Toyota Innova HyCross First Drive Review - Hybrid Innovation

The Toyota Innova has been the mainstay of the premium MPV market since it first arrived in 2005 to replace the outgoing Qualis. Over the years, the Toyota Innova has undergone quite a few changes as it kept up with the times and gave other carmakers a never-ending migraine.

In 2016, Toyota updated the MPV and gave it the Innova Crysta nameplate. The new Innova Crysta sported an updated design that ensure it remained a hit and the comfort levels inside went up another notch. Under the bonnet, the presence of two diesel engines meant that it became a favourite of the mile muncher brigade as well.

Now, more than six years after the Crysta's arrival and 17 years after the OG Innova hit the streets, Toyota has changed the game once again with its innovative MPV. Now bearing the name Innova HyCross, the premium family carrier has gone down the SUV design path and sports an innovative strong hybrid setup under the bonnet which promises to make up for the lack of an oil burner.

So just how much has the all-new Toyota Innova HyCross changed the game? Have the innovations made it an even more attractive proposition? We drove the Toyota Innova Hycross in Bangalore to find out...

Toyota Innova HyCross Exterior Design - Going Down The SUV Hyway

The Toyota Innovas of the yesteryears all looked like a proper MPV should with curves in all the right places. However, with SUVs becoming the go-to vehicles for buyers today, the design masters at Toyota decided that it was time the new Innova went down the SUV design path.

At the front, the all-new Innova HyCross features an upright nose section with a large hexagonal grille that features chunky chrome surrounds. The grille is flanked on either side by edgy wraparound headlamps with triple LED lights, LED position lamps and a chrome strip running across the top. The bonnet also features some bulges that add to the butch SUV looks of the new Innova.

Lower down on the front chunky front bumper is where you'll find triangular cutouts which house the dual-purpose LED DRLs that also act as the turn indicators. Also seen is a large air dam section split into two with the lower portion flanked on either side by what appear to be fog lamps.

The sides of the new Innova HyCross sport the chunky wheelarches that play host to large 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 225/50 R18 tyres. The front and rear flanks are accentuated by the design lines of the new HyCross and give the MPV a very muscular look.

The rear section of the new Innova sports sleek wraparound LED taillights that are connected by a thick strip of chrome. Also seen is an integrated roof spoiler that plays host to the third brake light. The new tailgate is a powered unit, so getting it open when you have the groceries is a breeze now.

Toyota Innova Hycross Interior & Features - Hy On The Luxury Quotient

The Toyota Innova's interiors have always been quite upmarket but the new Innova HyCross takes cabin luxury to a whole new level of indulgence.

At the front, the multi-layered dashboard features quite a bit of soft-touch material and features quite a bit of quirky innovations. The dominant central section flows down from the large 10.1-inch infotainment display into the controls for the multi-zone climate control system and the high-mounted gear lever.

Another quirk is the placement of the wireless phone charger that sits in its own slot in the dash just above the glove box. On the other side of the dash, behind the large steering wheel sits a 7-inch driver's display flanked by gauges on either side with the one on the left giving more details about the innovative hybrid system.

While the dashboard and its gadgets are quite a big upgrade, the Innova HyCross is in essence a premium MPV and its cabin more than matches any expectations you could have. The top ZX-spec HyCross models sport Dark Chestnut Art leather upholstery that ups the luxury quotient of the Innova.

The front seats are ventilated with the driver's seat getting 8-way power adjustment and memory function. However, the second row of seats are the ones you want to be in the new Innova HyCross.

With the new powered Ottoman function enabled, these large captain-style seats allow you to stretch out in style. You can lie back and see the world through the large panoramic sunroof while enjoying your favourite tunes through the infotainment setup (with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay) that comes paired with a premium 9-unit (8 speakers & 1 subwoofer) audio system from JBL.

The third row of seats isn't one to scoff at either. There is quite a bit of space on offer and these seats also recline so long journeys shouldn't be much of a hassle if you find yourself delegated there.

The new Innova HyCross comes packed with features including multiple charging ports for your devices, rear sunshades, electrochromic IRVM, the aforementioned power tailgate and multi-zone climate control with automatic controls for the rear blowers. Also seen is Toyota's i-Connect connected car suite which adds 65+ features like remote ignition start/stop, remote door lock/unlock, remote AC control and more that can be controlled through your phone and smartwatch.

The new HyCross also features a host of safety features like 6 airbags, vehicle stability control, hill start assist, reverse parking camera, front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree camera.

The new HyCross also sports the Toyota Safety Sense suite of advanced driver aids. These driver aids include dynamic radar-guided cruise control, lane trace assist, blind spot monitoring, and pre-collision warning among others.

Toyota Innova HyCross Driving Impressions - Hybrid Innovation Shining Through

The Toyota Innova HyCross is offered with a choice of two powertrains in India. The regular 2.0-litre petrol model pushes out 172bhp and 205Nm of peak torque and is connected to a CVT gearbox that sends power to the front wheels (another first for an Innova).

The other powertrain option - the one that lends the new Innova its HyCross name - features a 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle engine producing 150bhp and 187Nm of peak torque and an electric motor that pushes out 111bhp and 206Nm of torque. The powertrain is paired to an e-CVT gearbox (sending power to the front wheels) and Toyota has limited the peak power output to 186bhp.

We got to drive the all-new Innova HyCross hybrid and found the power delivery from the petro-electrical mashup to be quite linear. The HyCross features a brand new monocoque setup which has made it quite a bit lighter than its predecessor and this combined with the more than adequate acceleration levels from the hybrid powertrain allows the big MPV to smoothly cruise its way up to triple digits.

The new Innova Hycross sports a rather soft suspension setup that allows it to smother out the effect of bumps and ruts on the road with ease and makes long journeys a breeze, something that is no doubt aided by the excellent NVH levels inside the cabin.

However, don't expect the new Hycross to take corners like a champ as despite the new monocoque frame, the soft suspension setup means that there is quite a bit of body roll when you push this big behemoth through a sharp curve on the road.

The Innova HyCross also features quite good levels of regen which can be tweaked with the help of the paddle shifters and this combined with the all-wheel disc brakes means that the new Toyota MPV comes to halt without much fuss.

Final Thoughts About The Toyota Innova HyCross - A Hylight Reel Of Innovations

The all-new Toyota Innova HyCross not only lives up to the legacy of the premium MPV but takes it to a whole new level with its innovative new hybrid powertrain and luxurious interiors. While we would have liked a bit more time behind the wheel, the new Toyota Innova HyCross seems set to take forward the dominance of its predecessors into a new Hybrid era.

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Article Published On: Tuesday, December 6, 2022, 12:05 [IST]
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