2023 Maruti Suzuki Invicto vs Toyota Innova Hycross comparison review - Who did it better?
We've driven the Toyota Innova Hycross quite a few times now, and in a range of situations, it has proved to be worthy of the Innova name. But could its toughest challenge be coming from within the fold? The Maruti Suzuki Invicto promises all that makes the Innova what it is but with the assurance that the country's largest carmaker carries. So is there more to it than just the badge these two MPVs carry?
2023 Maruti Suzuki Invicto vs Toyota Innova Hycross styling
The Toyota Innova Hycross does a convincing job of bringing a more expressive SUV theme to the Innova's quite functional MPV look. The big grille and high bonnet are what buyers want in their three-row cars these days and the Hycross does enough to stand out on the road with this.
But look at the two together, and Maruti Suzuki seems to have pulled one off here. The Invicto catches your eye first with its bolder grille treatment. It's not gaudy but fits in just right with the twin chrome bands extending into the shared lighting. The more intricate detailing of the grille also works with this and we also think the three-segment Nexa light lignature stands out more than the simple DRLs in the Hycross. But you lose out on fog lamps in the Maruti and the Toyota does reclaim some ground with its more aggressive detailing in the bumper.
The Toyota also does better in profile. Both MPVs carry on with the SUV inspiration here with the sculpted bodywork and the sleeker glass area and roof line. But you get 18-inch wheels with the Hycross in its top trims which give the car a noticeably more proportioned look. The Invicto again is flashier with its dual-tone alloy design but these don't quite fill the wheel wells as effectively. Also, both the cars here do a good job with the paintwork, the less-than-ideal quality notwithstanding. This Innova's dark green hue adds a luxury car-like class while the usual Nexa blue on the Invicto stands out too.
There's little to choose between the two in terms of how they look at the rear. You have the three-segment look from the front repeated at the rear with the Invicto, while the Innova again seems to go for a more familiar theme with the horizontal lighting. You get a functional boot in both. There's space for a couple of overnighters with all rows up but the load lip is low and the space is wide and flat when the third row is folded flat.
2023 Maruti Suzuki Invicto vs Toyota Innova Hycross interiors, practicality
Much like the outside, the Invicto and Hycross are very similar on the inside. You have the same dash layout, with a fairly modern liner theme that focuses on functionality and durability. But there's also some degree of finesse here befitting these MPVs' price tags. Aside from some uneven panels in the lower reaches of the dash most of the visible touch points are soft, the buttons have a tactile feel to them and the part-digital instrumentation is easy to navigate and has a bright display.
Good thought has been given to practicality too. It's a welcome change from the norm to see hard buttons for most functions, the dash-mounted gear selector falls to hand easily, especially during u-turns and there are deep storage bins all around. You also have both Type A and C charge ports.
That said, the 10.1-inch touchscreen system leaves quite a bit to be desired. It feels dated with its bleak display that catches glare easily, and limited functions. You also don't have wireless Android Auto(just Apple Carplay) but the Invicto compounds this less-than-ideal experience with its 6-speaker audio system. The JBL-branded 9-speaker unit in the Toyota does better but still not as well as competitors.
But the Innova does do a better job of bringing about a sense of luxury to the cabin with its tan upholstery that contrasts well with the general grey look. The Maruti Suzuki can't quite match this sense with its all-black theme, although the copper highlights in place of the silver in the Toyota do add some charm.
The Innova carries on with this sense in the second row. This space is already impressive with the great degree of adjustability and practicality that's available. Even the tallest passengers will have enough legroom, although the battery pack placed under the front seats eats into the footroom. The high roof offers a good amount of headroom despite the panoramic sunroof with the spacious feeling compounded by the large windows. The separate climate zone, the sunshades and the nifty folding centre console further add to a comforting experience.
The Toyota's colour scheme again holds it in good stead, although we would have liked more soft surfaces here in both cars. But the powered seat recline and ottoman feature really do become a highlight. In the real world, the powered seatback is only a slight addition to comfort but it gives this space a notably more upmarket feel. The ottomans leave a more lasting impact. They prop your feet up for a good deal more comfort and they also seem to add to thigh support. The Invicto's captain seats without this function aren't as comfortable. The backrest adjusts quickly but needs more effort.
This manual adjustment in the Invicto makes it easier to access the third row. While these manual seats also don't fold completely like in the Innova, they are quicker to get out of the way. The third row is again nearly identical in both, but the darker theme of the Maruti Suzuki does hem you in a bit. But otherwise, this space is perfectly usable for even adults on mildly long journeys. The monocoque TNGA construction makes for a flat, low floor so there is more thigh support than usual. The seatback and cushioning are also just right like in the rest of the car, which when combined with the reclining function, makes for a good amount of ease here. There's enough legroom to stretch out a bit when you tuck your feet under the second row. Although this space is good for no more than two, despite what Toyota and Maruti Suzuki claim. You have separate vents and storage spaces here but we would have also liked USB charge ports.
