After the initial hic-ups when Innova was launched, it did not take Innova long to become its categories most favoured MPV for Indian car buyers. Since then and till date Innova has been the leader of the MPV category in the Indian car market. Competent chassis, punchy diesel engine, spacious interiors, impeccable fit & finish, car like dynamic abilities with Toyota marquee has made Innova a choice one can’t go wrong with.
A moving target is always difficult to hit and possibly the best marketing strategy, it ensure leadership position and dominance in the market. With the New Innova Toyota has managed to move the goal post further away from the reach of it’s competitors in the Indian car market. Whilst the New Innova is really fresh, it has a task cut up for itself of scaling new heights, particularly in light of what its predecessor has managed to achieve. We drove it extensively to bring you it’s will it be able to live up to the expectations? Read and decide:
STYLE & SUBSTANCE
New Innova is mildly altered variant of old one with the focus of retaining the overall identity of this hugely popular MPV. Innova’s Front face now comes with more upright as well as big grill compared to old one, the headlamps are wrap-around & stretched more than before. Power bulge at the bonnet is more prominent as is the large air intake. More Sculpted bumper now houses the fog lamps which is a standard OEM fitment in Innova VX.
Side profile, more or less, is same as of outgoing Innova with exceptions like OVRMs’ with integrated turn indicators, subtle side skirts etc. Slanted A & D pillar expresses continuity of the overall design theme.Rear of new Innova features redesigned tail lamps with prominent chrome bar above the number plate. Rear wind screen retains its generous glass area retaining the practicality of this popular MPV.
INTERIORS, ROOM & ERGONOMICS
Interior scheme of the old Innova has earned quite a reputation for itself & served as a benchmark for others to follow; thanks to its excellent fit & finish quality which was hard to fault. New Innova certainly lives up to the expectations with the same precision in designing and effective use of tow tone color combination (i.e. black & beige) to spruce up the interiors. This change has obviously made the cabin cheerful. Lighter shade further enhances the feeling of the space thanks to its brightening effect.
New Innova comes with MDI (Multi-Display-Information) which displays all the crucial information. 4-Spoke leather wrapped steering wheel is superb to hold & is quite functional too thanks to mounted controls.
Instrument cluster comes with large dials featuring speedometer & odometer with provision to adjust the illumination of cluster. Innova VX comes with 6” DVD display audio with the provision of USB, aux-in & Bluetooth connectivity. It also helps you to park your vehicle in tight spots thanks to inclusion of rear parking camera. The rear view camera comes alive on the 6” display screen
the moment one slots the rear gear. Automatic climate control, roof mounted AC vents for 2nd & 3rd row are continuation of features from the old Innova to the New Innova.
The new Innova comes with the 7 & 8-seater options with the convenience of flexi & split-seat comfort. Space at the front is generous. Armchair like seats snug you tightly with good side bolstering though same is not true for the base support. Front view is commanding & all-round visibility is great.
Middle row is comfortable & spacious; though it is far from the roominess aspect of the Tata Aria. Thigh support is kind of insufficient, how we wish it had some more support in th at area, which would have long drives that much more comfortable. 3rd row is definitely spacious even more than the Aria. 3rd row can even accommodate decent sized adults who won’t find many reasons to complaint.
POWER-PLANT & TRANSMISSION
New Innova continue to feature same heart as old one; displacing 2.5 L of capacity mounted longitudinally with 4-cylinders in inline arrangement. Engine breathes through the 16 valves mounted on DOHC while fuel is fed by common rail mechanism. Raw figures though are modest with 102 Ps of power & torque of 200 Nm.
On outside one can easily guess that there is diesel running in the veins of the New Innova power plant. The inside though is quite insulated from this noise. Slot the first gear and the New Innova lunges ahead with great eagerness. Drivability of Innova has been one of its crucial strengths with almost no turbo lag present. This makes city driving a relaxed experience as there is no need to downshift as engine pulls very cleanly without stalling. All types of congestion like speed-breakers, traffic signals etc can be tackled in the higher gear. You need to downshift only when you start from the complete halt. This absolute tractability is due to the short gearing which makes the New Innova a breeze to drive in city.
Low enthusiasm of the power plant at the top end of its RPM range could be downer on the Highway which could make overtaking a tad difficult. Mid range though good, but crossing double digit marks will require you to keep some patience.
Longitudinally mounted D-4D engine is mated with 5-speed transmission. Gear box is sleek but the throws are long. Top of the line model comes with ABS & dual airbags along with global outstanding assessment body to complement the safety proposition of the car.
Innova uses double wishbone up front & four link rod at the rear to suspend the wheels. 15” wheels are shrouded with 205 mm wide rubber with aspect ratio of 65. Dynamic ability of Innova is far ahead of its competitors & in fact better than many saloons too. Suspension is sprung just by the right margin to achieve the perfect ride & handling characteristic. There is no compromise to get one thing right at the expense of another.
Ride is quite absorbent though there are some hints of firmness in the suspension settings. Low speed is especially absorbent & many times the chassis will disguise you with the impression that you are driving a saloon car.
Handling is also leaps ahead from the standard of MPV. The new Innova displays quite confident and smooth cornering habits. Body roll is very well contained thanks to its extremely rigid frame.
There is no doubt that Innova is an extremely competent MPV which has kept the dealers cash counter ringing since the time it had replaced the competent and capable Toyota Qualis. Up grading the existing best seller shows the aggressiveness of Toyota to move the goal post further from the competitors. Toyota has managed the upgrade quite efficiently and effectively. But we don’t understand why Toyota had to raise the price bar so high. Innova now starts at 9.91 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) and extends all the way to 13.2 lakh for top end VX variant. This means that you need to doll out a hefty amount of 15.6 lakh (on road price- Delhi) to own new Innova; which is quite expensive by any standards.
Style & Substance : 3/5 Ride & Handling : 4/5
Interiors & Space : 4/5 Safety & Equipments : 3/5
Power Plant & Transmission : 3/5 Mileage : 3/5
Value for Money : 3/5