Honda recently introduced the WR-V, which is the company’s first take on the sub-4 meter, compact crossover segment. While the WR-V is more like a Jazz on stilts (something like the i20 Active), it looks very different from the Jazz and has been positioned to take on the Ecosport and the Brezza.
In the past 4 months, the company has managed to sell 3833, 3266, 2814 and 4243 units respectively, which is quite impressive. The Ecosport on the other hand, which is a proper compact SUV has sold 4662, 3924, 3565 and 3313 units in the same time period. One thing to be kept in mind is that the WR-V is more expensive than both the Ecosport and the Brezza. Despite this, it’s doing very good numbers. We explain why!
While the Jazz is more of an urban hatchback, it doesn’t look very striking and intimidating. This is an area where the WR-V comes up in front. Not only does it have a more rugged appearance, courtesy the plastic cladding all over, it also gets LED DRLs, a new tail lamp cluster, roof rails, new headlamps and a new grille. This gives it an edge over the Jazz and some people who go in to buy the Jazz will surely walk out with the WR-V instead. The hint of ruggedness is one of the reasons that brings in customers.
The ‘Honda’ brand
Honda has always been a brand that has commanded respect in the premium segment. Be it the City, the Civic, the CR-V or the Accord, they were all highest sellers at one point in time. People have blind faith in the brand and the reliability. This is the company’s first take at a compact crossover. Thus people who want a premium crossover now have this to look at too, instead of just the Ecosport. Honda has a better brand value in the country as compared to Ford, and this is certainly one reason why customers are walking into the showroom for the WR-V.
The Ecosport has been on sale for a while now. While it’ll soon be updated, the vehicle has begun showing its age. Though the company has been updating the Ecosport with more and more features, it still needs a major facelift. On the other hand, the WR-V is fresh in terms of styling on the outside as well as the inside. In the showroom, it looks quite substantial, what with all the edges and creases. This seems to be impressing a lot of people walking into Honda showrooms, enough to drive home with one.
The WR-V is loaded with features that appeal to Indian sensibilities. It comes with an electric sunroof, which is a segment first. Yes, it may not really be useful in our market given the climatic conditions, but it certainly is something that does add a bit of excitement to the vehicle.
In addition to this, the WR-V features a massive touch screen system with navigation, Mirrorlink and a 1.5 Gb internal memory. The vehicle also gets reclining rear seats. The car also gets a rear parking camera, with the option of zoom. It also has the option of a mobile hotspot, which is quite convenient, especially in today’s digital world.
It seems that the customers who have come for the Jazz are now looking at the WR-V. Since the WR-V has launched, Honda has lost sales on the Jazz. The Jazz has sold 3527, 2061, 1818 and 1307 units ever since the WR-V was introduced. While the Jazz is a practical hatchback, the WR-V has the additional flair, is longer (57 mm wheelbase) and higher (188 mm ground clearance) and the additional features which make it better value for money.
The WR-V shares it’s engines with the Jazz which means it is powered by either a petrol or a diesel engine option. The petrol is the 1.2 liter unit on the Jazz which makes 89 Bhp and 110 Nm while the diesel, which is a 1.5 liter unit makes 99 Bhp and 200 Nm. Both engines can only be had with a manual transmission in the WR-V, something that is a let down given that in the Ecosport this can be had with an automatic too.
Overall, the company seems to have managed to make a winner with the WR-V. It will be interesting to see how it does once the facelifted Ecosport — expected in a month — comes along.
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