Toyota Innova Review
Best Just Got BetterSaturday, October 05, 2013
If we talk about Toyota in India, the first image that comes to our mind is of Innova. Toyota is world’s largest auto manufacturer and fifth largest in India. Innova played a significant role to make Toyota reach this position. Innova is a flagship car from Toyota in India which replaced its legendary predecessor Quails in 2005. Since its launch, Innova is the undisputed champion in its segment. A segment of Multi-Purpose Vehicles (MPV), which is least known to Indians. For most of the Indians, Innova is the definition of multi-purpose vehicles and they believe it to be the only competition to itself. With nice looks, features, refined engines and low maintenance this car has managed to fight against every competitor of it.
Now other manufacturers have also noticed the scope in this segment, that’s why even the largest small car manufacturer in India, Maruti Suzuki has entered this segment with their first MPV, Ertiga. Chevrolet is also planning a new MPV named ‘Enjoy’ with many other manufacturers lining up for competition. Innova has also proved to be a hit in taxi market and most of the sales are contributed by its commercial selling. The biggest advantage of this car is its capacity to commute easily with 7-9 people, offering similar comfort to that of any sedan. It makes Innova the first choice of those who are looking for a perfect family car. Since its debut in India, Innova has not gone under any type of change. Now looking at its new competitors like Ertiga and face lifted Mahindra’s Xylo, Innova does look a bit old in terms of styling. Toyota also knows it and that’s why they have re-launched Innova with few changes to it. They have also introduced a top-of-the-line "Z" variant, which is priced at INR 15.06 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi). They do not want their car to lose its proud consumers just because of its old styling. Will these changes be enough for this new Innova to rule its segment? Let’s find out.
Toyota Innova Exterior
When you give this car a first look, it looks very similar to its earlier version. It’s hard to say if Toyota has done it intentionally or not. May be they didn’t want to take any kind of risk by making any big change to Innova’s original design. In fact, nothing much has changed except its front. Its front looks much sleek and stylish now. Toyota has smartly worked on its face, gone are the big boring headlights with sloppy bumper. The car now comes with all new set of headlights, bonnet, front-grille and bumper. Innova now looks much more aerodynamic. The perfect slanted A pillar merges well with new bonnet with prominent sharp lines on it.
Toyota has tried to make Innova look like any other car rather than a commercial MPV. Headlights look much more angular now as they settle back inside fenders. As we have seen earlier in other cars of Toyota family, the front grill is heavily brushed with chrome. There are there layered thick chrome strips along with a big Toyota logo on this grille, screaming out loudly, that this car is a Toyota machine. Front bumper has also been revised, fitted with new-shaped fog lights. All these new changes make this car look much more aggressive than before. Car remains almost unchanged from both sides except new side mirrors with in-built turn indicators. Alloys are identical to its erstwhile model with slightly tweaked side skirts. We wish if it had larger wheel arches with roof rails on top. This would have added to its appearance. There is nothing much new at the back of this car. There is minor alteration in tail lights with a bit wider chrome plate just above the number plate sporting Innova on it. More or less, the car virtually remains similar to its earlier model but looks much better in comparison to the 2012 model.
Toyota Innova Interior
This department of this car appeals to most of the private buyers. Its beautiful interior gives you the feeling of a premium vehicle. Toyota itself defines Innova as Multi Premium Vehicle. Innova beats its every competitor when it comes to interior styling. The beige color plastic material along with usage of wooden finish and fabrics inside this car is of high quality. Dual tone seats are of high quality with ample thigh support as plush fabrics are used in it. Driver seat is height adjustable with all other reclining seats. If you compare its interior with its competitors like Xylo and Sumo, they seem to be things of past. Its instrument panel has combi-meter with illumination control. Its Gear lever and 4 spoke tilt-able steering, which are wrapped in leather which is nice and easy to hold. Toyota has also introduced advanced multi-media system, which is only available in the top "Z" variant.
Comfort and Convenience
This is biggest USP of this car; it provides maximum space along with unmatchable comfort. Seven and eight seater, there are two versions of Innova. Its designing make sure that all passengers are given ample leg and head-room. Unlike Ertiga, this car never feels short of length and especially its third row seating is much more comfortable than Ertiga. Even after full seating, there is a lot of space for luggage at the back and you can even fold last seats to get more space for additional luggage. Innova offers dual auto Air conditioner with rear AC ceiling vents for people seating in second and third row. Car is capable enough to provide maximum cooling in even hottest days and leaves no room for complaints. There are many other features like driver side auto down power window with all four power windows .It has a MID (Multi Information Display) on centre console. Top model of this car comes with rear camera with display and electrically adjustable side mirrors which are convenient while parking.
Music system of Toyota Innova
It has a single tone dashboard with full sized glove box. There is floor console also offering some space. Dashboard has been blended smartly with silver finished center console .Its unique AC vents are placed on either side of centre console which has an audio system with LCD display in top model of Innova. It’s a touch screen double din, DVD, Bluetooth USB, Aux-in system along with six speakers. The audio system is of superior quality and assures you an enjoyable musical ride. The controls of audio system, MID and Bluetooth are mounted with silver accents on steering wheel which makes it easy to operate all features. Car also comes with an option for electronic music gadget with an additional socket of 12v.
