Crossovers are so popular right now that several automakers are even trying to pass off conventional hatchbacks as high-riding utility vehicles.

The latest example of this trend is the Honda WR-V, a new pseudo-crossover for the Indian market.

Despite the extra plastic body cladding and slightly-different front and rear fascias, the WR-V looks very similar to the Honda Jazz subcompact hatchback it's based on.

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The Jazz is sold in the U.S. as the Honda Fit and lends its platform to the HR-V crossover also sold here.

Unlike the Fit-based WR-V, the HR-V is an entirely separate vehicle, with different styling and dimensions, a tall ride height, and available all-wheel drive.

That's something the WR-V won't have when it goes on sale in India March 16, according to Indian Autos Blog.

Honda WR-V (Indian-market version)

Honda WR-V (Indian-market version)

The WR-V (the name stands for "Winsome Runabout Vehicle") will be front-wheel drive only, with two engine options for Indian buyers.

A 1.2-liter gasoline engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission or CVT, and a 1.5-liter diesel is available only with a 6-speed manual.

First shown at the 2016 Sao Paulo Auto Show, the WR-V will be sold in various South American countries as well as India.

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It's unclear what additional markets might get the new model—but the U.S. likely won't be one of them.

U.S. Honda dealers will happily continue to peddle the Fit and HR-V without this odd in-between mashup.

However, a vehicle that is somewhat similar in concept to Honda's WR-V is coming to the U.S. this year.

2017 Chevrolet Spark Activ

2017 Chevrolet Spark Activ

That would be the 2017 Chevrolet Spark Activ, another hatchback with a taller ride height and specific styling features like fog lights, a new grille, and plenty of plastic body cladding.

Like the WR-V, the Spark Activ is mechanically similar to the subcompact Spark hatchback it's based on, and doesn't offer all-wheel drive.

Confusingly, certain automakers no longer seem to acknowledge the availability of AWD as a requirement for a true crossover utility vehicle.

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General Motors insists on calling the Chevrolet Bolt EV a crossover, and Kia does the same with its Niro hybrid—although neither model has all-wheel drive.

But perhaps that's to be expected in today's SUV-crazy market.

The word "crossover" may make it a lot easier to sell an otherwise-unpopular small car than the words "hatchback" or "wagon" that actually describe it.


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