Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) has ringed in the New Year with launch of all-new Innova and top-of-the-line Fortuner 4X4 AT. Now claiming 2015 Innova all-newis a sort of aggregation as the alterations on India’s most pricey yet best-selling MPV is merely cosmetic in nature. In comparison to older version, new 2015 version is just embellished with some beads, inscriptions and epigraphy. In fact in absence of any perceptible changes, the new iteration would be hard pressed to stand out even if parked alongside with its previous iteration. That said discernible change in the new Innova manifests only when one keenly read the feature section under the caption of safety and security. There is now air-bag device that has become standard along all the models across the Innova range. In fact with integration of this airbag feature, Toyota becomes first mass-manufacturer in country to offer airbags across the models and variants in its entire product stable. Now this is huge accomplishment though this could well pass unnoticed if company chooses to keep mum about it; something it did with launch of new Innova and Fortuner. Now no matter whether it’s grand inception or silent slip in, we at ECARDLR, are always the first ones to get you road-test reviews of each and every new launch happening on turf of Indian auto market. This time, it is turn of new 2015 Toyota Innova to prove whether this is same old wine in new bottle or there is indeed something new that this edition brings to table.
Exterior & Interior Alterations
First up the changes that new 2015 Innova has got bot outside and inside. Overall look of MPV remains substantially similar to outgoing model even as Toyota tried hard to make the things different in this new model. Bodily changes include heavily splashed chromed front grille dual-tone alloy wheels, wind mirrors with integrated blinkers, body moulding and rear chrome splash lust above the number plate.
There hasn’t been any modification to overall body stance or dimensional integrity which comes as a downer. The profile of Innova is ungainly and in front of tauter and looker MPVs like Honda Mobilio, Innova still feels cumbersome and heavy. Further now being a decade old, Innova design have started ageing and despite of chrome splashing; there is no take away from this fact that Innova current aesthetic has probably lived its age.
Inside the cabin, however, things feel far fresher than they seem on outside. The real strength of Innova is its space and room that have contributed enormously to its resounding success in spite of average looks, is intact in this 2015 edition. In fact this new Innova feature very soothing shade on seats which makes quite solid impression even before you decide to slip inside.
Undoubtedly Innova retains its space crown with emerging as the most genuine MPV with capability of seating 7-memebers in full comfort. Even the third row is roomy in healthy way and you won’t grumble for occasional breaks in case of long run journeys stretching beyond regular city hops and hurls. First two benches are exceptionally spacious and captain seats in the middle-row makes Innova specifically suitable for head honchos or top echelons of organizations.
Stitching and finishing of Innova’s cabin has always been a benchmark and 2015 Innova is no different. There is soothing wood finishing on armrest while third-bench has got the air-vents for enhanced cooling effect. Touchscreen audio-visual infotainment system is standard in top-rung model that features capability of playing host of audio and video formats including DVD, USB, Aux-in and is Bluetooth compatible. Steering too features various controlling aspects and is quite nice to grip around.
There are plethora of storage spaces including bottle holders, cubby-holes and a large storage space just below driver’s armrest. Glove box is large and can easily swallow more than desirable in most of the situation. Overall the inside cabin of Innova feels far more accomplished and better in stark comparison to its outer lay-out.
Engine & Driving Performance
Mechanically Innova remains alike the predecessor that draws upon 2.5-litre of engine to pump out 102 PS of max power and 200 Nm of max torque. On the road, Innova feels agile, eager and quite sure-footed even at low rev range. Even mid-range cruises happily and three digit speed mark is attainable without any fuss. Things, however, is not hunky-dory once you crosses three digit mark say 120 km/h. The lack of top-end revving ability is very typical of Innova and this motor is far more attuned to handle low and mid-rev punches than top-end performance. So highway manoeuvres especially ones involving overtake require a fair amount of judgment and skills while city forays won’t take your driving comfort.
5-speed manual transmission is only maiden choice available with Innova and Toyota could have introduced the automatic version at this point of time. We believe that the move is reserved for new Innova that is expected to break cover in around 2016. The clutch feel is progressive and shifts are assuring though long stick of gearbox spoils the shifting experience a bit. Brakes are ultra-efficient and Innova stops dead on once the driver commands brake applications.
Dynamically Innova offers a competitive package though it is way off from the riding and handling prowess of some lighter and less chubby MPVs like Honda, Maruti etc. Ride is bit plaint and quite absorbing though the overall impression left us wanting more especially at lower speeds. Once whack picks up, however, Innova is quite a stable proposition that shows a decent road grip on almost all surfaces.
Handling is nowhere near the expected level and this is quite acceptable considering the weight and volume of this 7-seater MPV. Along with body roll, there is slight feel of over-steer especially on application of hard braking at high speed though it won’t bother much as Toyota quickly get back to its senses within fraction of seconds.
Priced in range between Rs 10.51 lakh to Rs 15.80 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), New Innova outside holds on to its pricey distinction. While some of its competitors start from as low as under Rs 6 lakh, Toyota remains unperturbed in asking for figure upward of Rs 10 lakh. Pricing apart, what new 2015 Innova honestly brings to table? A precise though piercing reply is nothing. If you put aside the newly designed leather seats inside and minor nips-tucks on outside, 2015 Innova is similar to its predecessor. This aptly explains why Toyota refrained from hiking the price of new model and only added the hike resulting from increased excise decision. New Innova continues to remain as one of the most spacious, genuine, fuel-efficient MPV though its Achilles heel of high price remains intact as well. Decision to whether buy new Innova is totally dependent upon your own priorities. If you looking for a genuine, comfortable, family mover, look no further Innova is best bet available in market. But for driving enthusiasts, who are looking for fun-to-drive, nimble, swirling proposition and of course at more competitive price, there are other choices that you’re your criteria more than Innova does.
Style & Substance 3/5 Ride & Handling 3/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3.5/5 Safety & Equipment 4/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 3.5/5 Fuel Efficiency 3.5/5
Value for Money 2/5