The popularity of SUVs/ crossovers in developing markets of the world is quite high. Trying to cash in on this trend, carmakers are constantly rolling out crossovers based on hatchback/ MPV platforms. Honda is one such company which is expanding its product line-up by spawning multiple vehicles on the same platform with different body styles. The most recent vehicle to be caught testing is a crossover version of the existing Jazz hatchback. Christened WR-V, the vehicle has been spotted in Sau Paulo, Brazil, wearing heavy camouflage.
The WR-V will be based on the Jazz platform so expect it to bear a similar profile with changes to the front and rear including some body panels. The headlamps seem to be slimmer than the larger units found on the Jazz. The bumper and grille too look different, suggesting a more beefy look to go in sync with the crossover/ SUV positioning, which is how we expect the company to market it. On the side, it's indicative that the WR-V might have larger wheels and the rear too might feature a more rounded design. More importantly, the WR-V will have a higher ground clearance than the Jazz but is expected to be offered only in front-wheel drive.
Since the WR-V is based on the Jazz platform, there shouldn't be much of a difference in weight and Honda could use the 1.5 L -VTEC motor globally. In India though, for cost reasons, the company could choose to go in with the existing engine options - 1.2 L petrol and 1.5 L diesel units. While the former is likely to be offered with a 5-speed manual gearbox and a CVT, the latter engine will be offered with a 6-speed manual transmission. However, considering the increasing popularity of diesel automatics and the higher positioning of the WR-V, Honda could go in for a diesel automatic version too.
The spy pics suggest that the model is production-ready and is in its final stages of testing. This could mean a global launch by the end of 2016 or early 2017. In India, we expect the Honda WR-V to be launched in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2017. Expect it to cost about Rs 1 lakh more than the Jazz with the same set of features.