By now, you would have heard about the new Honda WR-V, especially if you’re a regular here. The compact SUV made its world debut in Indonesia this week and production will start in that country next month, with exports penned for 2023. Will Honda’s junior SUV come to Malaysia in the future?

It’s an interesting prospect, the WR-V, an in-trend bodystyle wearing a badge that’s very strong in Malaysia. The new SUV sits below the B-segment HR-V in size and price, and in Indonesia, it will take on the Daihatsu Rocky and Toyota Raize twins, which are of course sisters of our Perodua Ativa.

The WR-V is 4,060 mm long and 1,780 mm wide, which is 5 mm shorter than the Ativa but 70 mm wider. At 1,608 mm tall, the new Honda sits 27 mm lower than the Perodua, and its 2,485 mm wheelbase is also 40 mm shorter. Ground clearance is a high 220 mm (Ativa 200 mm) and boot space is 380 litres (Ativa 369 litres). They’re both in the same A-segment/small-B ballpark.

Does an Ativa-sized Honda SUV sound appealing to you? Would it be even more appealing if we told you that the WR-V is cheaper than the City Hatchback in Indonesia?

In the republic, the top City Hatchback RS with Honda Sensing is priced at Rp.362.6 juta, which is equivalent to RM109,431. The top WR-V RS with Sensing (ADAS is usually an option variant in Indonesia) is going for Rp.309.9 juta, which translates to RM93,939. That’s around 14% cheaper.

Note that the City Hatchback RS in Indonesia is powered by a 1.5 litre i-VTEC petrol engine and not the e:HEV hybrid powertrain that we get in our RS. This means that both the WR-V and City Hatchback have the exact same 1.5L NA with CVT powertrain combo, and spec levels are comparable, although the WR-V is the smaller car.

We’ve always said that generally, it’s challenging for non-national brands to introduce entry-level models in our market and be competitive with national rivals in terms of specs/price. That’s because of market leader Perodua’s high specs (much better than entry-level cars in Thailand and Indonesia) combined with the price advantage of national brands. The price window between the top Ativa AV (RM72,600) and base Honda HR-V (RM114,800, with the same 1.5L NA as the City/WR-V) is RM42k.

If we extrapolate the WR-V’s 14% lower price compared to the City Hatchback in Indonesia to Malaysia, where our City Hatchback V Sensing is priced at RM95,600, that would put a similarly specced WR-V at RM82,216. Conveniently, that’s around RM10k more than the top Ativa AV. We’re not using the Malaysian City Hatchback RS for this fictional exercise because it’s a hybrid.

So, would you have a Honda WR-V if it’s RM10k costlier than an Ativa? Don’t be hasty, let’s take a look at specs first.

Two variants of the WR-V are available in Indonesia – the base E rides on 16-inch five-spoke alloys with 215/60 tyres, while the RS rolls on 17-inch two-tone alloys with 215/55 rubber.

The E comes with remote engine start, push start button, a 7.0-inch touchscreen head unit, reverse camera with multi-angle view, four speakers, digital AC panel, fabric seats, steering audio buttons, LED foglamps, LED wing mirror signals, and four airbags with VSA. Also, inverted L-shaped LED signatures like on the Civic FE.

The sportier RS (it wears a chromed chequered grille like our HR-V RS and decorative roof rails) adds on LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights and sequential turn signals, walk-away auto door lock, a 4.2-inch multi-info display between analogue dials, six speakers, leather-fabric combination seats, leather wrap for the steering and gear knob, auto air con, and auto folding wing mirrors.

Click to enlarge spec sheet

Honda’s Sensing safety suite is not standard for the RS, which brings us to the top variant, the RS with Sensing. This range topper adds on ADAS (CMBS, RDM, ACC, LKAS, LCDN, AHB) plus LaneWatch (camera for the left wing mirror), six airbags and auto headlamps. Adding a black roof to the Ignite Red Metallic RS will cost Rp.2.5 juta (RM757).

What do you think of the WR-V’s specs and would you buy one for RM10k more than the top Ativa? The one major difference between the two small SUVs is the Perodua’s 1.0 litre turbocharged engine compared to the Honda’s traditional 1.5L NA unit.

GALLERY: Honda WR-V, Indonesia spec