Toyota Innova Hycross first impression review: Innova Crysta on hybrid steroids
- SUV-ish looks
- Big on space
- Strong hybrid engine
- No plans of diesel engine yet
- Wheel size could have been bigger
Toyota Innova has been a power performer on Indian roads for decades and needs absolutely no introduction to absolutely anyone here. And if Innova was the trusty choice on the vast landscapes of the country, the Innova Crysta bridged the divide between fleet and private owners in a way no other passenger vehicle had or still has. But while Crysta continues to rule the large MPV segment, evolution was inevitable and in the face of a string of newer three-row people movers in the market, Toyota Innova Hycross is all set to descend here as a potential game changer.
The Innova Hycross has several claims to fame apart from its ‘Innova’ name tag. It is promising a dominant road presence, intimidating styling that is more on the lines of SUV body type, plenty of space in the cabin and a strong hybrid engine that significantly enhances the mileage of this mile muncher. Does the Innova Hycross then tick all the right boxes ahead of its official price launch?
Here's a first-impression review of the all-new Toyota Innova Hycross:
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How big is the Toyota Innova Hycross:
The Innova Crysta has always been a family vehicle with the dimensions to fit in everyone, and then some more. The Innova Hycross builds on this and enhances the numbers further still. The Innova Hycross measures 4,755 mm in length, is 1,845 mm wide and stands 1,795 mm tall. It has a wheelbase of 2,850 mm which ought to translate into more space on the inside.
|Innova Hycross vs Innova Crysta - dimensions||Hycross||Crysta|
|Cargo space||300 litres||300 litres|
While the Innova Hycross has bigger dimensions than the Innova Crysta, it is more likely to connect with potential buyers through its looks that are significantly different. While still an MPV largely, the SUV-ish credentials as far as visual cues are concerned, are undeniable. It is like the Crysta went to the gym and pumped iron, and walked out as the Hycross. Leg day was skipped though because while the big front grille, large wheel arches and stretched window lines look great, the 18-inch alloy wheels somehow look small.
What's inside the Toyota Innova Hycross:
Three rows of seating and the promise of adequate space for seven passengers. Make some excuse and leave the seventh passenger at home because for six, there may not be a more comfortable car in this segment than the Innova Hycross.
The first-in-segment powered Ottoman Seats in the middle are generously plush and turn into a beach bed replica at the press of two buttons - one for the back recline and the other for the foot rest. The dedicated roof-mounted AC vents, large panoramic sunroof and typically big windows with manual shades further elevate the ambience. There are two Type-C charging points on the center console and the lack of a floor hump ensures acres of foot space. On the flip side though, there is no foldable tray on the back of the front seats - remember, the Crysta has these - and the center tray between the two Captain Seats is absolutely flimsy.
The second-row seats do fold and slide easily enough to ensure relatively simple entry into and exit from the third-row seats. Space here too is quite adequate - in relative terms - but three adults won't want to be plonked here unless absolutely necessary. The dedicated third-row AC vents and charging points may be used to convince them. And even with all seats up, there is enough at the absolute rear to fit in two carry-on suitcases. Of course, split and flat-fold seats will allow for a lot more to be packed in.
The quality of the quilted upholstery on the seats, soft-leather material on the dashboard, a vertically-oriented center console, new steering wheel design and a feature list that includes a 10.1-inch touchscreen, 9-speaker JBL sound system, 7-inch TFT driver display, wireless phone charging, ventilated front seats, powered tail gate and powered driver seat with memory function are well thought-out additions.
How is the Toyota Innova Hycross to drive?
Now we didn't get nearly as much time as we would have wanted to test every aspect of the Innova Hycross on the move. But in our 50-km highway test, there were some clear takeaways indeed. The Innova Hycross will be made available only with petrol engine option - one with and the other minus the strong hybrid motor, and both mated to automatic transmission units. We got to test drive the strong hybrid version.
|Toyota Innova Hycross Hybrid - specs|
|Engine||5th Gen Petrol Hybrid|
|Max Power||183.7 hp|
|Engine Torque||188 Nm|
|Motor Torque||206 Nm|
The Innova Hycross is miles more refined than the Crysta but that was always going to be the case. It starts off silently on the electric motor and power delivery is in tandem with the engine at moderate speeds. Aggressive throttle inputs and/or at high speeds, the engine-only mode kicks in. Much like on the Urban Cruiser Hyryder, all of this is courtesy the car having a smart brain of its own. The objective? To offer the best possible mileage.
There are also three drive modes - Eco, Normal and Power. On the highway stretch with the test unit having just me and no luggage, we tried to get a glimpse at the fuel efficiency - it was at 17 kmpl mark. This is reasonably good because minimal braking meant the batteries weren't getting charged as much as these would in heavy traffic. But also consider that the vehicle was in Eco mode for around 40 of the 50 kms.
Beyond mileage, there are more factors to like too. The transmission is mostly capable of slotting the correct numbers based on throttle input and the Innova Hycross continues to boast of car-like character despite being a large MPV. The suspension and steering appear typically well-engineered even if we would reserve our final judgement on this till a more extensive drive. The NVH levels too are mostly well controlled, apart from engine noise occasionally filtering in when pushing the car forward. Overall, it clearly appears that the Hycross builds on the fair points of the Crysta and complete with ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), covers most of the bases well.
Should you buy the Toyota Innova Hycross?
It is a little difficult to answer this without knowing how Toyota will price the Innova Hycross. This especially so considering the company will continue to also sell Innova Crysta.
The Innova Crysta on its own is a mighty comfortable MPV with plenty of space. But if mileage and even more comfort are absolute priority, the Innova Hycross may end up making more sense. The wait is now for how much of a mark-up in price it commands.