This one opinion might upset many but I believe that Toyota should have never borrowed the Mild Hybrid variant and Suzuki in the same way should have never borrowed the Hybrid variant in this market.
BHPian tjsi recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
I wanted a kind of a car that I could drive in the city, on the highway, over craters of New Delhi and into waterlogged roads of Gurgaon without compromising on maneuverability, mileage, ground clearance and comfort and I do all of that with this car.
The Hyryder is very good at doing a lot of these different things and that’s something that as you progress into the car world, you generally have to accept that its either going to be a good car to run up a mountain or crawl through narrow roads of Lajpat Nagar market.
I sort of refused to accept that there are no cars that can manage all of my requirements but the good people at Toyota heard my thoughts and prayers and they did whatever they could to make this car streetable yet travel hundreds of kilometers without breaking a sweat and your wallet.
Chapter 1: No Country for Old Sedans
The market and roads are being dominated by cSUV’s. Owning and driving the Fortuner, I believed that these cSUVs aren’t real SUVs, “pseudo SUVs” if you will, but they work better in daily-ing scenarios.
So do I now believe that they’re real SUVs?
No. But credit where it’s due, they get the job done without the price tag of a real SUV.
Low maintenance, relatively affordable, feature rich and high GC helps to anticipate traffic flow. People buy these cars to compensate for the government’s incompetence to build decent road infrastructure and streamline the traffic flow. Even though sedans are highly practical, stylish and fun to drive, it just doesn’t make sense to drive them anymore in times like these, at least not to me.
During the rainy season my heart aches to take the City through the water logged roads in my route and I, being a doctor, can’t afford to miss work. I never take the Fortuner because my dad has to go to work and only the City has the doctors parking access sticker and more importantly it’s a fuel guzzler which gives the same amount of drivable kms in double the amount of fuel as the City. It was never bought to save money or fuel but in my case it just doesn’t make sense to daily it almost 85kms a day.
My sister is a surgeon and has started work elsewhere she now needs her City back. I did consider buying a used Creta but in September 2022, a colleague who was driving his Creta got into an accident and passed away on the spot.
I had always had known about Hyundai’s notorious cost cutting on safety because most wrecked cars that I see on my route are Cretas and Swifts so that drove me clear of the decision.
Chapter 2: Rage Against the Machine
Why not other brands or diesel or EV alternatives? There are a lot of choices in this segment and it’s rather overwhelming. I had requested TD for Seltos, Kushaq, New Brezza, Thar, Nexon EV and harrier.
Long story short
- New Brezza – strong contender. Would’ve gone for the top variant if I hadn’t liked the Hyryder.
- Creta – Poor paint, always peeling from edges, questionable safety. I see at least one creta every day with a shot DRL or tail light.
- Seltos – See Creta.
- VW/Skodas – I know 2 people who own top of the range Skoda’s, none of them are happy with their cars. They suggested I look elsewhere since my running is quite a lot.
- Nexon and Harrier – They felt quite soulless. Also that ancient 407 truck logo is a major ick. They can change their whole brand image if they modernized their logo like Mahindra did.
- Thar – My nearest Mahindra SC is almost 20 kms away, It doesn’t have the refinement that I’m looking for in a daily and the interiors felt like a gulag torture chamber.
- Diesel alternatives – I can’t stand the diesel KHADKHADKHAD noise. Also with the recent nuisances of DPF issues and all, I don’t have the time or energy to deal with any of it. Diesels are cheap only at the gas station. (not anymore)
- EV alternatives – limited choices and expensive choices, EV infra is still missing in most places across the country, it’s super slow and doesn’t work most of the times. Range anxiety is the proper term.
I wanted something that will start every morning without fail and get me to the hospital parking and back to my driveway.
Chapter 3: High Hopes
The Hyryder Hybrid was an instant choice for these reasons.
- Japanese trust and Toyota reliability
- SUV form factor with best in class ground clearance (210mm)
- Godly mileage for my daily usage
- Latest and greatest comfort features to stay relevant for up to next 5 years
- Good road presence and aura so I wouldn’t get bullied by the bigger cars anymore
- The ‘HYBRID’ badge feels exclusive.
