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Hyundai Tucson vs Skoda Octavia vs Toyota Innova Crysta

Tucson vs Octavia vs Innova Crysta

Hyundai Tucson vs Skoda Octavia vs Toyota Innova Crysta

As things stand today, the diesel engined Hyundai Tucson doesn’t really have a direct competitor. But if you look at this SUV from a price point of view, you do have two options. They come in two different body styles and they also happen to be slightly more affordable. Where the Skoda Octavia is now already three years old, the Toyota Innova Crysta is current and popular. However, the Innova Crysta doesn’t have the SUV stance but does come with extra seats.

With the demand for automatic transmissions on a high in larger cities, we’ve decided to compare the Skoda Octavia in Style Plus A/T trim which costs Rs 23.7 lakh, Toyota Innova Crysta 2.8 ZX A/T that’s priced at Rs 22.2 lakh, and the Hyundai Tucson GLS A/T which retails for Rs 26.44 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai).

Let’s look at the facts and find out what one should settle for?

Perceived image

There has been a long standing consumer attachment for saloons that’s slowly begun to fade to give way for SUVs. Now, while we believe that the personal need for a Tucson and the Octavia would be more-or-less the same, the need to buy an Innova Crysta would be slightly different. This MPV is looked upon as a people carrier with bullet proof reliability. In fact, a number of buyers who don’t need a seven seater end up buying the Innova Crysta thanks to the peace of mind associated with Toyotas. Nevertheless, you can now get some of that peace with the Hyundai brand.

Hyundai Tucson

While the Skoda Octavia has the most premium quality interiors in this group, the Tucson doesn’t lag far behind and is closely followed by the Innova Crysta with its ‘bling’ interiors. This is despite the Skoda Octavia being priced Rs 2.71 lakhs lower than the Tucson. Everything from the plastic quality to the design inside the Octavia’s cabin, are a step above the Tucson and the Innova Crysta.

Being a saloon, the Octavia is the lowest car here, but the legroom is surprisingly the most generous in the front, followed closely by the Tucson. The Innova Crysta, on the other hand, is a tall vehicle since it is based on a ladder frame, and this in-turn translates into the best headroom and the most commanding driving position. However, the downside here is the highest ingress which makes getting in and out a bit of a chore.

Skoda Octavia

At the rear, the Octavia pips ahead of the Tucson in legroom and shoulderoom, but both cars have more-or-less the same headroom. The Tucson's seats are the most comfortable with the Innova's trailing not far behind. Though the Octavia's seats are well designed and contoured, the cushioning is a bit on the firmer side which can be slightly uncomfortable for short journeys. On the other hand, these seats will be comfier on longer journeys as softer seats usually translate into back aches. 

On the boot front, the Octavia sports the biggest boot with a practical hatchback-like lid that swallows 590-litres of luggage. Second best here is the Tucson’s 513-litre squarish boot which also accommodates a full size spare alloy wheel. Meanwhile, the Innova Crysta needs the last row to be folded for a comparable boot space to be revealed. However, those extra seats come handy when a family with kids and grand parents need to hit the road. 

Toyota Innova Crysta

Furthermore, the nimble Octavia (length=4659mm) is the easiest to manoeuvre within city limits, despite the extra length over the Tucson (4475mm). Likewise, the light controls of the Tucson makes it much easier to steer in the city when compared to the Innova Crysta (4735mm), whose heavy steering plays spoil sport at low and parking speeds.

Smitten by the new age

Skoda Octavia

Let’s look at the powertrains that propel these vehicles. While the Octavia is powered by a 2.0-litre 143bhp diesel motor with 320Nm (1750-3000rpm), the Tucson’s 2.0-litre diesel engine makes 185bhp and 400Nm of torque (1750-2750rpm), and the Innova Crysta’s motor displaces 2.8-litres, good for 174bhp and 360Nm of torque (1200-3400rpm).

The Octavia is by far the lightest at 1395kg, while the Tucson weighs in at 1670kg and the Innova Crysta tips the scales at 1870kg. And this shows in the performance exhibited by these vehicles. Despite the widest torque spread of the Innova’s engine, it feels the slowest, and is also the least refined in this group. Though the Tucson’s engine doesn’t perform as spiritedly as the Octavia’s, it is the most refined and accelerates in a linear manner from as low as 1800rpm, making it especially nice to drive in the town.

