The 2023 WR-V Is Honda's 121-Horsepower Answer To The Toyota Raize

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Finally realizing the shifting consumer preference from small hatchbacks and sedans to small SUVs, Honda has finally pulled the wraps off its all-new 2023 WR-V, a sub-compact SUV designed specifically for the ASEAN market.

Set to compete in a segment populated by its chief rival, the Toyota Raize but also the Kia Stonic, Hyundai Creta, and even the growing number of Chinese SUVs, the all-new WR-V

doesn’t ride on the Jazz/HR-V platform like the first-generation WR-V

did; neither does it share its platform with the Brio. Instead, it rides on a shortened BR-V platform.

As previously


, the 2023 WR-V wears the “DG” model code with “DG47” for the manual transmission variants and “DG48” for the CVT equipped variants. The CVT itself gains a step logic called G-design shift. Either way, Honda has opted to eschew plopping in a small turbocharged engine under the hood. Instead, they’ve gone for the BR-V/HR-V/City’s normally-aspirated 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. Here, the DOHC L15 makes 121 horsepower and 145 Nm of torque—the most in the segment. Power aside, it is extremely maneuverable. Its Independent MacPherson Strut/Torsion Beam Axle suspension provides a small 5-meter turning radius.

Designed under the grand concept of Urban Freestyler, the WR-V stays close to the

SUV RS Concept’s design which was shown last year

, but swaps the concept car fade-effect grille with a chrome-studded one and more conventional taillight clusters akin to the current Civic. Meant to be vibrant and bold, it has aggressive fender flares, full LED headlights, sequential LED turn signal indicators, and LED taillights. And despite the “RS” moniker given to the concept, the WR-V is available in both RS and non-RS trims with the E getting 16-inch wheels with 215/60R16 tires, while the RS receiving standard 17-inch wheels with 215/55R17 tires. The RS also receives unique aesthetic touches. Ground clearance, regardless of variant, stands at 220 mm.

Inside, the WR-V shares its basic dashboard with the BR-V. But because of its sporty positioning, it gets red highlights and accents. The driver gets a 4.2-inch TFT display with a unique welcome graphic. It also has an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and features such as leather seats. Despite its compact exterior proportions, Honda promises class-leading passenger and cargo room.

For safety, the WR-V gets Honda SENSING. The monocular camera, also found in the BR-V and Civic, provides a variety of driver assist technology including autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, and automatic high beam assist. Other safety features include 6 SRS airbags, ABS with EBD, and electronic stability control.

The WR-V, which stands for Winsome Recreational Vehicle completes the Honda crossover line-up joining the BR-V, HR-V, and CR-V for the ASEAN region. It is targeted towards a younger demographic (22 to 40 years old).

In Indonesia, the all-new WR-V’s launch market, it’s priced at 271,900,000 Rupiah (P 1.016 million) to 309,900,000 Rupiah (P 1.115 million) which is lower than both the HR-V and BR-V.

If it does arrive in the Philippine market, this could potentially be positioned between the City RS sedan and RS hatchback. It could explain why Honda Cars Philippines opted to just bring one variant of their sub-compact hatchback.

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