It was on 27th July when I booked the car in Gaming Grey. My dad was quite reluctant to go with the Black colour so I picked the lighter shade.
However with a change of heart I ended up changing it to Café White because the other 2 cars in my garage are also white so I didn’t want any other colour messing with the theme of my fleet.
So in that space of time I discovered internet forums about hybrids and this became the car I would take to my work place the very next day after delivery.
It’s kind of famously a unique system to drive with a electric motor to help initially propel the car along with the engine to remove the need of a bigger fuel guzzling engine or a turbo charger that could fail on you, and Toyota has spent over 20 years refining it just to provide you with a reliable and pleasant feel, and it is a car that will take off easily if you put the pedal to the metal depending on the situation, but if you can control your intrusive thoughts to highway battle every turbocharged Korean/European car you see zooming past you, the benefits of this configuration are pretty significant.
And if you can learn to use the B mode on the lever properly then it becomes a very effective tool to extract every single kilometer from each Liter of petrol.
Chapter 4: Until I Found You
Test drove it as soon as it was available and felt satisfied with my choice.
For the Hyryder I had originally opted for the G hybrid variant but after experiencing the latest tech like ventilated seats, 360° cam, etc and the lack of leather seats and leather steering wheel in G variant I decided to bump my booking to top V hybrid without any extra waiting period. The car feels like a generational leap compared to the other 2 cars. The only things that I wish the City and Fortuner had is the car play or android auto.
I used to commute in my sister’s City CVT total 80kms in one day from Delhi to Gurgaon since the past 3 years and I am thankful to it every day for keeping up with me and not giving me any major problems. I take care of the car like it’s my own child.
Chapter 5: Kickstart My Heart
I will not be sugarcoating my views about the any of these vehicles or defend any of the quirks. Manufacturers should be questioned about what they did and why they did it.
Here’s my experience compared to the Honda City and Toyota Fortuner, a rather odd comparison, but an interesting one to provide a good contrast between the dynamics of these vehicles.
1. Special Abilities
- City – rolling acceleration is phenomenal.
- Fortuner – with one flash of my lights people would clear up the way for me.
- Hyryder – is best of both worlds. Toyota sure knows how to make a good looking car with an unique aura. People give way just to get a look at the car, it’s quite a head turner! I get out of congestions quicker and end up with a better mental health at the end of the drive.
- All of them are the best looking cars in their segment. No one can convince me otherwise.
- Honda city 4th gen is one sexy looking car that still holds up. I’m sad to see it being discontinued. I’m not a fan of they newer one since it looks reminds me of the Verna which reminds me of the Audi A3.
- Fortuner has always been a pretty and chonky looking car. My mom really loves the pre-facelift version with the hood scoop.
Where engineering, design and function come together and Hyryder is a fantastic meeting point for me.
3. Ride quality
Hyryder – takes the no. 1 spot, absorbs bumps like a champ and feels very comfortable. Its best of both worlds.
The 115 bhp doesn’t sound too much by segment standards but all of the real work and the genius of this car is in the hybrid system and the suspension. Power looks great on paper but suspension is what really gets you around and this is car does a fantastic job because of its suspension.
City – I can feel every bump but its otherwise okay. Predictable and stable at high speeds.
Fortuner – feels like a boat. My legs feel funny because I feel like I’m floating on air. On broken roads Fortuner is unbeatable and glides over broken patches, potholes and what not. It’s great for the kind of route I drive on otherwise.
Did high speeds on a highway. Very scary. Never again!
4. Build quality
Fortuner on top, both Hyryder and City are on par, and the City is a damn tough car. I have no idea what kind of tanks people are driving around in to call this car “light” and “flimsy”. It feels quite solid to me.
The doors not closing with a lighter force is definitely annoying but you get used to applying a bit more force. The back doors don’t have this characteristic.
Overall I’m satisfied with the Hyryder.