Skoda Octavia

The Octavia is undoubtedly the best driver’s car thanks to the low centre of gravity, punchy performance from the diesel motor and the willing six-speed DSG shifter. Though this DSG is easily the quickest ‘box of the lot, it tends to get confused at times which makes it jerky. The Tucson’s six-speed transmission, on the other hand, can easily walk away with the laurels of being the smoothest gearbox in terms of shift quality.

The Innova Crysta’s six-speed torque convertor is an old-school gearbox. As soon as you go off-throttle it upshifts, and begins to freewheel. The effect is even more pronounced as this is a heavy car, and the brakes have a lot of work to do in the absence of engine braking. In fact, this gearbox is old-school in every way, right from the sideways gear shift pattern which we hardly see being used in cars nowadays. 

Toyota Innova Crysta

To give you an idea, the 20-80kmph runs in kickdown took 5.31sec, 5.40sec, and 6.73sec in the Octavia, Tucson and Innova Crysta. Similarily, the 40-100kmph sprints were clocked in 6.92sec, 6.70sec, and 8.56sec respectively. The Innova Crysta returned 9.8kmpl and 13.9kmpl in the city and highway efficiency runs, while the Tucson and Octavia returned 11.5/15.7kmpl, and 12.1/16.9kmpl for the same cycles.

Let’s talk ride characteristics. On paper, the Octavia and Tucson have a more rigid monocoque chassis, so, they should be better in terms of dynamics as compared to the Innova Crysta, which is built on a rugged ladder-frame. This was confirmed when we eventually drove them. The sportiness of the Octavia bites it as far as low speed ride is concerned, as it is a little thumpy and you can hear the suspension working. It doesn’t throw you around but sometimes the suspension makes a painful noise.

Hyundai Tucson

The Innova Crysta does exactly the opposite. It has the highest centre of gravity which results in a lot more roll, and it also pitches under braking. Nevertheless, it rides well at low speeds but you get that typical shimmy over patched-up road surfaces which is distinctive of a ladder frame vehicle. The Tucson slots right in between. This monocoque SUV sits on taller and softer springs, so while it does roll more than the Octavia, it has got the best low speed ride amongst the three. 

On the highway, the tables turn once again. Where the Octavia felt slightly uncomfortable at low speeds, it becomes a great long distance cruiser thanks to the comfort from the flat ride. The Tucson, thanks to its softer suspension has a lot of vertical movement. Though it is not as bad as the Innova Crysta, it is pronounced and a more controlled damping would have helped make it a better highway car. The Innova Crysta has the most amount of roll and vertical movement, but once the car is fully loaded there is lesser motion.

Conclusion

Hyundai Tucson vs Skoda Octavia vs Toyota Innova Crysta

Let’s put two and two together. The Innova Crysta is undoubtedly the most practical in this group. It has the highest ground clearance, gets seven seats, a torquey engine, and most importantly; has Toyota’s badge of bullet-proof reliability with a peace-of-mind ownership. However, when it comes to engine refinement, gearbox responses, driving dynamic and interior quality the Innova Crysta is the worst in this group. 

Hyundai Tucson vs Skoda Octavia vs Toyota Innova Crysta

The Hyundai Tucson’s interiors aren’t as good as the Octavia’s but is better than the Innova Crysta’s. This SUV sports the most refined engine, but is just shy of the overall performance offered by the Octavia’s motor. It also benefits from better dynamics over the Innova Crysta, but lags behind the Octavia on this front. It is second to the MPV in terms of ground clearance and also boasts of the best low speed ride. The Tucson offers a bit of all worlds (except for the extra seats) while not really excelling consistently in any parameter other than the low speed ride, engine refinement and seat comfort.

Skoda Octavia

This brings us to the Skoda Octavia. It has the best cabin design, top quality interiors, is the sportiest and easiest to drive with the most punchy engine and quickest gearbox. It is the best handling car with the most sorted dynamics, is nimble to drive within city limits, and can cover long distances with ease in good comfort along with lots of luggage space. The only downside would be the lack of peace-of-mind ownership, the lowest ground clearance and the slightly stiff slow speed ride. 

Unless one is adamant about shelling-out an additional Rs 2.71 lakhs over the Octavia just to buy an ‘SUV’, or anybody needs the Innova Crysta’s extra seats, we think the Skoda Octavia is a clear winner, and is undeniably our pick of the lot.

Hyundai Tucson vs Skoda Octavia vs Toyota Innova Crysta

Pictures: Kapil Angane

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Toyota Innova Crysta Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
Bangalore₹ 18.84 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 17.53 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 18.27 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 18.21 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 16.8 Lakhs onwards
Mumbai₹ 17.99 Lakhs onwards
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