Engine and Gearbox
Innova has two engine options, one each of petrol and diesel. Both engines are a carryover from Innova’s earlier model. The petrol version of this car has a powerful 2.0 litre VVT-i, DOHC engine. It produces a sheer power of 130 bhp coming at 5600 rpm with massive torque output of 181 Nm to move this machine available at 4000rpm. This engine is one of its kind as other MPV's lack this much powerful and refined petrol engines. The diesel engine of this car has been a hit ever since its launch. This 2.5 common rail diesel engine with inter-cooler turbocharger is capable to give 101 bhp of power at 3600 rpm with maximum torque output of 200 Nm ranging from 1400-3400 rpm. Both of these engines are mated with 5-speed manual gearbox.
Acceleration and Performance
Both engines are tuned for Indian conditions. First let’s talk about the petrol engine. Keeping its size in mind, the engine responses much like a sedan. It’s fast, and powerful. It’s perfect for city driving as there is no need of frequent gear shifting. The early availability of torque eases its ride. Gear ratios are well proportioned .This car cruises well on highways also. It delivers most of its power between 2000 rpm - 4000 rpm. The heavy weight of this car helps it to hold the road firmly even at a speed of 130km/hr. This car is fast enough to stand against any sedan.
The diesel on the other hand is not less responsive either. The engine refinement is best in its category. Be it second gear or third gear in traffic, the car is always ready to move, you will hardly remember its first gear. It’s only because of the early availability of torque which starts to come at 1400 rpm and keeps on coming till 3400 rpm which makes it the fastest among its competitor’s. It takes only 17 seconds to reach 100km/hour, after that every part of your ride is a bonus. Turbo lag is the word missing from Innova’s drive which is often a major concern in diesel engines. The engine never vibrates even when pushed hard to its limit. Competitors of Innova are yet to find a perfect answer to Toyota’s refined and powerful engines.
Toyota Innova Mileage
The major reason why Innova is first choice of many Indians is its fuel efficiency. The petrol version of Innova manages to return a mileage around 9-11km/l in city whereas on highways it varies from 12-13km/l. In cities like Delhi where compressed natural Gas (CNG) is easily available, this car is very successful. The compatibility of this engine with CNG makes it a fuel efficient car. The diesel Innova is also very fuel efficient. Overall this engine manages to deliver around a mileage of 14km/l which is even better than some hatches.
Ride and Handling
Toyota Innova handles really well. Many people will agree with the fact that it is one of the lightest MPV in terms of handling. Its steering is quite light and responsive which gives you a stress free ride. It doesn’t have an awkward driving position like Xylo which never satisfies you. Its large wheelbase (2750mm) confirms a comfortable ride with High ground clearance of 176mm.Toyota has blessed this car with a perfect suspension which easily carries the weight of this car. Keeping third row seating in mind, Toyota has specially worked on its rear suspension and it can be experienced. Potholes find it really hard to pass through Innova’s brilliant suspension. Its R15 size of tyres along with its good suspension makes cornering look easy with this car.
Safety Features and Braking
Toyota Innova is a heavy car as it weighs around 1680kg. To stop this car, Toyota has equipped it with ventilated disks at the front and drum brakes at the back. This car will never scare you, not even at high speeds if you want to apply brakes on it. It stays under control. For more precise braking Toyota also offers ABS (Anti-lock braking system) on its top model. Car also comes with immobilizer and dual front SRS airbags which adds to the list of safety features.
Toyota claims to give 3years/100,000kms unmatched warranty on its products.
2014 New Toyota Innova is available in 14 variants: G, GX, VX, Diesel E PS 7-seater, Diesel E PS 8-seater, Diesel E AC 7-seater, Diesel E AC 8-seater, Diesel G 7-seater, Diesel G 8-seater, Diesel GX 7-seater, Diesel GX 8-seater, Diesel VX 7-seater, Diesel VX 8-seater and Diesel Z (NEW).
Toyota Innova is available in following shades: White, Super White, Silver Mica Metallic, Silky Gold Mica Metallic, Dark Red Mica Metallic, Blue Metallic and Grey Mica Metallic.
Toyota Innova is surely a good car with easy handling, reliable and powerful engine. It serves many purposes with providing optimum comfort with no compromise on quality like others. It is fuel efficient as well as low on maintenance which makes it distinctive in its segment. Everything is perfect about this car; except its price. It’s a big step from Toyota as even at this price Innova lacks some features like curtain airbags. It’s clearly far more expensive than its competitors; in fact it enters the price segment where one can even go for premium SUV’s like Tata’s Aria, 4x4 version of safari and Mahindra XUV 500, which are much more powerful and stylish than it. Does it really justify its price? It’s an important question as alternatives of Innova like Ertiga, Enjoy and Xylo are good 3-4 lakhs cheaper than it. In today’s market people invest money wisely, they just don’t spend money for loyalty, and they want their every penny worth. The top "Z" variant is priced at INR 15.06 lakhs!! There is no guarantee of success in current scenario. It will be hard to say if people will still go for Innova just because of its reliability or will they change their choice as time and market have seen it before.