Hyryder – ventilated seats are very comfortable. The highest setting is very loud but 2nd and 1st sound better and ventilate sufficiently. I love it.
The back seat however when sitting relaxed feels a bit cramped to me. Honda cars really spoiled me in this department. Even fortuner can’t match them. That being said, I wouldn’t want to fit 3 adults back there.
City – is comfy to sit for long drives. It has leather seat covers installed so I’m sure the original seats underneath are even more comfy like they were in my old CITY 2005 ZX, 2013 Brio and 2009 CRV AWD. All Hondas are overkill in the comfort department.
In the back seat Hondas have space, and then some more.
Fortuner – somehow gives me back ache. It needs a better lumbar support. 3rd row is almost functional but it’s not for adults and I’d rather have them removed to liberate more boot space for trips.
This is the car’s weakest point and this has been emphasized upon by every automobile journalist/youtuber. Big families that make many trips to the airport may not find this appealing, but I think those kind of families would anyway be looking towards higher budget and segments.
I think that people tend to forget that this car comes with functional roof rails, and they’re also available as a genuine accessory so if you’re planning to carry more you can always have a rack installed up there.
I know this a very bad example and I’m obviously kidding with this picture. That being said, you shouldn’t be carrying delicate instruments in the boot, unless you really, really have to, then detune the strings. So always remember, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!
Anyway, here’s a picture of all my hobbies fitted into the boot for reference.
The middle seat belt comes in handy securing items like this. Bottom line is, you can either fit a full sized golf bag or a guitar with its hard case but not both.On a serious note, fitting in a check in luggage is not a problem if you’re carrying only two.
I’m still waiting for the day when I have to treat patients at 9AM, make a Tee time at 12PM, click wild life at 4PM and play a gig at 7PM… (P. S- I’m looking for hobby buddies so PM me if you happen to be into photography or golf or play any instrument )
That being said, Center console storage, cup holder position and glovebox storage is a joke. Like why did they even bother? They should’ve just put another seat in the middle like HM Ambassador!
If you were to remove the 3rd row completely in the Fortuner then you could easily save money on packers and movers cost, and to add to that, it has roof rails up there.
I love that it has an abyss worth of space in its center console. Cooled glovebox is great to keep your documents cool in case you get pulled over on a hot day.
All Hondas are the most spacious vehicles in their respective segments. Period.
7. Driving experience
The Hyryder in sport mode feels faster and punchier than the City CVT normal mode, mind you the City is also an agile and fun to drive car. Hyryder has a better E-CVT system that eliminates rubber banding compared to City and Fortuner.
There were countless times when the City wanted to crash into the cars in front on a slight tap press of the accelerator so I mostly kept it on eco mode to avoid that.
Fortuner doesn’t react like that but overtaking on D mode would shoot up the revs up to 4-5k rpm. This was overcome by using the manually shifting on S mode. 2nd and 3rd feel amazing on uphill mountain passes and 3rd and 4th gears feel amazing while overtaking at high speeds.
8. Engine Sound and Performance
All cars today have enough power to carry 5 people and their luggage and still drive at the limit of the road. They’re just designed that way.
The fastest expressway in India is limited to 120km/h which cars with NA 1.5L engines can achieve with no problem.
The general rule is that overtaking should always be done at low speeds only. I believe that If you’re looking to overtake a person driving the limit just because you don’t like to have someone in front of you then that’s an ego issue that no amount of displacement can solve. Been there, done that. Drive safely, responsibly and respectfully.
Fortuner The petrol has a beautiful bassy engine sound. It sounds like a huge cat purring aggressively. Sweet spot is around 3-4k RPM where it gets really torquey and purry. I love launching it every time I’m the first person at a traffic light.
It has 3 power modes Eco, normal and power. It’s sufficient to drive in eco mode and on highway it gets eager to bully the fastest cars ahead.
City It sounds like a typical Honda as the memes describe. VTEC kicks in whenever the hell it wants to and I love it. I call it the Highway Star. It’s a really spirited car and I love accelerating on it every chance I get.