2023 Maruti Suzuki Invicto vs Toyota Innova Hycross features, safety
The top Maruti Suzuki Invicto Alpha Plus seen here is effectively placed between the Hycross' VX(O) and ZX variants. So both get features like full-LED lighting, ventilated front seats, eight-way power adjustment for the driver, the 7-inch driver's display, auto headlamps and wipers, dual-zone climate control, panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting, PM2.5 air filter and connected tech.
The larger 18-inch wheels, ottoman seats, 9-speaker JBL audio and a suite of level 2 ADAS functions are only available on the Hycross, aside from some convenience features like a mist function for the wipers and adjustable second-row armrests. These are additions that in our books bolster Toyota's slightly more premium appeal.
Safety features available on both include TPMS, 360-degree cameras, front and rear parking sensors, hill hold and an electronic parking brake.
2023 Maruti Suzuki Invicto vs Toyota Innova Hycross driving impressions
At first, there's really not much to differentiate the way these two cars drive. So it's still a step up into the driver's seat with the slightly raised floor in the front, and once seated, you are faced with an SUV-like driving position. The seats themselves are wide and the steering wheel is large and thoughtful in the layout of its buttons. The contours of the bonnet let you place the car well and the front cameras, though grainy, are a great help in traffic.
The hybrid system is identical in both and seems to function as such. There is a 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle petrol motor that puts out 154PS and 190 Nm paired with a 113PS and 206 Nm electric motor, with an e-CVT in the mix for a combined 186PS. The Toyota can also be had with a lesser 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol.
You usually start in electric power but the petrol motor fires up quickly enough once you start picking up speed. Here the e-motor and engine work cohesively to keep moving you along. The system does a commendable job of optimizing both powertrains to not make the whole thing feel unnatural. So progress is smooth and linear as long as you keep things steady. That said, you will have to get around to the fact that the engine note doesn't always tell you if you are actually picking up speed. This doesn't take very long to get used to but more intrusive is the motor's gravelly note and the vibrations that you feel in the cabin.
This CVT does well enough to meld the two outputs together, especially with the torque from the e-motor filling in here, but there's not quite the immediacy you want when you are looking to make up speed quickly in comparison to a torquey diesel as our rolling acceleration times show. There is a power mode and a sport mode for the gearbox that does amp up the sense of urgency notably, making these MPVs brisk in outright acceleration.
The Maruti Suzuki Invicto is the more comfortable of the two here over the rough stuff. The 17-inch wheels and possibly a slightly softer suspension tune to go with this mean that you find potholes and broken surfaces filter into a lower extent in the cabin than the Hycross. At higher speeds, the difference closes where both do well to iron out smaller imperfections. As before, you will find the suspension in both to be somewhat busy over our uneven highways and noisy over broken roads, but this also improves as you load the car up with passengers.
The Toyota Innova Hycross shines with the way it tackles its mass. The larger, wider 18-inch tyres mean that it leans into bends more progressively and confidently, the Maruti seems to run out of traction around quicker turns earlier making for a less composed experience. The steering also feels a bit more direct and with there not being a lot of roll, the Innova especially is a reassuring, maybe even fun, experience around a winding road. You also get used to the brakes in both easily, there's not a lot of the lightness in the pedal from the regen function. Both are effective but the Hycross again feels more confident and does a bit better during panic stops with its tyre choice.
2023 Maruti Suzuki Invicto vs Toyota Innova Hycross fuel efficiency
We also put the two MPVs through a real-world fuel efficiency test, and no surprise, the two cars were close to each other. The differences you see are probably down to battery sizes and charge levels in the hybrid system's battery. This can affect mileage notably as our earlier experience suggests but on this occasion that wasn't the case. In this test, our city and highway numbers were fairly close to each other possibly due to heavier than usual festive traffic on the highway and light city traffic over the holiday season. This meant that the e-motor had more opportunities to intervene at higher speeds and less so in flowing city traffic. The Hycross managed 21.32 kmpl and the Invicto did 22.3 kmpl.
2023 Maruti Suzuki Invicto vs Toyota Innova Hycross verdict
The Toyota Innova Hycross in its top ZX(O) variant seen here is priced at Rs 36.56 lakh while the Maruti Suzuki Invicto Alpha Plus(7 str) costs Rs 33.40 lakh. We think these two cars are too similar to go wrong with either. The hybrid powertrain, build and cabin layout are strong points in both. The Maruti Suzuki grabs more attention and is more comfortable but the Toyota seems to justify its added price convincingly with an overall more premium experience in the cabin that the added features and colour choices bring.
2023 Maruti Suzuki Invicto vs Toyota Innova Hycross scorecard
2023 Maruti Suzuki Invicto vs Toyota Innova Hycross real-world mileage, performance
Starts Rs 5.4 Lakhs