Home / Home / Toyota Innova HyCross Road Test – Innovatively Efficient


We explore the latest iteration of the Toyota Innova HyCross that comes with a new hybrid powertrain, creature comforts, and ADAS functions.

Story: Kurt Morris
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

The Toyota Innova HyCross Hybrid multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) is a new and innovative vehicle that creates a new segment among the MPVs in India. It is the first MPV in India to be powered by a strong hybrid powertrain which combines a petrol engine with an electric motor to deliver excellent fuel efficiency and performance.

The Innova HyCross Hybrid is sure to appeal to a wide range of buyers, from families looking for a comfortable and fuel-efficient MPV to businesses looking for a reliable and versatile vehicle. With its strong hybrid powertrain and advanced features, the HyCross Hybrid promises a lot. We find out if it can deliver on all those counts.

The HyCross is a car that genuinely deserves to be seen in person, for images fail to capture its impressive design. At close quarters, it presents itself more like an SUV rather than an MPV, exuding a remarkable road presence. The front of the vehicle is reminiscent of the new Toyota Hilux pick-up truck, featuring a hexagonal honeycomb mesh grille surrounded by stylish chrome accents. The sharp creases of the grille are accompanied by striking LED daytime running lights (DRL) and LED headlamps. Chrome lettering displaying “Innova” adorns the lower part of the bonnet, while the Toyota logo proudly sits at the centre. The SUV allure is further enhanced by the chrome accents on the bumpers. Throughout the car, you’ll find “Hybrid” emblems, giving a clear indication of the HyCross’ advanced hybrid system.

When observed from the side, the HyCross closely resembles its predecessor, with the exception of the larger 18-inch alloy wheels, sleeker windows, and a tapered back end featuring a sweeping roof-line. The third-row quarter glass has been reduced in size, occupying less space compared to previous iterations. While the current squarish shape of the flared wheel-arches could have been balanced by larger wheels, there remains a sense of harmony. At the rear, a robust bumper and LED-lit wrap-around tail-lights maintain the consistent Toyota design language. The overall proportions of the vehicle contribute to its poised stance. Though the SUV-inspired design may take some getting used to, the Innova HyCross exudes an even more modern and refined aesthetic compared to its predecessors.

While the Innova is renowned for its roomy cabin and smooth ride, the HyCross adds a number of innovative features that transform the MPV class. Since many customers will spend a lot of time in the second row, let’s start from there. With the seven-seat option, you get Ottoman-style seats with extendable foot-rests. The top-of-the-line HyCross gives its occupants a lounge-like experience. According to one’s needs, the seats can glide forwards or backwards and are electrically adjustable.

​​As expected, there is ample head-, shoulder-, and leg-room. There is a foldable table with two cup-holders in between the captain seats in the middle row and, thanks to the independent climate control, the rear passengers can select both the temperature and fan speed of the air-conditioning. The Innova receives a panoramic roof for the first time, as well as side-mounted a-c vents positioned on the roof for the second and third rows to improve air circulation.

Toyota made sure two adults could be seated comfortably in the third row of the Innova and the HyCross delivered. Actually, it is now pretty easy to enter and exit the last row. Either two adults or three children can sit there comfortably. Toyota have provided adjustable head-rests and three-point seat-belts for each passenger.

Finally, we reach the cockpit and, as usual, Toyota have upgraded the inside with high-end material. With metal-finish inlays, the dashboard’s upper layer is finished in leather. A 10.1-inch infotainment system and an all-digital instrument panel are featured in the HyCross. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available wirelessly. The drive selector on the central console is quite user-friendly and the physical climate control buttons are far more practical and simple to use than contemporary touchscreen controls.

We must also highlight the impressive nine-speaker JBL audio system which delivered stellar sound quality. We really enjoyed this music system, the Innova being a silent petrol-hybrid.

The HyCross is one of the first Toyota cars to be fitted with either Safety Sense or autonomous driver assistance systems (ADAS) in India. As a result, the MPV is equipped with a number of safety systems, including six airbags, a blind spot monitor, a pre-collision system, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane trace assistance.

There are only two petrol engine options; a diesel alternative is sadly not available as of now. The 2.0-litre non-hybrid engine that comes standard is mated to a CVT. The true game-changer, however, is Toyota’s fifth-generation TNGA 2.0-litre Hybrid engine which is paired with an e-CVT automatic transmission. The “M20A FXS” four-cylinder petrol engine with a displacement of 1,987 cc and outputs of 152 hp and 188 Nm is paired with an 83-kW electric motor with outputs of 113 hp and 206 Nm as well as a small 1.37-kWh battery pack that is positioned beneath the front passenger seat to form the powertrain. With the assistance of the petrol engine, the overall output is 186 hp and the overall performance feels quite peppy when you get that instant torque from the electric motor. The hybrid engine guarantees that the car will continue to be fuel-efficient. Toyota claim that the HyCross returns about 21 km/l; however, after idling in Pune city traffic and travelling a bit on the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway bypass we managed to get 20 km/l, which is quite commendable for an MPV of this size.

The engine in this updated Innova HyCross no longer vibrates or makes annoying noises. Additionally, using Eco, Normal, and Power drive modes makes it a much more pleasurable experience. When the car needs power right away, it presses the throttle pedal and the petrol engine takes over. Our initial impression has been positive. The Innova drives incredibly smoothly thanks to its CVT gearbox and hybrid powerplant.

The HyCross is the first Innova with a front-wheel-drive system and a monocoque chassis. It feels more agile because it is about 200 kilograms lighter than the existing Innova thanks to the new base. The MPV is easy to manoeuvre and remains stable even at speeds above the three-digit threshold thanks to its low body-roll. However, because the top two variants, the ZX and ZX (O), feature low-profile tyres (225/50), you might need to watch out for deep ruts and ditches.

The Innova HyCross Hybrid has been priced at Rs 18.55 lakh and this price goes all the way up to Rs 29.72 lakh (ex-showroom). It is a little more expensive than its traditional rivals, but it offers a number of advantages, such as its strong hybrid system, spacious interior, and comfortable ride. It is a good choice for families looking for a spacious, comfortable, and fuel-efficient MPV.



About the author: Kurt Morris



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