The screaming iVTEC engine redlines at 7K RPM and I get the whole Honda cult(ure) among tuners
It has only 2 modes, eco and power. Normal mode really brings out why Honda is loved by people around the world, it just shows you true the nature of it. Eco mode would sometimes feel sluggish but it’s great to drive around in city conditions of traffic crawling and conserving fuel. I merge on highways in normal mode and switch to eco after 60Km/h.
Hyryder’s engine is a bit hoarse compared to others at low speeds and during initial acceleration while it’s warming up but gets quieter after 40. I feel that it doesn’t like to rev. The EV mode on the other hand is silent with a very faint cartoonish UFO sound which gives the car enough push to seamlessly transition to engine and pull comfortably till 80Km/H which is the ceiling that I adhere to.
It has 3 modes like the Fortuner, eco, normal and power. It’s all fun and games until you switch to power mode and that’s when It gets City level quick. It had no problem merging onto the highway from 40-80.
Credit where its due, this 3 cylinder engine by Toyota is as good as any other 4 cylinder. I’m sure tuners will come up with a ECU remap soon and really juice up that power mode.
- I tried to extract as much mileage as I could while keeping up to schedule.
- I drove my cars from full tank until the refuel light came up.
- I drive with a heavy and a light foot whenever I feel like, switching between different power modes whenever needed
- I accelerate up to 60-80Km/hr in power mode while merging on highways and put it in eco mode and use cruise control between that range.
- I rarely exceed 100.
- AC on.
- Drives were a mix of both city and highway. (30:70)
- Driving style includes using “pulse and glide” technique and using cruise control whenever I can. Low engine breaking in the City CVT helps it keep rolling.(Pulse and glide is basically accelerating until you reach a good speed about 80, letting off the gas and then getting back up, rinse and repeat while trying to keep the fuel usage bar as low as possible. Cruise control helps a lot)
- Putting the B mode to use by activating it before coming to a stop, approaching speed breakers and during downhill section of the flyovers. Engine breaking in D mode is stronger than City CVT. Fortuner generates a lot of friction since aerodynamics are basically non existent.
Hyryder – Driven 290kms in 4 days. City and Fortuner would’ve been at half tank by now. I feel that I would need to refuel it every
ODO Mileage after 360kms- 20.7Km/L and rising. I will update When I get it refueled.
City – 460kms. Refuel on 5th day morning with about 100kms range still left. Final mileage – 15.7km/L (my personal best right before I retire this car. I could’ve done a 16 if I hadn’t sat in parking with it idling for 30 mins).
(note- the picture was taken on 4th day morning)
Fortuner petrol – 560km towards Jim Corbett national park. Final mileage – City 6.4 – Highway 8km/L.
It’s more of a Smiles Per Liter thing with this one
All three cars feel similar in experience, but if I had to rate, Hyryder and Fortuner are on par with each other and city close second.
Hyryder feels more modern and up to date. I love the full leather steering and the sunroof with its film rolled back really makes it feel roomy. However I feel its door panels and the Roof liner is too flimsy. The left door armrest vibrates when I play bass heavy songs. It was easy to miss and never would’ve even been detected but I caught it and will get it checked at service.
Fortuner feels more “premium” as per 2018 standards and that’s true for all models being made today. The feeling is retro but it’s very solid.
City has too many glossy plastics on it so it catches dust and fingerprints easily and is now scratched up quite a bit.
Extra points to Hyryder for digital cluster and the HUD. Initially the HUD felt gimmicky and unnecessary, but ever since I took delivery, I have been using it regularly only because it pops out and goes in all by itself and I never thought I’d like it this much!
I never expected Hyryder to feel premium on the inside, coming from the City and Fortuner, damn it does. It’s good enough and I like it.
The sunroof film isn’t all that bad honestly, I like some natural light and I have been driving with the film rolled back. Somehow I don’t feel like the sunroof will heat the car up more than any other in the parking lot. Can’t say much since it’s peak winters at time of writing.
Hyryder wins here by a long shot. The TPMS, 360° cam, ventilated seats, Sound system, massive touch screen, android auto and car play, sunroof, HUD, tinted glass, app control and wireless charger.
