2020 Auto News Auto Sales Honda

2020 Honda WR-V facelift review, test drive

What is it?

It’s the mid-life update for Honda’s Jazz-based crossover, the WR-V, the original version of which went on sale back in 2017. Now it’s easy to be cynical about the WR-V and dismiss it as no more than a Jazz with a suspension lift and some off-road garnish tacked on, and technically, that is what it is, but there’s more to it than just that. Honda doesn’t yet have a compact SUV of its own, so this crossover plugs that gap, and to help in that regard, the wheelbase is longer, the wheels and tyres are bigger, and of course, it has a considerably different exterior look than the Jazz. Moreover, the formula worked, with the WR-V finding a decent number of buyers – over 1,500 each month in pre-COVID-19 times, which is about double that of the Jazz, by the way.

The facelift brings BS6-compliant versions of the existing 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engines, a revised front end, and a consolidated model range that’s been reduced to just two trim levels, but what else can you expect from the 2020 Honda WR-V? Read on.

What has changed on the outside?

There is certainly a bolder look to the face of the updated Honda WR-V. As before, the chrome band on the grille extends wide and joins the headlamps at their base, but the headlamps themselves are now of the LED projector variety, with a lot of nice detailing inside the large units. The grille beneath the chrome bar has more prominent horizontal slats, rather than the honeycomb pattern of before, giving the impression of it being larger. And finally, the fog lamps – which are now also LED-powered – feature thicker black surrounds.

At the rear and down the sides, not much has changed at all. You’ll find new designs for the 16-inch alloy wheels and reprofiled tail-lamps, which now feature LEDs and sit in blacked-out frames.

What has changed on the inside?

Even less has changed on the inside than it has on the outside. You’re still treated to the smart, angular, all-black dashboard as before with a few brushed silver trim embellishments, and while plastic quality is generally pretty good, you won’t find any soft-touch materials here. 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 well-packaged WR-V, something it has inherited from the Jazz. Leg room, especially, is fantastic, with a nice angled footrest under the front seats, and though head room isn’t quite as much as you’ll find in a tall, boxy, conventional compact SUV, it’s still rather good. We would have, however, liked to have seen a few more creature comforts to the back seat, like a centre arm rest, rear AC vents, adjustable rear headrests or any form of charging.

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