Honda WRV – My personal review
This isn’t going to be a usual review. It’s going to be about the path I personally took in deciding and buying Honda WRV. When all of a sudden we decided to change our old Honda City 2007 VTEC, I personally had to go through almost all the cars in the price range of 9-12 Lakh, read reviews, refer forums and even join few FB groups to gather all information about the car. But WRV didn’t come through all these, in fact it crossed us when we went to Honda dealer to see what the price for our old Honda City would sell for. It was an instant love at first sight. I personally thought it was the new CRV as I didn’t see the length of the car. We enquired about the price and took a test drive. The test drive itself was an instant win among my family members. Still it was up to me to decide whether to go for it or not. The car drove well and diesel engine didn’t feel anything diesel at that time of test drive, it was almost like a petrol with almost zero turbo lag. The ride was good and everyone were happy.
Since it was huge investment, had to compare it with other cars of its segment. The main rivals are
- Vitara Brezza
- Ford Ecosport
- Hyundai i20 Active
- Hyundai Creta (Even though it’s entirely in different category)
I wanted to move from the sedans to a SUV like car to have better ride over rough roads and also to give a presence on the road. So all the sedans were out of the list. Also since the budget is little constraint, Innova , Duster ,Creta were also out of the pool.
Started watching and reading reviews all about Honda WRV and how they are ranked.
Why not Vitara Brezza ?
I didn’t test drive it, but from all the reviews, it had high engine noise inside the cabin, which was real no for me. Coming from Honda City we are very much accustomed to silent rides. The interiors were not premium either. Again from the reviews, the back seat ride wasn’t as good as WRV. Also the design for me looked too boxish.
Why not Ford Ecosport?
Very outdated as of now.My senior had the car , it had terrible backseat space and leg room. In earlier version it had turn signals on opposite side, which made me so irritating to drive that car. But heard it’s changed now, not sure though. Also he ran into engine issues very earlier, so from my personal perspective it was scratched from the list. The new facelift is around the corner , but cant wait that long.
Why not I20 Active and Creta?
The interiors looks premium than WRV. But exterior looks like Hyundai. I said Hyundai plainly because, off late i am unable to differentiate which one is which and it starts right from Hyundai eon upto i20`s. Added a picture to prove my point. Also from the reviews it dint have a good smooth ride either? Creta had bad rear window visibility and leg room was also not that adequate compared to WRV. Also it didnt have enough features to justify its price tag.
Also at the time of ordering WRV, Tata Nexon didn’t make its way and also from what I have heard from others is that Tata brand is not that reliable. So we didn’t want to downgrade our experience. Now with reviews out, it does seems like a good car, but still the brand TATA is no go for me.
So this brings to Honda WRV.
In almost all reviews there were some common elements about WRV, they were
- Almost linear power delivery in diesel engine
- Better insulation than Jazz or even the Newer City
- Best ride quality in its segment
- Enormous leg room
- Beefy boot
- Great stability
Although in many reviews they praised Honda WRV for being at the top, but when it came to verdict they stood by Breeza mainly because it was very much closer to a SUV like car than others, and also for Brand name – Maruti.
Now with a good satisfaction that WRV would serve our purpose and also stick close to the comfort we had in Honda City for almost a decade now, we went ahead and ordered Honda WRV. The waiting period started…
They gave us a 2 month waiting period IIRC. Mean time i was busy joining FB groups, going through all the reviews again, checking what needs to be added and what modification can be done which will suite the car.
The car arrived to yard and went there to personally check them before getting it registered.
The car was delivered on 5th October. Even though we were expecting and hoping that i should arrive little earlier to coincide with the holidays.
I didn’t prefer any decals or other stuffs they were offering. I asked for a under chassis coating, I wanted it to be done as soon as possible since it was monsoon season.
Let’s dive into the specifics..
I had plans to convert the rear seats to bucket seats with cushions and had it planned it at Koya`s , Coimbatore , unfortunately the appointment didn’t coincide with my vacation period , so dropped that idea for now.