360° cam is the most useful feature to me because I always have trouble judging the amount of space in front. In the parking people would tightly park perpendicularly and I had to get out myself or take help of guards or a passerby to spot me out of there. The 360° cam fulfilled its purpose.
Just slightly infuriated that the car model in the animation looks like the international S cross.
The Fortuner and City have none of these.
However I believe that these cars are so reliable just because they didn’t have much to go wrong with. They still hold up in their own way but the consumer experience is definitely turned up to 11 with Hyryder.
I was particularly disappointed with the Fortuner because it feels so barebones and outdated in the features department for that huge asking price. It felt no better than our 2009 CRV.
Features I Wish They Came With
Hyryder – Adaptive Cruise control that Honda city e:HEV comes with at the same price. It’s a huge missed opportunity, at least the V variant should’ve had it. Electric seats with memory function for times when my sister or father take it out for their purpose.
City – Apple car play/Android auto. Honda updated their infotainments from 2019 which had that. Mine is a 2018 model which came with a buggy Android KitKat based infotainment.
Fortuner– Apple car play/Android auto, 4×4 or AWD, hill hold, hill descent control for petrol engine would’ve been confidence inspiring during outstation trips. Even our 2009 CRV petrol was full time AWD! But It’s 4×2 is no joke and is still highly capable. This picture was taken after getting down a risky and steep and twisty down hill (felt like 30-40 degrees incline), that led to a temple on the riverside in Nahan. You can tell we made it back up because I’m writing this.
1.Since I drive it the most, there were a few times when the engine would experience power loss even after service was done. It felt like driving with hand brakes on. I turned it off and started it again and it hasn’t happened again.
Happened twice in 4yrs of ownership, nothing major, probably just a nervous ECU.
2. The sudden jerk at crawling speeds is scary so I have to keep a safe distance but the downside is that I always get cut off by the person in the other lane. Eco mode solves this problem.
3. The front bumper always has a gap even after getting it put back. It’s apparently present in all 4th gen Cities, and a service center agent told me it’s because “the bumper is very heavy because of good build quality”
4. The seat belt gets stuck in the trunk latch and opens while driving. Always have to take care when getting in.
1. Judging the left side was a huge challenge, but it helped me become a better driver.
2. Steering is soooo damn heavy. I have to wrestle it just to make a U Turn.
3. Assistants at the petrol pump always confuse my petrol variant for a diesel variant and as a reflex and even after repeated reminders they once even put diesel in it! The car had done only 5K kms on the ODO when that happened and by the time we noticed we had already driven it 2kms. The car became jerky.
1. TPMS is in kPa and there’s no way to change it to PSI… What. The… Fix this garbage, Toyota!
2. The doors taking a solid pull to close properly is the most common complaint, along with that not all of driver door panel controls are illuminated. They’re just trying to save pennies at this point isn’t it Toyota?
3. Steering wheel controls are poorly laid out. Music skip buttons should’ve been with the volume controls and menu navigation buttons should’ve been with the cruise control buttons. I always end up changing the cluster menu trying to skip music. I need to know what were they even smoking while designing that.
I hate when manufactures can’t follow a basic consistency in their cars to give you a feeling of being in their ecosystem. Fortuner and City controls are better sorted.
4. (IMPORTANT!) Few days ago on the Hyryder official Team BHP Review I had pointed out that I had been hearing an abnormally loud rumbling sound apart from the engine sounds coming from the car that would even vibrate the floor. It started right when I took the car out of the showroom, lost sleep thinking I had been given a dud.
Long story short, it turns outs that the cold Delhi weather and brand new motors is a bad combination. The sound became quieter as It broke in with more kms on the ODO and as the engine the temps got warmer while running.
There’s no mention about this sound in the manual or reviews and I was astounded that no one ever pointed it out.
Also, the car would slightly try to move forward when the generator turns on in Park mode. I wonder what’s that all about.
I’ve done 360kms as of now. ODO mileage 20.7km/L and rising. The sound from generator is now much lower but noticeable during cold starts and gets quieter as you drive.
