Review: 2024 Toyota Innova Zenix Hybrid - A familiar friend in a brand-new hybrid super suit

Review: 2024 Toyota Innova Zenix Hybrid - A familiar friend in a brand-new hybrid super suit

The 2024 Toyota Innova Zenix feels like an old friend who has come back from a long vacation looking rejuvenated, sportier, and smarter than ever.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • How much is the 2024 Toyota Innova Zenix Hybrid?

    RM202,000
  • How much power does it have?

    Power output: 186 PS Torque: 188Nm (engine)/ 206Nm (electric motor)
  • How many seats does it have

    It technically has 8, but safe to say it's a seven seater
  • What safety features does it have?

    Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 (TSS 3.0)
  • What's its fuel economy like?

    we achieved a commendable 6.8L/100km
  • Toyota innova Zenix Hybrid rear view

    At a glance, the RM202,000 price tag may raise eyebrows, but what you're getting is not just any car; it's the promise of hassle-free ownership from a brand synonymous with reliability, and now with a Hybrid powertrain.

    Toyota has long mastered the art of crafting vehicles that become part of the family narrative, and the new Innova Zenix is no exception. If you've ever wished for a family vehicle that just works, this might just be your ticket.

    Reliable to the core: Great for those who just want transportation

    2024 Toyota Zenix Hybrid front

    There's a reason why the word "Toyota" is often followed by "reliable." The company isn’t in the business of surprises when it comes to vehicle dependability, and the Innova Zenix Hybrid feels like it has been created under this philosophy.

    You won't find the adrenaline rush of a sports car here, nor will you be dazzled by cutting-edge automotive gimmicks. Instead, Toyota offers a peace of mind that is almost Zen-like; it’s about having a car that’s there for you, rain or shine, just like a good friend.

    Those who are expecting to bedazzled by an extra premium interior due to its hefty price tag will be particularly shocked, as in typical Toyota fashion, it's more of practicality approach rather than flashiness. However, everything feels well put together and can withstand the harshest of treatment. 

    Stepping up: The TNGA Platform

    2024 Toyota Zenix hybrid sideprofile

    Gone are the days when the Innova was just another sturdy vehicle rolling off the Toyota assembly line. No longer can people say that the Innova is a Hilux pickup truck underneath with an Innova body on top.

    The shift to the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform is like moving from a sturdy pair of boots to a set of custom-made running shoes.

    Toyota Innova Zenix hybrid panoramic roof

    This new foundation doesn’t just hold the vehicle together—it enhances every aspect of it. The drive in the Innova is smoother than ever, the interior feels more spacious than ever, and the whole car just handles better. It’s like Toyota took a good thing and said, “Let’s make this feel as luxurious as possible without the degradation of luxury vehicles”.

    Under the hood: Hybrid power takes the Innova to another level

    Toyota Zenix Hybrid

    Let’s talk performance. The Innova Zenix hybrid is powered by a 2.0-litre Dynamic Force engine that churns out a respectable 152PS and 187Nm of torque.

    But the real magic happens with the addition of the hybrid system. This isn’t just about being eco-friendly; it’s about enhancing what the car can do.

    With the electric motor paired with an E-CVT transmission, the total output jumps to 186PS. That’s a boost that you can feel, whether you’re accelerating on the highway or cruising in the city.

    Toyota Zenix hybrid Hari Raya

    Where the previous Innova models may have seemed somewhat underwhelming and slow to respond, the new Hybrid system effectively addresses these issues by ensuring there's always ample power available, especially when accelerating to higher speeds. While it can be a bit noisy under heavy acceleration, this is a small trade-off for its robust performance.

    In urban settings and at lower speeds, the hybrid system really shines, with the electric motor providing a responsive and smooth acceleration that almost mirrors the feel of driving a fully electric vehicle. It's quiet and polished for the most part, until you really push it and the engine makes its presence known with a noticeable growl.

    A gentle giant in traffic

    Toyota Zenix hybrid steering wheel

    As we mentioned, the hybrid system shines brightest in slow traffic, where the Innova Zenix can glide silently in full EV mode. The transition between electric and combustion power is so smooth it’s almost imperceptible. This is where the Zenix truly feels modern. In the stop-and-go chaos of city driving, this car keeps its cool, providing a serene bubble that insulates you from the outside world.

    Given that it's a hybrid, you might expect the Innova Zenix to boast impressive fuel efficiency, and it doesn't disappoint. Despite not specifically aiming for 'eco-friendly' driving during the busy Hari Raya period, which included frequent stops and sudden accelerations in heavy traffic, we achieved a commendable 6.8L/100km. This translates to roughly 500km+ of range from an RM80 fuel top-up—an impressive feat under such conditions.

    Toyota innova Zenix meter cluster

    Moreover, while our initial driving style wasn't focused on maximizing efficiency, the Innova's performance suggests that achieving the manufacturer's claimed 4.6L/100km is well within reach with more mindful driving.

    This potential for enhanced fuel economy makes the Innova Zenix not only a practical family vehicle but also an economically wise choice for budget-conscious drivers. Vehicles this size aren't usually know for its fuel efficiency, but the Innova Hybrid can add that claim to its name. 

    Driving dynamics: Nimble yet steady

    Toyota Zenix Hybrid wheels

    While the Innova Zenix might not invite you to take the scenic route just for the thrill of the drive, it does offer an enhanced driving experience compared to its predecessors.

    The steering is lighter, the car feels more agile, and it’s easier to maneuver through tight spots. It even does U-turns very well, with a very tight turning circle. It’s like the big family dog that’s surprisingly good at dodging your toddler’s scattered toys.