Took the car from Salem to Coimbatore on NH544.
I had driven Ertiga on that NH couple of times and our old City many times, but driving WRV on NH was totally new experience for me.
The power was linear and you have to work the initial gears a little bit, but after that it’s silky smooth. Addition of the 6th gear makes it much better. The engine is so relaxed at 6th.
Unfortunately our NH are pretty bad, where the moment you try to enjoy there is a median or toll both which hinders the Highway drive.
Anyway coming back to the performance. As for comparison, the VTEC petrol in old city really struggles at higher speed, the engine is so much labored.
The iDtec engine is lot powerful at the higher end gears. The Engine feels it has lots to give when you switch to 5th and 6th gear. The diesel version is much heavier than its petrol counterpart. So I felt at the initial gears the engine feels little sluggish. But push the accelerator beyond half way point there is a sudden surge of power, which pulls you back, but not like in other cars where there is sudden turbo kick. Here the acceleration is well controlled. Since it was not ideal to red line the engine, I resisted myself to push the engine to higher RPM`s. Move past the 4th gear, the engine starts to feel very relaxed. At 6th it just glides…
Producing 100 PS of power and 200 NM torque, the engine is quite powerful IMO, particularly coming from an old Vtec engine. If you want to compare that, i would say the graphs are in opposite direction. Where the VTEC gallops and feels relaxed, i.e. in the initial gears, the iDTEC does that at higher gears. If you do try to push the VTEC beyond 100 KMPH, that is where the engine starts to struggle a lot. Compare that to iDTEC , after 100KMPH , the engine feels buttery smooth and I don’t know where it will want t stop at the speed curve. You can push the engine beyond 120-140 and still engine is happy to give you more power.
The gear in WRV is notchy and hard, compared to my old City which was really smooth and loose. There is the extra 6th which i was never used to before. While I had doubts whether I could slot the gear properly and not slot it into reverse, my doubts vanished while drove it. The gears fell into slots nicely. Transition from 5th to 6th was also easy. The gear handle could have been little closer instead too much closer to dashboard. You have to stretch your hand to slot the top gears like 1, 3 and 5. Also there is some rigidity in the gears which kind of took away the fun when you have an excellent engine under the hood. May be as we run the car the gear will loosen up a bit? The feel of the gear knob could have been little better and little taller too.
Steering wheel is pretty standard one and unlike in petrol version which had awkward plastic to cover the missing cruise control features, the diesel version was much nicer to look and felt good too. The call answering buttons were new to me and at first I didn’t know how to activate them, then found it were like paddle shift. The buttons where neatly arranged and reachable too.
Steering column support rack and reach which helps you become comfortable in driver seat in no time.
One big down is the horn. It was not easy, nor smooth to press. It is hard and clunky.
Since mine is the high end diesel trim , it alsohas the Crusie control option. It was new for me just like many others things on this car. How it works is simple, you need to first engage it by pressing the button in the steering wheel and it lights up in the display unit. Now after you reach a specific speed at which speed you want the car to cruise , select SET button . After this the car will try to maintain the speed as set by you. Any further acceleration or breaking will disengage the cruise. As someone who has never tried cruise control , it was a scary and fun at the same time. I think the best speed to set cruise in our highways would be 70-90 kmph. Above it becomes little scary at turns where the car tries to maintain the speed and there is a good amount of body roll. Also i wouldnt trust this function with driver driven car , if its you , then its ok , you know how it works and all. Most of the drivers dont know and i dont think its safe for them to use. With no front sensor , this function should be used with care imo.
The front passenger seats were bucket seats and offered excellent cushioning and side support. The thigh support was good. The driver seat can be raised until you hit the roof ( 😀 )There was enough height to them and you sit upright almost, instead of what you sit in sedans. The seats belts should have come with adjustable ones. The head support were good. Although i felt there could have been few extra cm of thigh support to make it a more comfortable seat.
