If you're looking for an affordable SUV that is a hybrid, then the 2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV and the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid should be at the top of your list. But which one is for you?
For as long as we've known it, Toyota and Honda have been the best of sparring partners. They both have excellent like-for-like cars in every segment and usually push each other to a higher standard - which is great for consumers.
In the modern-day, the Toyota Camry has to contend with the Honda Accord, the Toyota Corolla Altis has to fight with the Honda Civic, and the Toyota Vios/Yaris has the Honda City twins (sedan/hatchback) to play with.
But when it comes to crossovers, Toyota didn't really have a suitable sparring partner for the Honda HR-V. Yes, for a stint, the Toyota CH-R was considered the HR-V's sparring partner, but it could never amass the number of sales the HR-V was achieving in Malaysia, mainly because it was an imported model, which made it pricey.
So in our eyes, the HR-V was pretty much alone in Malaysia for a long time, but all that changed when the Toyota Corolla Cross came about in 2020.
Since its introduction, the Toyota Corolla Cross has understandably stolen the HR-V's limelight. It's a newer car and in every way more modern than the second generation HR-V. Despite being popular right off the bat, sales of the Corolla Cross started picking up when UMW Toyota introduced the CKD model back in January 2022 - which made them better value for money.
So for about six months or so, the Corolla Cross was the "it" crossover for the Malaysian market, but Honda Malaysia wasn't sweating because sales of the third generation HR-V had just begun in Thailand, which meant that Malaysia would have it soon too.
So here we are today, having witnessed the launch of the all-new third-generation HR-V in Malaysia, which means that the Toyota Corolla Cross is about to go head-to-head with its rightful sparring partner.
There are many variants available across the range for the Honda HR-V and Toyota Corolla Cross, but what intrigues us the most is the bout between the hybrid models, the 2022 Honda HR-V RS e:HEV and the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
To look into this further, we put their specifications side by side.
+ Electric Motor
Engine - 127
E-Motor - 253
253 (Honda states a total
torque output for its
Engine - 142
E-Motor - 163
(Toyota says the TCCH is a parallel hybrid
which has no combined output as the
distribution of torque between the
engine and the motor is varied so both
run in their optimum operating range
as much as possible)
Claimed Fuel Efficiency
Fuel Tank Capacity
(LxWxH in mm)
8" Touch Screen
9" Touch Screen
Auto Emergency Braking
Adaptive Cruise Control
Lane Centring Assist
Lane Keeping Assist
Auto high beam
Hill Descent Control
Blind Spot Monitoring (Honda LaneWatch)
Lane Keep Assist
Adaptive Cruise Control
Blind Spot Assist
Auto High Beam
Front Collision Warning
If you put them side by side, it's quite hard to say which vehicle is the larger vehicle, but according to the dimensions, it's pretty clear that the Toyota Corolla Cross is the bigger crossover out of the two.
The Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid has this traditional, muscular rugged look going for it, while the Honda HR-V RS e:HEV looks svelte, headlined by that coupe-like shape which is most pronounced from the middle part of the car all the way to the rear.
Although that coupe-like shape has given the HR-V every right to be part of any fashion week, it does have its drawbacks, such as compromising boot space. Not only has the boot space shrunken in size when compared to the outgoing model, but it is also 120 litres less than its sparring partner.
To be blunt, there's no denying that the Honda HR-V's interior feels way more premium than the Corolla Cross'. This is mainly due to its design which is trendy chic. Everything from the infotainment system to the aircon vents feels more premium and stylistic.
While we like the premium feel and look of the HR-V's interior, we can't help but feel that the utilitarian feeling interior in the Toyota Corolla Cross will probably last the test of time.
Everything feels well put together, robust and will probably withstand harsh treatment from its passengers, especially when they are kids. There's no denying that Toyota has gone for a more practical approach, which some might actually prefer over an interior which is trendy.
But then again, the Honda does have those amazing ULTRA seats at the rear, which might come in handy if you need to haul large and tall items.
Despite both being hybrids, they both actually feel different in operation. In our opinion, the Honda HR-V's hybrid powertrain feels like a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) that's just highly refined. It's smooth like an electric vehicle but with the vibrations and sounds of a combustion engine.
The Toyota Corolla Cross, on the other hand, feels like it has two characteristics, depending on which mode it is in. At low speeds, where it can sometimes rely mostly on the electric motor, it does pass off as an electric vehicle, but when the engine kicks in, the Toyota just feels as rough as any other vehicle that has an ICE.
If you are in slow-moving traffic most of the time, then the Corolla Cross is pleasantly futuristic, but if you're driving at higher speeds, then the crossover just feels as archaic as any other non-electrified car as it heavily relies on the engine.
Both cars are neck and neck in the safety department. The HR-V is kitted with the latest Honda Sensing suite of safety features, and the Corolla Cross is equipped with latest Toyota Safety Sense.
They both have enough safety and driving assistance features that can help drivers avoid hazards as well as make life easier. The Toyota does pip the Honda, but only because it has one extra airbag and a 360-degree camera (have to check again). But all in all, they both have a good amount of safety kit.
Both the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid and the Honda HR-V RS e:HEV are fantastic cars. In their own right, they have something unique to offer potential buyers. If you had to choose one, it'd probably boil down to which look you prefer and what's available.
If you prefer a traditional, muscular and rugged-looking crossover, then the Toyota is for you, but if you like to match your trendy clothes with a svelte-looking car, then the HR-V would be the better choice.
The reason why we say it'll boil down to looks is that they are pretty evenly matched. Yes, the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid will probably ask less from your wallet when it comes to the dreaded re-fuelling time, but the Honda HR-V e:HEV is not too bad either.
They are both comfortable, easy and fun to drive. The Honda however does make you feel like you are sitting in a coupe which should give you that sporty feel, while the Corolla Cross has a more easy-going but commanding feel to it.
We can ramble on and compare the two all day, but in all honesty, at this current juncture, you'll probably just get what's readily available because the news from the grapevine is there are long waiting lists for either crossover. Luckily they are both worth waiting for!
Wants to live the simple life, especially when it comes to cars and bikes. That's what tech is for he reckons, to make motoring simpler