an increasingly important consideration for many consumers who are in the market for an entry-level vehicle. As such, the All-new Honda WR-V is powered by an advanced and reliable 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine which employs Honda’s i-VTEC intelligent valve timing management system, ensuring an optimum balance of performance and fuel efficiency.

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. Both models are equipped with a quick-shifting five-speed manual gearbox and are capable of a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of just 6.4 litres/100km.

Under the skin, a highly rigid structure employing a significant proportion of high-tensile steel creates a stiff platform for the independent, MacPherson strut-based front suspension, and torsion beam rear set-up. The chassis has been designed to offer confident handling and a refined ride, while the electrically assisted power steering delivers effortless, crisp steering response.


As one would expect from a Honda, the WR-V comes standard with an abundance of safety features including six SRS airbags — comprising dual front, side impact and side curtain airbags — for both the Comfort and Elegance models.

Additional features, include front seatbelt pretensioners, ISOFIX child seat anchors as well as an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD), allowing for safer and more effective vehicle control during emergency braking and when navigating unfavourable road conditions.

The WR-V has been 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, while at the same time minimizing damage to other impacted vehicles.


  • Type:  SOHC i-VTEC 16V Inline 4 Cylinder
  • Gearbox type:  Manual 
  • Displacement (cm3):      1199       
  • Power (kw @r/min):    66/6000               
  • Torque (Nm @r/min):   110/4800               Compression Ratio:            10.1                         Fuel Type              Unleaded Petrol


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