The rear seats… IMO, this is a big downgrade for me. Coming from a comfortable rear seat of city, the rear seat in WRV where more like bench, not a slight dip in passenger area. it was plain flat and there design of fabric gives you an illusion that there is some bucket like design , but there is none. Space it offers is good. There is no head rest instead there is a slight trapezoid shape structure which we should take it as head rest. I don’t think there is a good shoulder support either. In my old city as the seats curved, you had nice support to shoulder, here its plain bland.
Compared to rest of its rivals, WRV gives loads of room and space … How they did create so much space under 4 meter? I think all the credits should go to design team. They have the largest boot space, enormous leg room for both rear and front passengers. Even with front seat pushed all the way back, the rear passengers can still have loads of leg room. The boot space also is very practical. It doesn’t take much effort to load the luggage. In City you have 500+ Liters of boot space, while WRV has 350+ Liters. We had to almost kneel and enter a cave in City to reach luggage’s which are too far. That’s not so in WRV, everything is easy to access.
You also have so much cup holder, bottle holders, under arm rest space.
All in all it’s a very practical interior with excellent space for you, your bottles, and your luggage’s.
The ride quality is good. It does glide over small potholes and breaks on the road with little to none “bump” entering into the cabin. On highway given its stiff suspension, while you cross over say a bridge, which has these crevasse, those do produce “thumps” inside the cabin. Apart from these small nudges, the WRV is smooth over speed bumpers, and on plain NH, it excels by giving smooth ride. The suspension does come to a faster halt after a little unevenness over the road ,which I felt could have been a little longer , as it would definitely could even out the bumpiness inside the cabin instead of a abrupt stop. On long drive you don’t feel stressed from too much sitting. From my past experience with City and Ertiga , i can boldly say i didn’t feel tired after long drive.
But since there is fine balance of suspension and car control, I think Honda has done a tremendous job. As a driver you WILL love how rock solid this car is. Leave the steering wheel at higher speed, it will hold on to its position like a tight wrench. On highways this control gives loads of confident to the driver. If I compare this to my old City , at higher speed it gets scary, as the steering wheel starts to loosen up a little bit and control takes a nose dive. There is nothing that sort here. As the speed climbs up, so does the stiffness of the steering wheel. It builds confident too as a driver to take it to higher speed, with a combo of speed loving engine and controllable steering wheel what else can you ask for?
NVH – Noise – Vibration – Harshness
Yes there is engine noise inside the cabin. But you will hear it only if you want to hear it. That means, people like me (OCD) will hear it. Others like your wife, parents, friends (non OCD ones: D ) will not hear it. And if you are taking them in this car on a highway, chances of you hearing the engine at 90+ kmph becomes negligible. The noise is only at the initial gears, then after, it becomes silent. An exact opposite of my old City.
Vibrations, yes as a driver you will feel it. It will give massage ( :] ) to your hand (gear) and foot (pedals). There is no denying from this fact. They feel and does it get reduced? Possibly as you climb up in speedometer.
I had an old Class 10 8Gb micro SD card and luckily i did remember it , so retrieved it from my old phone, formatted to FAT 32 and loaded songs and videos. The Audio system is pretty straight forward. The UI is simple. If you are used to android , then you are right at home. It detects the USB, microSD fast. But it did take some to index the card at first. The Speakers are decent and give enough bass. You have two tweeters on the front of the dashboard , and four speakers in each door. The equalizer is there and you could set up your own taste of sound or there is few presents you can choose from , again these are pretty straight forward and standard. It does play videos while your hard break is engaged and they play fine too . Haven’t tried to install MXplayer and play the videos, will try them once i go back to home.
Also there is option to set live wallpaper as background , but it does slow your system a bit. So i stuck to static background. I am sure these system are very under powered and more you try to load it , it will just buckle under the pressure .
Again my advice is you use a separate SD card if you planning one , and not load anything with one they give you.
