1 week with my new Toyota Innova Hycross: Driving experience so far

Toyota is called the king of hybrids abroad for a reason.

BHPian Cresterk recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Been more than a week with the Hycross and loving the driving experience so far.

I have mostly been driving it in eco mode but it's still decently powerful even on the highways. Even on smaller roads, I don't notice the speed it's doing until the 80 km/h chime. The steering is light but very precise. Even lighter than my i20's electric power steering but heavier than the Citroen C5 which remains the lightest steering I have used. Turn off Lane departure assist and go wild on curvy hill roads. It handles pretty well, you can take turns repeatedly without touching the brakes and even change directions on a dime without any drama and minimal body roll. Clearly, the shift to monocoque and EPS have its advantages.

Amusingly, I have had several Crystas and first gen Innovas driving aggressively around me. I didn't realise the first gen Innovas were also doing it until I noticed the way some of them were jerking as the driver slammed through gears to keep up. They don't cut me off but they do accelerate quite hard next to me just to brake hard at traffic ahead. Tempting but I'm trying to keep the needle within Eco range at least until the break-in period and the first service is over

Brakes too are pretty good. You get decently-sized disc brakes on all wheels and the brakes are very responsive. There is no play in the brake pedal like we are used to with normal cars. Just touching the brakes immediately increases regen braking which can be modulated with the pedal and feels very similar to regular braking. Push the pedal harder and the actual brakes also kick in. It's not possible to feel when the switch happens, but since the car is brand new, there is a slight squeak as the brake pads engage. Toyota has done a lot of work to keep the driving feel as close to a regular car as possible.

Similarly, it's not possible to tell from inside when the switch from the electric motor to the engine and back happens unless you either look at the MID or you are paying a lot of attention. The switchover and acceleration are quite seamless and very linear no matter whether it's the motor, engine or a combination of both driving the car. Toyota is called the king of hybrids abroad for a reason.

Noise insulation is another thing I hadn't noticed while driving the dealership test drive cars because I mainly was flooring it or the AC was set too high. The sounds of dogs barking, people yelling etc are immediately cut off when you close the door. It's not enough to silence the noise of the Goodyear Triplemax 2 tyres that the car came shod with though. Will upgrade to Michelin Primacys the moment it's worn out.

Speaking of noise, the ventilated seats get very loud, especially in the highest setting. This is not the tech used in the Land Cruiser or Toyotas abroad. I think this might be part of the sharing exercise with Maruti since the foreign "Innova Zenix" doesn't get this feature.

The powered trunk too is loud when operating, even with the beeps they have clearly added to mask the noise.

Headlights are not impressive as I described in an earlier post. Light output is not that good and hotspots and dark zones and high beams only light up a small section on the right-hand side. I also miss the adaptive cornering lights of the i20 when I take U-turns or smaller intersections in the dark as the car is literally driving into a patch of darkness. Auto high beams work very well and they can recognize cars, bikes, scooters, oddly designed trucks and buses etc from street lamps or other lights. Even on curves or hills, it dims or switches to brights faster than I normally could all without having to take my hands off the steering in the middle of a turn. You can override it temporarily by just using the stalk. This is one feature I'm very happy with.

ADAS works decent enough and I'm happy that they gave dedicated buttons for it right on the steering wheels so you can easily toggle adaptive cruise control or lane trace assist or change set speeds without fiddling around with a stalk behind the wheel. Needs a long 3 lane highway trip before I can use it properly though.

On a recent beach trip. Dog takes every opportunity to jump into the ventilated front seats when parked.

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