    While there are comparable vehicles on the market that offer superior ride quality and handling, it's not to say that the Innova falls short; rather, its strengths lie elsewhere. It may not absorb road imperfections or deliver exhilarating driving dynamics as adeptly as some of its competitors, which are specifically engineered to excel in these areas. Instead, the Innova prioritizes other aspects such as reliability and practicality, making it clear that it is designed with different objectives in mind.

    The great Indoors: A cabin that caters

    Toyota Zenix hybrid interior

    Inside, the Innova Zenix is a realm of comfort. The driver's seat is a command center that also feels like a lounge chair. The second-row captain’s chairs are a treat—they can slide, recline, and adjust to your liking, providing limousine levels of legroom when needed.

    The third row isn’t just a token feature either; it’s genuinely usable, providing comfort for adults and kids alike on long journeys. Toyota understands that a family car is about all the passengers, not just the driver.

    2024 Toyota Innova Zenix hybrid 2nd row seats

    Like many multi-seat vehicles, the Innova's boot space can be somewhat limited. However, adding a roof box can easily alleviate this issue. Despite the space constraints, the Innova can comfortably accommodate two airline cabin-sized suitcases along with additional smaller, soft bags.

    Toyota Innova Zenix hybrid 3rd row seats

    A significant improvement in the new model is the third-row seats folding flat into the floor, a highly convenient feature. This change is a marked improvement over the previous design, where the seats folded to the sides, restricting usable space. Now, loading larger items like bicycles or bulkier cargo becomes much simpler and more practical.

    While the Innova Zenix Hybrid features a single-zone climate control system, this detail hardly detracts from the overall comfort it offers. The system efficiently maintains a cool and comfortable cabin environment, ensuring that all passengers feel pleasantly chilled even during warmer weather.

    Toyota Innova Zenix hybrid boot

    Complementing this comfort is the expansive panoramic roof and sunroof, equipped with a motorized retractable sunshade, allowing passengers to adjust the natural light entering the vehicle with just the touch of a button. This thoughtful addition enhances the airy feel of the cabin, making every journey more enjoyable.

    Infotainment system: Smartphone connection made easy

    Toyota Innova Zenix hybrid infotainment screen

    The Innova Zenix Hybrid enhances the in-cabin technology with a 10.1-inch central touchscreen that stands out for its clarity and color accuracy. This screen is not only vivid but also user-friendly, supporting wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, allowing seamless integration with most smartphones. This connectivity, combined with a six-speaker audio system, delivers a solid auditory experience that complements the vehicle's overall ambiance.

    Moreover, the touchscreen doubles as a vital tool for parking and maneuvering in tight spots. It displays a 360-degree view around the vehicle, providing drivers with comprehensive visibility that greatly eases the challenge of parking. Impressively, this display remains clear and visible even in bright sunlight, as it is designed to minimize glare effectively. This thoughtful feature enhances both the utility and safety of the Innova, making it an even more appealing choice for families and frequent drivers.

    Safety: Keeps families extra safe

    2024 Toyota Zenix hybrid engine

    The Innova Zenix sets itself apart iwith the introduction of Toyota's most advanced safety package yet: Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 (TSS 3.0). This system elevates peace of mind to new heights with its innovative camera and radar sensors that detect obstacles with impressive accuracy and from greater distances than before. During our drives, the road sign recognition feature seamlessly communicated speed limits to the dashboard, effortlessly integrating with the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to adjust our cruising speed—a subtle but sophisticated touch that exemplifies the vehicle’s intelligent design.

    Moreover, the ACC's enhanced capability to anticipate traffic conditions even two cars ahead made highway driving markedly smoother and safer. It's quite a revelation how it adjusts the speed automatically when changing lanes, maintaining a fluid motion that feels both natural and secure. At intersections, the upgraded Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system proved its worth by adeptly preventing potential collisions, a testament to Toyota's commitment to not just meet, but exceed, safety expectations.

    Toyota Innova Zenix hybrid taillights

    The Zenix also includes a Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), which significantly boosts driver awareness of the surroundings. For families, the addition of two Isofix child seat mounts in the middle row is a thoughtful inclusion, ensuring the youngest passengers are secured with the utmost safety.

    Verdict: Your dependable family ally

    2024 Toyota Zenix Hybrid

    The 2023 Toyota Innova Zenix Hybrid isn’t trying to be the flashiest car on the block. Instead, it’s the reliable, sensible choice that promises to be by your side for the long haul. It’s the most refined, powerful, and fuel-efficient Innova yet, built on a platform that elevates it far above its humble predecessors. For families, the Innova Zenix offers a blend of comfort, reliability, and thoughtful engineering that makes everyday travel a pleasure rather than a chore.

    In summary, if your car buying philosophy is "don't make me think," the Toyota Innova Zenix Hybrid is waiting to make your life easier. It’s not just a vehicle; it’s a member of the family—ready to go when you are, no questions asked. Toyota continues to deliver on its promise of creating cars that you can depend on, letting you focus more on where you’re going and less on how you’ll get there.

    2024 Toyota Innova Zenix Hybrid specification

    • Drivetrain: 2.0-litre M20A-FXS + Hybrid Electric Motor
    • Power output: 186 PS
    • Torque: 188Nm (engine)/ 206Nm (electric motor)
    • Transmission: E-CVT
    • Seats: 7 (technically 8 as the 3rd row seats has headrest)
    • Price: RM 202,000

    Adam Aubrey

    Adam Aubrey

    Adam Aubrey is an experienced writer and presenter with over a decade in the automotive industry, known for his passion for rebuilding older cars from the golden era of automotive design. His work also delves into the future of vehicles, highlighting the exciting potential of electric propulsion.

    Read Full Bio

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