As for the touch/UI , its responsive and i didnt feel any lag , since i was thinking it would be a very low powered device. But it fared better than i expected.
The USB slot in front is little deep and if you have these sliding type pen drive, it will drive you mad. Honda does recommend using a USB connecting cable and not to plug the pen drive directly. So having a connecting cable will help you a lot.
The navigation was spot on. The GPS was also quick and fast to lock in on the location. For a non-google entity and my first experience with non-Google maps navigation , this one was good. It offered night theme also which was nice. Locations were also easily available. Overall it was very good.
The controls are touch based. This makes changing the temperature or fan speed or which fan while driving makes it hard. May be after a while you will develop the muscle memory and work it automatically without turning your head from the road, until then, you need little caution. As for the cooling effect , without any sun film it takes some time to cool , especially the rear. But with sun film , the cooling is pretty good. The cabin also cools much faster. May be with leather seats it will cool lot more faster ?
- Me and my family are new to Sun roof and it was a delight for us when we tried it. The working of it also pretty much neat and added bonus is pinch guard. The moment you open the roof , the car because even more spacious and gives a feel which can only be experienced. Of course it is best to try it either early morning , or cool evening or on hill drive.
- The reverse camera is fast , as soon as we shift to reverse gear the screen starts to stream the rear camera. Clarity might be a tad bit low , but enough for parking the car. Also the three views is added benefit.
- The radio reception is clean too. The antenna is removal , which is crucial as i will point it out later.
- The ground clearance is excellent . We all know the numbers but how does it play out in real life ? For a guy coming from City which is renowned for extremely low ground clearance for Indian roads , this upgrade was a boon to us , as roads we drive daily are not that good and we encounter like 4-5 speed bumps daily.
- The side mirrors are good and encompass a good amount of rear view. Added feature like motorized opening and closure is nice – again we didnt have that in City 😀
- The boot opening is almost like a touch based operation . There is a small button and when pressed ,it open the boot door effortlessly. Unlike in some cars where you almost clutch the lever to open it. NEAT !!
- The speedometer dial is simple and neat and along with other stuffs like fuel , average distance you can travel etc. There is also a curved illumination which changes color based on your driving style. Driving in leisurely way , not revving the engine ? It lights as green , gunning down the engine , it turns dark blue , it could have been red though 🙂
- The indicator switches have two modes , one you simply touch flick them half way the turn indicators will work for 5 seconds and then they will go off. The second is press it fully like we do in other cars (comparing it to my Old City) , it stays there. I didnt notice whether they would switch off after we make a steering rotation in the opposite direction or bring them back to center as they do in other cars. Till i noticed the indicators when fully switched on they stayed like that. anyway the half way activation of the turn indicators is neat in highway driving.
- The arm rest on the doors are slightly tilted to you to east your arm over it.
What should have been in WRV ?
- Projector headlamp – Given the design of the headlight container , projector headlamp would have added even more gorgeousness to WRV.
- Better DRL – The DRL is good , but it is designed in a way that the DRL when it comes to the front , ends as a bulb like fashion , giving just a bright spot instead of a fancy light strip.
- Better Back seat design – This is a huge thing for me , as explained before , a better bucket seat in rear would have added even more premium feel to the interior and also with a proper head rest design instead of a small protrusion.
- More Chrome – If they would have added chrome to windows , front and rear of the car , it would have given a more royalty to the car and given even more SUVish stance .
- Better dashboard – They could have used a more modern looking dash board instead of plain old design. Added few chrome detailing .
- Better A pillar – Its huge . It obstructs a little bit but as you drive you get used to it. They could have designed it better in my opinion.
- Better Side profile – They tried to move the design of WRV from Jazz as much as possible and they almost succeeded except for the side profile which still gives this homely look instead of roughed up look which they tried to bring out.
- Rear AC vent and USB charging port – These should have been there in all honesty. But there is a neat provision in the closing lid and base of the arm rest which allows the wire from inside to outside.
