An argument for no argument, with the Corolla Cross Hybrid as example
“Would you pull the trigger on a hybrid?” I am surprised how often I am asked this question. This means that there is much more knowledge to be disseminated.
People are still unsure about electric propulsion in cars, and there is, of course, a solid reason for that. However, let’s look at a few quick facts.
The first Prius was released to the public in 1997, in Japan. That is, as of now, over a quarter of a decade of experience in the public. This isn’t exactly a new technology.
Hybrids are, for the most part, something that will have no effect whatsoever on your daily drive other than to make it more quiet, more pleasant, and make you stop at a gas station less often. Please note that hybrids, just like the traditional internal combustion engines, can be tuned to do certain things. They can be tuned to be supportive and non-intrusive, such as with the above-mentioned Corolla Cross Hybrid. They can also be tuned, such as with the previously-featured Bentley Hybrid, to give you the most luxurious electric experience possible.
When we tested the Toyota Corolla Cross GR-S HEV (just call it the GR Hybrid) we were already quite familiar with the no-issue daily-use of the Toyota hybrid systems. When Toyota PH started to offer Cross Hybrids to the local market during the pandemic, the take up we saw led to our belief that this was indeed the game-changer mind-changer vehicle that would bring more people to the electric fold. It was being taken in by younger buyers, by small business people and entrepreneurs. We saw it being loaded with products and gear and equipment and pets and family. In other words, it was taken in as what is usually expected from Toyota, as a non-issue daily workhorse.
The electric ability was not the big story, just the support. Which is, at least in the Toyota way, as it should be. They are there to get you places, it isn’t your job to think too much about it.
The new Corolla Cross GR Hybrid is all that and a step up. It has some suspension tweaks that allow better handling, but much of the differences you will see are aesthetic. The sport leather seats are nice too. In general, my thoughts as to whether I would go basic or a step up in the GR would have to do with the aesthetics, and on those I am borderline. The engines across the model line are the same, gear changes handled by CVT. So, The GR badge is there, but you have the same skewed-to-efficiency power plant under the hood. Not weak in any way, but not a fire breather.
So, on pulling the trigger? No question, especially with the current ability to not waste time, money and space by having a car sit useless for a day thanks to the whole car ban thing. It isn’t a question of accepting the technology, it is a question of choosing model and brand.