Hybrid SUVs: 2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV vs Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid - what can Malaysians expect
Sanjay · Mar 25, 2022 06:26 PM
At this point, the Toyota Corolla Cross has etched its name as Malaysia's current de facto SUV. This was the Honda HR-V's perch once before too, but in the face of its own age and newer rivals, it finds itself in quite a tight squeeze.
It's up to the all-new model to regain lost footing then, which is set to be introduced here within the second half of this year (H2 2022). We're still months away from launch, so details are obviously scarce, but trusted sources have shared with us that there could be up to three different engine options for it.
A comparison between them can be read here, but in this piece we'll pit the Thai-spec HR-V e:HEV hybrid (the closest relative to ours) against the Malaysian-market Corolla Cross Hybrid, to give you a better idea of what to expect upon its arrival.
Under the hood of the Corolla Cross Hybrid is a 1.8-litre Atkinson cycle 2ZR-FXE petrol engine (98 PS/142 Nm), paired to a 72 PS/163 Nm electric motor, giving total combined output of 122 PS. Drive is channeled to the front wheels via an e-CVT automatic transmission.
Performance is certainly a lot faster than the 122 PS total output suggests, which is less than the 1.8V/1.8G's 139 PS. Aided by instant power by the electric motor, the Hybrid's power delivery is a lot more immediate, whereas the regular petrol variants can feel a tad more lethargic when overtaking uphill.
In the Honda there's the Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) system, similar to that found in our City/City Hatchback RS e:HEV. In this set-up, a 1.5-litre Atkinson cycle engine (106 PS/127 Nm) is paired to the two-motor e:HEV system that adds 131 PS and 253 Nm.
That said, combined outputs are not disclosed, and it's not possible to simply add the engine and motor outputs as they peak at different rotational speeds. Honda at least says that performance is comparable to a 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated engine (remember the City RS ad that egged the Camry?)
Output for the HR-V's engine could be tweaked when it comes to Malaysia (Thailand-market cars are turned for gasohol fuel), but it'd be wise to expect a milder tact instead of a sportier tune later.
But the regular hybrid customer look for another set of numbers, and that's fuel consumption figures. For this, Toyota quotes 4.3-litres/100 km, while the Thai-spec HR-V e:HEV hybrid is claimed to sip 3.9-litres/100 km.
Features: Both have a long list of kit
If you're looking for an interior that just pops, then the Corolla Cross Hybrid's cabin...might not be it. The lifted-from-Corolla Altis dashboard and silver inserts between a sea of black isn't winning any design awards, but it makes up for it in robustness and ease of use.
Slipping into one and knowing just where everything is and how to work them are what Japanese cars do best bar none, and the Corolla Cross is no different. And when it comes to toys, there's plenty you get for the money too.
Leather seats with 8-way power-adjustment (for the driver only, passengers get manual controls), dual-zone air-cond (and air-cond vents for rear passengers), and a vibrant 7-inch screen digital readout in the instrument cluster are nice touches we like.
Though the infotainment touchscreen may look a little bit dowdy, but at least it's got Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. This will undoubtedly be matched by the HR-V once it arrives here, as this feature is already in the model sold elsewhere.
In terms of cargo space, the Corolla Cross offers a 440-litre boot. More space can be had by folding the 60:40 split-fold seats down.
The Thai-spec HR-V on the other hand offers similar levels of kit, coming with said smartphone connectivity, rear-air cond vents, 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and leather upholstery.
Headlining that list is its distinctive 'air curtain' feature, which directs a soft breeze along the windows, creating a gentle vortex that doesn't impact directly on passengers, but cools the cabin all the same.
Its instrument cluster is a semi-digital unit (more than likely will carry over here, as its shared with the Civic and City RS), and in the Thais' range-topping RS variant there's a panoramic sunroof (less than likely to come here, considering cost).
Practicality-wise, the HR-V offers the uber-practical, multi-way foldable Ultra Seats that should help with your trips to the local plant nursery. But that's not the only thing that the HR-V one ups the Corolla Cross...
On the Thai-market HR-V, the Sensing suite encompasses:
Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
Road Departure Mitigation (RDM)
Adaptive Cruise Control with Low Speed Follow (ACC, LSF)
Auto High-Beam (AHB)
Lead Car Departure Notification (LCDN)
Where the Honda HR-V gains major points in through its electric parking brake (EPB), meaning that its adaptive cruise control will have genuine stop&go capability (Honda calls it LSF, Low Speed Follow), something with the Corolla Cross’s DRCC (Dynamic Radar Cruise Control) that’s paired to a mechanical, foot-operated parking brake can’t do.
Pricing - What to expect in Malaysia?
Currently, the Corolla Cross Hybrid starts from RM 136,550 (inclusive SST exemption until 30-June 2022). It's plenty competitive for a car that packs so much, and at this price it's also the cheapest hybrid SUV in Malaysia.
The HR-V has got its work cut out for it then, but our sources are confident that the 2022 Honda HR-V's price in Malaysia will be very competitive against the Corolla Cross, hybrid variant included.
With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.