Auto experts are divided
Toyota’s Rs7.7 million ‘low-grade’ crossover SUV Corolla Cross Hybrid doesn’t have a cruise control function – the function that enables the driver to lock speed on long routes and rest his or her leg.
“But who needs cruise control within city travels?” questioned Shakaib Khan, who is an auto sector analyst and also runs SK Motors Syndicate. “Some people are totally satisfied with owning crossovers and driving within the city. For Karachi and its bad road conditions, a crossover is becoming a need instead of a luxury.”
Indus Motor Company, which assembles and sells Toyota cars in Pakistan, has recently introduced Corolla Cross in Pakistan in three variants – Rs8.4 million premium; Rs8.2 million smart, and Rs7.7 million low-grade, according to the company’s website. The Rs7.7 million variant doesn’t have a cruise control function, which is considered an important feature of all types of SUVs.
Khan thinks people may buy the 1800cc compact SUV since it’s a “hybrid and a Toyota.”
Another auto expert Usman Ansari, who runs an auto blogging website, doesn’t think Corolla Cross will make its presence felt since its main feature that it is a hybrid car will not attract buyers in significant numbers, who can pay around Rs8 million.
“A person who can pay around Rs8 million for a car would even he even think of how much fuel it will consume?” Ansari asked. “Under this price tag, buyers are mostly looking for features, and its competitors such as Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, and MG-HS are offering better features.”
According to people who own hybrid cars such as Toyota Aqua and Prius, hybrid cars consume one-third less fuel than their other cars. For instance, one Hybrid owner Abdul Wahab said if his normal car used to consume Rs10,000 worth of fuel, his hybrid car was using Rs7,000 fuel for the same mileage.
“But I don’t see a competitor for it as it is a crossover with hybrid,” Shakaib Khan said. “A brand-new Prius (Hybrid) sells for around Rs9.3 million at a local dealership. If you compare corolla cross with that, Corolla Cross price is very attractive.”
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However, Ansari says he think Corolla Cross wouldn’t widely be accepted and would only adorn Toyota showrooms just like Toyota Rush, another Toyota mini-SUV, does.
On the other hand, Khan says he thinks people would buy five-seater Corolla Cross because they are skeptical about Hyundai, Kia, and MG cars’ durability, after-sales service, and parts availability.
“Toyota’s hybrid has made its mark in Pakistan. It is way superior to even Honda’s hybrid cars,” Khan said.
But Khan has one complaint related to Corolla Cross and that’s about its name. “Bas Corolla na lagatay ‘cross’ se pehle (They shouldn’t have put Corolla before Cross). High-end consumer spending over Rs7 million wouldn’t want ‘Corolla’ in the car’s name,” he remarked.