Toyota Innova Hycross Hybrid Road Test Review

The Toyota Innova is one such car model that does not need any introduction what so ever. It has single handedly created its own full sized MPV segment and has ruled it since its launch way back in 2005. The car has been regarded as the benchmark in its class and a case study for its rivals. Owners swear by its reliability, comfort and zero maintenance virtues. Now Toyota has launched the latest 3rd generation of the Innova the Innova Hycross which has a many firs to its name. We spend some good time with it in Bangalore getting you all about the Innova Hycross in our review here.

Food for Thought

Toyota introduced the Innova its 7-seater MPV in India in 2005 that replaced the Qualis in the market. The 1st Gen Innova code named AN40 was a runaway success not only in India but also in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and other South East Asian countries. In 2009 the facelift Innova got an intercooler. The 2nd generation Innova AN140 was christened as the Crysta and launched in 2016. The third generation Innova AG10 which is the Innova Hycross will only be available in Petrol and Self Charging Petrol Hybrid. It is larger in dimensions and uses an all new platform, new chassis, front wheel drive and is totally style more like an SUV than a MPV. Also sold as the Kijang Innova Zenix in Indonesia India becomes the 2nd country to get it.

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Exteriors

The Toyota Innova Hycross is built on the GA-C platform shared with the fourth-generation Toyota Noah/Voxy which they sell in a few markets which makes it lighter by 170 kg compared to its predecessor. The Wheelbase is also increased by 100 mm while the length of the cabin was increased compared to the previous generation by 56 mm to 1,746 mm while the width of the cabin was increased by 46 mm to 1,488 mm. the Headroom is also increased by 32 mm. Overall the Innova has grown from all sides.

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Noteworthy here is that the fit and finish is of excellent standards and we loved the special paint shade on the car you see which is black but also appears like peacock green when light hits it. Toyota calls this shade as “Blackish Ageha Glass Flake” where ‘Ageha’ means Colourful Butterfly in Japanese language.

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In terms of looks the Innova Hycross looks more like an SUV now. You get a imposing broad grill with chrome surrounds and a large Toyota badge. The sleek design headlamps come with triple all LED beam. The front bumper gets lot of muscular flexes and some silver finish inserts along with a large silver finish skid plate highlighting that SUV appeal. The turn lights are placed in a horizontal strip inserted into the bumper and this also doubles up as DRL’s. The bonnet is upright and at a high rake and gets muscular character lines just perfect to make the profile look SUVish.

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The side profile gets its key styling elements with the squarish fiber cladding on the wheel arches along with muscular soft flexing on the waist area and towards the rear. The door handles are large and get a tinge of chrome along with the glass area which is large and now due to the rounded rear profile the fixed quarter glass is placed at a sharp angle finishing off the side profile in style. The Hycross drives on 18 inch wheels with multi spoke silver pattern. Wing mirrors are large and get the blind spot assist warning in them. The overall length and wheelbase that’s grown is clearly evident from the sides.

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The rear profile like the front and sides is very nicely done. Key highlights here include the slim LED taillights, large rear windshield placed at an angle, huge integrated spoiler and lots of character lines that define the tailgate and the SUV like bumper that comes with a large skid plate. You get the special Hybrid badging on the fender and the tailgate.

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Interiors

On the insides you are welcomes by a huge cabin with lot of light coming in thanks to the glass area and the huge panoramic sunroof. The dash is an all new design finished in black and tan with silver inserts. The instrument cluster is an analogue plus digital unit while the floating type touch screen unit that measures 10.25 inches is an all new unit that is compatible to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, FM radio, Bluetooth telephony etc. The dashboard gets an insert on the passenger side where you can place some stuff or mount the wireless charger that sadly comes as an accessory.

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The centre console is interestingly designed with its key highlight being the dash mounted transmission shifter that is designed like an aircraft joystick. Besides this is placed the electro mechanical hand brake, 360 view button, auto hold, drive mode,pure EV mode, and the traction control buttons. The Hycross gets a dual zone climate control for the front and middle rows. The steering is taken from the new gen Corolla which feels premium and meaty to grip. The seats get faux leather upholstery and also quilting styling, the driver’s seat gets full electric adjust with two memory function while the passenger seat is manual along with seat ventilation.

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Front seats offer excellent support and padding and the view ahead is very commanding. He middle row seat is where all the comfort is. Here you get two Ottoman seats that are electrically adjustable which includes adjust for the long slide.  You also get folding arm rests, foldable storage space and individual climate control setting here. AC vents are placed in the sides just above the doors.

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Sitting here is the best in the Hycross with loads of space, leg room, shoulder and headroom available while the knee room can be adjusted with the seat setting. Both these seats have electric adjust for backrest angle and footrest while they can be manually slide ahead to make space for entering the third row.

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The third row seats also get AC vents and adjustable head rests, AC vents are on the sides and you get some storage space as well. Seating here is pretty neat for a person like me who is 5.6ft in height. You can also adjust the third row seats for back angle recline as per comfort.

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The Hycross gets 991 liters of boot space thanks to the flat folding third row seats and even with the seats up you get loads of boot space.

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Engine – Hybrid system – Drive

Powering the Innova Hycross Hybrid is an 2.0L Petrol engine that makes 184hp of power and 188Nm of torque, supporting this engine is the electric motor powered by Nickel metal hydride battery making the Hybrid unit. This is the 5th generation Toyota Hybrid system in place. The transmission option is an e-drive automatic unit with sequential shift. Toyota claims 21.1kmpl of fuel economy on the Hycross Hybrid. You also will get a non Hybrid Petrol only model of the Hycross.

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Start the Hycross and the Hycross comes to life in the All Electric mode with zero noise, vibes or hindrances. Shift to the drive mode and the huge vehicle glides ahead in total silence. We never have seen an Innova do that before. The drive is super refined and silent due to the petrol and hybrid powerplants. The Hycross uses an monocoque setup now as compared to the earlier ladder on frame which makes the drive and feel very much like a premium sedan.  Body roll is minimum and the suspension set up is just perfectly balanced for our roads. Everything feels much better than the older Crysta. Power delivery is excellent and tou can actually see the engine or motor or both together give you the power as and when needed. You also get paddle shifters to have some more fun.

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The pure EV mode can also be put in use while coasting at 80 kmph you just need to drive with a light foot and you will see the Green EV light glow on the cluster telling you that the engine is shut off and you are now driving only on Battery power. What also impressed me is the tight turning radius that the Hycross comes with making the city drives very easy. Driving the Hycross is super fun and confidence boosting, you are never scared of driving such a large Crossover. In cabin comfort on the drive is excellent especially in the middle row Ottoman seats.

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Safety

Innova Hycross becomes the first Toyota car to come with Level 2 ADAS features which include – Adaptive cruise control, auto braking, pre collision assist, blind spot monitoring, auto high beam rear cross traffic alert and lane keep assist. Apart from this the Hycross also gets six air bags, ABS with EBD, all wheel disc brakes, 360 degree surround cameras etc.

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Competition Check

Innova Hycross which is a seven seater Crossover goes up against the likes of the Kia Carens, Hyundai Alcazar, Tata Safari, Mahindra XUV 7OO, Mahindra Scorpio N and also the Kia Carnival to an extent.

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Verdict

Replacing the Innova was never easy due to its strong virtues but Toyota with the Hycross has just taken the legendary lineage if the Innova ahead. The Innova is now more like an SUV and even drives like one, comes with tons of premium features which include a long list of safety features too. Comfort levels in it are also class leading. The Hybrid technology is amazing and works well which will help owners save a lot on fuel bills. A sure winner from the Japanese car maker. Another benchmark has been made.

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