“Ok, Boomer.” A review of the Honda WR-V

Kelly Lodewyks spent a week with the Honda W-RV. And this happened.

According to Dictionary.com, the term “Ok, Boomer” is “a viral internet slang phrase used, often in a humorous or ironic manner, to call out or dismiss out-of-touch or close-minded opinions associated with the Baby Boomer generation and older people more generally”. And I know you’re wondering why I’ve used this headline for a review of the Honda WR-V. Read on to find out.

What is the WR-V?
Honda introduced the WR-V into the South African market late last year. According to the Japanese marque this vehicle was introduced as a compact sports utility vehicle and it’s designed for adventure, life on the road less travelled, you know. To give you more context, the Suzuki Brezza and its Toyota Urban Cruiser cousin are considered rivals to this. Are they though? ARE THEY?

What’s under the bonnet?
The WR-V is powered by a 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 66kW at 6 000 r/min and a torque output of 110 Nm at 4 800 r/min. On both the Comfort and Elegance models, this unit is equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox. I actually enjoyed this combination. Maybe “enjoy” is a strong word, but it’s a really relaxing (for lack of a better word) drive – no fuss, no hassles.

But, Kelly, why is it a Boomer?
That’s what you’re asking, right? Well, let me tell you. This is not a compact SUV. This is not a rival to the Suzuki Brezza and Toyota Urban Cruiser. This is a re-worked Honda Jazz. This vehicle is so out-of-touch it feels insulting to car buyers. For an entry-level asking price of R289 900 for the Comfort model you get a five-inch LCD audio system that feels like it was taken out of a Honda Jazz ten years ago. This system has Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free telephony and audio streaming, USB connectivity and four loudspeakers. You also get rear parking sensors. Only when you move up a spec level to the Elegance do you get nice-to-haves such as a seven-inch touchscreen display audio system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Plus two more speakers. On Elegance level, you also gain an integrated reverse parking camera, cruise control and smart keyless entry. The Elegance, I need to add, has a recommended retail price of R319 900. The Brezza, by comparison, offers a large 7-inch touch screen infotainment system across the entire range. According to Suzuki, the system is fitted as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and it will display the image from the reverse camera, when engaged. Bluetooth, an auxiliary input and a USB port are also standard, while all models allow the driver hands-free control of the system and the phone interface from the steering wheel buttons or voice command system.

I’m not here to sell you a Brezza, but I had to make it clear that for a recommended retail price of R244 900, you can get an entry-level vehicle that is actually a decent compact SUV and not a car that’s trying to impersonate one. The Brezza and Urban Cruiser and others in this segment such as the Hyundai Venue and the frankly brilliant Kia Sonet are very much in touch with what buyers in this segment need and want and these companies are not just trying to be hip and “with it”, as the kids are saying these days (or are they?).

In conclusion…
The WR-V does an excellent job of being exactly what you expect from a Honda these days. The drive is perfectly fine, the gearbox is smooth when changing, the seats are comfortable, the cabin is inoffensive and it’s rather overpriced for what it offers. It’s a pass from me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *