Toyota Innova HyCross Review: Hybrid Theory

Toyota has loaded the Innova HyCross with tons of features, creature comforts, and ADAS functionalities, but a big change is that the Innova HyCross gets a front-wheel drive monocoque architecture underpinned by the TNGA-C platform, as well as heaps of visual enhancements on the inside and outside. What exactly does this mean for our readers? a lot, sure, but more on that later.
9 mins read
20-Mar-23 01:00 PM IST

After the Urban Cruiser HyRyder, Toyota combines its much-lauded hybrid technology to one of India's most popular MPVs. Yes, it is the Toyota Innova in its third generation that receives a revolutionary petrol-electric motor engine that is vastly different from the Innova we've known so far. In its new guise, the Toyota Innova HyCross, 'Hy' for its hybrid heart and 'Cross' because it no longer looks just like an MPV but takes the crossover style far too seriously, bringing additional depth and character to the company's best-selling product in our market. Toyota has loaded the Innova HyCross with tons of features, creature comforts, and ADAS functionalities. But the big change is that the Innova HyCross gets front-wheel drive monocoque architecture underpinned by the new TNGA-C platform, as well as heaps of visual enhancements on the inside and outside. What exactly does this mean? Read on to find out! 

Toyota Innova HyCross Exterior

Exterior

The design of the Toyota Innova HyCross has changed drmatically, yet there are still a few light strokes that resemble to the previous Toyota Innova. This vehicle appears to be an SUV at first glance, but the MPV styling comes as evident when yiu observe closely, especially in profile. The front section is reminiscent of the new Toyota Hilux pick-up truck, with a new hexagonal-shaped honeycomb mesh grille surrounded by ample chrome and flanked by new pairs of LED DRLs and LED headlamps, with sharp creases all around. The 'T' logo is prominently displayed in the centre, while the lower section of the hood is adorned with 'Innova' lettering in chrome. The large bumpers with chrome components add to the overall SUV appearance. Toyota Innova HyCross Exterior all

Moving to the side, the Innova HyCross looks very identical to the previous Innova, except for larger 18-inch alloy wheels, smaller windows, and a tapering rear portion with a sweeping roofline. The quarter glass for the third row has also been decreased, reducing the space provided by previous versions. The heavily flared wheel arches are now squarish, which frees up a lot of space between them and the wheels and could have been compensated for with a chunkier set of wheels. Its hybrid heart is indicated by the 'Hybrid' label on either side. Toyota Innova HyCross

The rear maintains the family design with a robust bumper and wraparound taillights that are also LED-lit. The stance is also good and goes well with the overall proportions. So the new design of the Innova HyCross is rather butch, and while the SUV-inspired style may take some getting used to, the Innova now appears even more contemporary and stylish than before.Toyota Innova HyCross Back

Tech & Interior 

The inside of the cabin gets a makeover, and there's a lot to speak about. I'm glad you have tilt and telescopic steering wheel capability, which comes in use, especially during long-distance travels. The 360-degree surround camera provides a decent view of everything around the vehicle, although the pixel clarity could be improved. The driver and co-passenger seats are ventilated, although only the driver can be electronically adjust to his or her preffered position. A new addition here is the memory function for up to two settings, which adds to the convenience. Toyota Innova HyCross Tech & Interior

The dual-tone treatment on the dashboard and across the side panels on either side of the doors provides a nice soft touch feel, and the colour palette is superb. The instrument cluster has excellent visuals and changes colour based on the drive mode you choose. The hybrid system also allows you to watch the energy flow, and the readouts are simple to understand. The steering wheel also receives a slew of functions, including the ability to activate and alter cruise control speeds, adjust music levels, and activate a voice assistant. Toyota Innova HyCross Tech & Interior  2

A higher ride height makes sitting even more comfortable. The ZX variant we drove missed out on a few key amenities, such as a wireless charging panel in the recess on the dashboard in front of the co-passenger, which could otherwise be used to store a smartphone. A few extra features are included in the ZX(O) package, but their absence is not a deal breaker.

Second Row Space

Most owners would choose to sit in the second row and let me tell you, it has gone a long way in terms of comfort. The seats are comfortable, and there's plenty of knee room here, so even taller passengers won't have any problems. Through, headroom will be a bit of a concern as it might brush up against the headliner on speed bumps. In terms of size, the cabin feels airy owing to the wide panoramic sunroof, there are ambient lighting choices, and the seats themselves are quite nicely supported. It offers an appropriate amount of cushioning without being overly soft.

Length4,755 mm
Width1,850 mm
Height1,795 mm
Wheelbase2,850 mm
Ground Clearance185 mm

These seats also have well-measured scooping in the backrest, which provides adequate lumbar support. Ventilation for the back seat would have completed the 'boss seat package.' The wide reclining angle of these captain seats will certainly entice purchasers. You also have electronically folding footrests that extend to nearly 90 degrees, allowing you to literally lay on these seats. There are also enough utilitarian elements to keep the atmosphere comfortable. In terms of features, you now get dual-zone climate control, two independent climate control functions, two type C charging connections, cupholders in the centre console, and a dedicated area for your phones and tablets. It can be tumbled to give you easy access to the third row.

Third Row Space

The second-row seats do not collapse, yet there is just enough space for simple entry. The seats do require some time to adjust and recline, but once in the third row, you have just enough knee room and under-thigh support to be comfortable on a short ride, so two people will be fine. However, three youngsters will be perfectly content here. There is plenty of space for youngsters, and even prolonged travel will be not a problem. Adults do sit a little knees-up, and a larger quarter glass would have gone a long way towards providing a greater feeling of space.

Practicality

In terms of overall feel, the cabin is pleasant. You have sun blinds with plush materials used. You also have soft material on the door armrest. When there are more people on board, the middle-row seats have plenty of back-and-forth roller adjustment, making room for third-row passengers. Because of the floor-mounted battery pack, second-row passengers will be unable to tuck their feet beneath the front seats, but you can always use it as a footrest.

Engine & Transmission

The Innova HyCross is equipped with two powertrains- a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine combined with a CVT unit that produces 172 bhp and 205 Nm of peak torque. The other is what we're doing right now. A 2.0-litre petrol engine coupled to an electric motor, or as Toyota refers to it, a self-charging hybrid powertrain.

Toyota Innova Hycross2.0-Litre Strong Hybrid2.0-Litre Naturally Aspirated
Displacement1,998 cc1,998 cc
Max Output184 bhp172 bhp
Peak Torque206 Nm205 Nm
TransmissioneCVTCVT
0 - 100 Kmph9.5 secondsN.A.

A combined output of 184 bhp and 206 Nm propels the car from 0 to 100 kmph in 9.5 seconds, which is impressive for a car of this size. Accelerate, and the power from its hybrid engine feels smooth and effortless. The first thing you notice is the EV mode, which is when the car runs on an electric motor and battery. The sensation is identical to driving a pure electric vehicle because we never imagined the Innova being this quiet while moving. 

Ride & Handling

There are no more vibrations or unpleasant sounds from the engine in this newer, enhanced Innova HyCross. And different drive modes- Eco, Normal & Power make it much more enjoyable. When the car needs immediate power, gas the floor and the petrol engine kicks in to take control of things. We were curious to see how the new e-CVT unit performed, and while there has been some dispute regarding its usefulness, our initial views have been favourable. The combination of the CVT transmission and the hybrid powertrain results in very smooth driving for the Innova. This is certainly a plus, given that the Innova is positioned as a family vehicle. The steering wheel is also nice and firm, which is necessary for longer journeys. Tilt and telescopic adjustments are useful.

The Innova Crysta established a standard for quality and comfort, and the HyCross surpasses those expectations. The suspension has the exact amount of suppleness, and the undulations aren't too noticeable. Even if body rolls and vertical motions are manageable, the bumps aren't as harsh. Because of the monocoque structure, you don't feel any heaviness on the floor, and the NVH levels are quite low. It contributes to the premiumness because the cabin is quiet. In terms of ride comfort, the Innova has always been the preferred choice of wheels, particularly if you prefer to be driven around. And the HyCross takes it a step further. This is especially true for the Ottoman seats.

Safety Features 

The most notable feature is that all third-row passengers, including the middle seat, are provided with appropriate three-point seatbelts. Then there are utilitarian amenities like individual cupholders, and phone storage space but just one 12 Volt charging outlet, so there’s clearly potential for improvement here. It also has six airbags, including front and curtain airbags, but no third-row airbags. The Innova HyCross also includes Level 2 ADAS capabilities for the first time, which assists in numerous driver aids to help you keep your family safe. Along with it, the car also receives a pre-collision system, auto high beam, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, lane trace assist, and dynamic radar-guided cruise control.

Verdict

The HyCross lives up to the Innova moniker and has the confidence to continue the heritage. The only things missing are back seat ventilation and third-row airbags, both of which are available on the Tata Safari and Mahindra XUV700. However, their absence is not a deal breaker. The HyCross will be priced more than the Innova Crysta since it will be positioned above it. We anticipate that the base 2.0-litre naturally aspirated trim will cost around Rs. 24.8 lakh, with the fully loaded 2.0-litre strong hybrid variant costing around Rs. 32.5 lakh (ex-showroom). When we consider it as an affordable alternative to the Skoda Kodiaq and Kia Carnival, the package becomes even more appealing.

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