I have observed that the engine stays on for a good while even without the defogger on If you’ve cold started the car early in the morning. Will have to see how it behaves in Warmer weather.
As you start driving, It takes about 15-20 minutes for the temperature gauge to reach optimal temps, and in that while, the EV battery gets fully charged and warmed up and you can hear snapping/clanking noises many times which Toyota has described as normal. They sound like a small stone that comes flying on to your cars wind shield.
If you’re starting up that car a few hours later the car will turn on the engine to warm up but it will only charge the battery up to 2 bars.
One way I found to forcefully bring it to use the battery is to restart the car on a stop light. So if you have 2 or more bars it will switch to EV mode quicker. I think it’s better to let it do what it wants to.
I will keep updating on this.
If I could remap the buttons I’d do it like this.
13. Added mods
Hyryder – Hella Chrome Dual Trumpet Horn, 70Mai pro+ A500s dashcam, 7D floor mats by hotcarshop.com, doctor stickers (+10 respect, +10 BHP), planning for a rear bull bar like the fortuner.
City – Hella Dual Chrome Trumpet Horn 70Mai pro+ A500s dashcam, CEAT Securadrive 185 65/R15, Honda genuine Seat Covers, Portronics phone holder, bumper guards, doctor stickers (+10 respect, +10 BHP)
Fortuner – 70Mai pro+ A500s dashcam, Chrome garnish on headlights, tail lights, rear bull bar, front bumper guard, 3M PPF.
No need to change the horn, people move out of the way just looking at it!
14. Controversial opinion
This one opinion might upset many but I believe that Toyota should have never borrowed the Mild Hybrid variant and Suzuki the same way should have never borrow the Hybrid variant in this market. I am aware that int. suzukis are available in hybrid.
They could’ve saved on the production costs and either fulfilled more hybrid bookings quickly or given the Hyryder unique interiors and made both the cars unique products on their own.
Even though Toyota makes both these cars in their Bidadi factory and as much as I hate to say, this is actually a 10.5L rupees car which is later bumped up by the original Toyota power train and other comfort features. My point being, if they had charged a little more towards better quality material or structure reinforcement, they could’ve gained the approval of the masses looking for safety and quality but they chose the mass volumes route to make it affordable and compete with Creta and Seltos.
The only thing that is “Suzuki” about this car is the cabin. It does not bother me that it feels like a Suzuki on the inside but they could’ve done it better, like at least the steering wheel could’ve been original. They did what they did and I honestly like it a lot. I can only complain about the doors, weird steering controls and the roof liner.
I’m kind of glad the interiors are not proper Toyota on the inside. Proper Toyota interiors feel very out dated to me.
Even for Grand Vitara it’s a bit cliché to make it feel the same as New Brezza, which is better value for money compared to GV’s top model.
We need to understand the cost cutting required to keep them relevant in the market otherwise the base Hybrid model would’ve easily costed over 20L+ Ex showroom.
Chapter 6: …And Justice For All
CITY iVTEC CVT –
75k on the ODO and I’ve loved every moment with it, its spirited and eager to sprint, just a bit low for my usage. I would’ve driven it till it fell apart.
I realised one thing after completing this post, that I haven’t written much negative about the City. There really isn’t much to go wrong with the Honda City, or in fact, any of the Hondas that have been in my family. I get why the City has been loved by people for all these years. I would have bought a Honda cSUV e:HEV if they had come out with it sooner.
FORTUNER PETROL CVT –
20K on the ODO. We bought it for road trips and it’s been a real pleasure. This one’s a keeper.
HYRYDER HYBRID V –
No brainer if its boot is sufficient for you and you can afford to shell out 17.5L+(Delhi) on this car. It’s my ultimate daily.
The car is justified as a proper Toyota simply because it comes with a proper Toyota powertrain and design language. Whether it’s relevant or not, I think is irrelevant.
Neodrive/Mild Hybrid – Better go with Grand Vitara, or better yet, save some money and go for the New Brezza.
Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.
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