Published on July 15th, 2023 | by Subhash Nair


The Honda WR-V Is A Bigger Deal Than Most Realise

The Honda WR-V changes things in the non-national brand segment in Malaysia.

Earlier this week, Honda launched the all-new WR-V in Malaysia and shocked the market with a full-spec price of RM107,900. That might not initially sound like the deal of the century, but after a bit of analysis, we can see why this is such a big deal in the Malaysian market.

Honda WR-V Is A Change In Product Strategy

The WR-V replaces the BR-V in Malaysia and even the engineers who made it have informed us that the two products share a similar chassis with modifications past the B-pillar. Honda Malaysia understood that the BR-V might have had a tough time competing against the Perodua Alza and Toyota Veloz, so it decided to focus its effort on a new segment.

Honda WR-V RS

With the WR-V, Honda Malaysia has seen that there are plenty of buyers who just want the SUV shape. Most rivals have been very slow to react to this change in ASEAN customer tastes. Honda have jumped right on and given an alternative to the City and City Hatchback with the WR-V. It’s a similar size, the same proven and efficient powertrain and with the latest equipment and advanced driver assist systems too.

Pricing And Value Is Actually Good For 2023

The previous HR-V started at around RM99,000 and was an overnight success in Malaysia as it had little to no competition. Many buyers were singles, couples and very small families. Now the new HR-V has gone up in price and so the WR-V has stepped in to take up the slack at around the same price.

Honda Weekend carnival

Yes, you can get the base model WR-V at RM90K, but we suspect the RM96K WR-V E spec is where a lot more buyers will ‘start’ their journey. In fact, Honda says that 43% of the bookings they collected prior to launch were for the top-spec RS model and they anticipate that this will become 60% of monthly sales for the BR-V. At under RM110K, the WR-V RS is pretty good value in this economy, considering how much equipment it packs for people who don’t need a larger vehicle

The WR-V Enters Before Its Rivals

Another thing to consider is the fact that UMW Toyota and TC Euro Cars have yet to introduce any SUV or crossover model near the RM100,000 mark at all. In fact, the only Japanese make with a similar entry is Mazda with the CX-3. And in their case, it’s the base model that starts at RM108K where Honda’s full-spec small SUV is fully-loaded at that price.

Toyota could introduce the Raize here, but it would be a tough sell against the Perodua Ativa, which is essentially the same car with some Toyota flavour. Nissan could have introduced the Kicks, but chosen to focus its resources elsewhere. As for Kia, they had the Seltos before Naza handed over the reigns and Hyundai’s too hasn’t brought in anything compact and affordable with an SUV shape. With no rivals from the non-national brand segment, Honda is free to explore the possibilities of this market segment for a long, long time.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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