- Horn- I think from next car they shouldn’t be putting them and instead ask customers to get one of their own and save some money.
- Arm rest on the door could have either been fabric finished or could have been even more softer plastic.
Post Purchase Enchancements
- Underbody coating was done while the car even went for temporary registration and made sure it was the first thing to be done. It was done by 3M , but under Honda dealership umbrella.
- Since i was planning to modify the rear seat by taking to Koya`s coimbatore or any upholstery shop , i didnt plan on seat covers. Here are my plans , but how much it will work , ie how much can they do to resemble anyone of them is yet to be known. Will be doing it later next month.
- Sun film was done on windshield and side windows. For front it was CR70 , which was finalized after so much research on teambhp and other online forums. As for windows , 3M dealer told to stick with RE70 , but i opted for RE50 as it had a darker tint. But in reality these are almost like normal glass , it will take sometime to see whether they have sun films. So you can safely ride without much trouble. Last time in our City was a unknown brand which just tint (very dark) and no heat or UV rejection etc. After the application the difference is very perceivable. The sun light enters the cabin , but you feel that sharp sensation, rather its a soft feel and there is almost 60-70% heat reduction overall. The front CR70 also gave like 10% glare reduction. This is very slight , but there is definite glare reduction. Because of these , the AC now cools the cabin a lot faster. The cooling also stays a bit longer. Also a small point to note is , there is a subtle tinting , which almost gives a unclear view inside the cabin. It took me sometime to see persons sitting inside. It has to be seen to fully realize. So overall IMO , its a money well spent, all the while retaining the airy feel of the cabin and not too much darkening of the side window glasses. Costed around 12K
- Changed the horns from a nimble OEM to Minda trumpet horn. This is the horn which should have come along with the car. This gives the car the real presence on the road , the sound matches to its exterior rugged look. Cost – 900Rs
- I desperately wanted projector headlamps. It has always been my dream to have them even in my old city ,but time passed by and I left it. This time around too Honda failed to grant me the wish. So instead of waiting for the Custom , half baked headlamp set , i went ahead and installed a LED lamp – http://amzn.to/2yvS3w0 The color is white , little bit of blue , but you have too see closely to note it. The throw is good , changes the cars perspective radically. Only downside is its cost. At 11k , its way too costly… !! But i wanted something which didnt involve wire cutting and this was just a plug n play. Planning to change the fog lamps too.
- Also went ahead and opted for 3M Acoustics Solution Treatment . They removed the side panels and pasted a thick material to the aluminum door and over it they placed sound absorbing material. Costed around 4K.
- Also did a silencer coating which was not done at dealer.
- And finally some wrap.. since most of the time the car is going to be driven by my driver ,the glossy finish of the ICE will be spoiled , so did a matte wrap for it. But i think i will soon be doing a carbon finish wrap. 3M dealer was not all too for carbon finish wrap ,as he said he had too many complaints from it.
- Wanted to do the front grill wrap so badly , i even asked them to do partly , which didnt turn out good. so planning to do a hydro printing for the front grill.
Future Plans :
- One of the pending plan is so get the rear seat altered. This has to be done correctly as once the OEM seats are dismantled , there is no going back. Of course you can take it to Honda .. but its tedious and a costly affair.
- Getting fog lamps changed to HID or LED.
- Possible Hydro-painting for front grill.
- One of the suggestion to reduce diesel noise is to use after market filter.. this i have to research a bit before installing one.
Overall , I think my long research, hours of reading and watching reviews and help from FB and other groups have yielded a car which aptly suited us.
How does it fare from here on wards is a story for another time. Wish it serves us just like our old city .
Thanks for all who have helped me taking this decision , especially Honda WRV FB group and its members : https://www.facebook.com/groups/247035772422296
Note: I will be updating the post with products i bought from amazon , few more photos and some more details. So please do check this note section for updates.
Any WRV related questions , please do leave them in comment section below.