The Toyota Innova forms a very important part of Toyota’s product portfolio in the Indian market. The Innova was launched in 2005 and ever since it has proved itself to be a good performer contributing significantly to Toyota’s revenue in India. Toyota Kirloskar Motors claims to have sold over 4 lakh units of the Innova MPV since the time of its launch. Today, the Toyota Innova is common sight on Indian roads and beyond doubt enjoys the status of being regarded as a very popular and reliable MPV backed by Toyota’s goodwill in India.
The Toyota Innova MPV is offered in 2.5-litre diesel and 2-litre petrol engine options with the diesel accounting for the bulk of the sales numbers. We test drove the 2.5-litre diesel variant which is available in four trim levels with the base E trim (without AC) being priced at Rs 10.01 lakh and the top-end VX trim bearing a price tag of Rs 14.82 lakh (ex-showroom Kolkata).
The Toyota Innova is offered in seven colour schemes namely - Blue Metallic, White, Dark Red Metallic, Silver Mica Metallic, Grey Mica Metallic, Silky Gold Mica Metallic and Super White. The Toyota Innova also comes with a 3 years / 1,00,000 kms warranty.
Read our Toyota Innova (diesel VX) car review to find out how well it fared.
Design & Engineering
Like any good car manufacturer, Toyota also believes in the concept of ‘don’t fix it if it isn’t broken’. The Innova is one of Toyota’s most successful products, so the Japanese car manufacturer has been careful not to meddle too much with their winning formula. Therefore, they have largely kept the Innova MPV unchanged barring making a few cosmetic changes on the exterior and interior of the refreshed Toyota Innova.
To begin with the refreshed Toyota Innova gets a new front chrome grille and redesigned headlamps. One can also witness a new central ridge just above the Toyota badge and a more prominent ‘V’ design lines on the bonnet of the refreshed Innova MPV. The new headlamps look quite stylish and the restyled front bumper with slightly larger air-dam and neatly housed fog lamps complete the facelift at the front end of the MPV. Take a walk along the side, and you would find almost no changes apart from the slightly redesigned side skirting and turn indicators on the ORVMs (available on the top-end VX trim). Styling changes at the rear are even more subtle with refreshed taillights and a wider chrome bar above the number plate with the word ‘Innova’ inscribed on it.
After its launch, the Toyota Innova had received its first facelift in 2009 followed by another one in the year 2012. And I must confess that these subtle changes on the exterior have lent a sportier look to the Toyota Innova and in my opinion the Innova looks better in comparison to its predecessor.
Mechanically, the Toyota Innova has remained unaltered. The diesel Innova continues to be powered by the same tried and test D4-D 2.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine and the 2.0-litre petrol powers the petrol Innova MPVs. Although, it will be must mentioning at this juncture that the petrol Innova is only available on demand with an unusually long waiting period of over 6 months.
The Toyota Innova comes with Bharat Stage IV and Bharat Stage III norms engines. The Bharat Stage IV norm motor gets an intercooler, but the BS III doesn’t benefit from the same. However, both the engines have an identical power and torque output.
The suspension system in the Toyota Innova comprises of double wish bone with stabilizers at the front with four link with lateral rod and coil spring at the rear. The soft suspension tuning of the Innova translates into a comfortable and well cushioned ride. One remarkable aspect of the Innova’s ride quality is its consistent poise which again makes it a perfect choice for travelling over long distances.
The D4-D is one noisy motor. Even at standstill, when you turn the ignition, the engine comes to life with a very strong vibration, the impact of which is felt in the gear. So much so that if you happen to loosely place your left hand on the gear at the time of ignition, they are most likely to get jerked off due to the vibration. Even at higher speed limits the engine continues to remain noisy and much of which filters into the passenger cabin. Clearly there is a lot of scope for improvement on the NVH front that Toyota needs to look into to transform the Innova into a more refined product.
Interiors & Comfort
Once you open the door and step inside the Toyota Innova, the first thing which will catch your attention is its spacious cabin. There is ample space up front and not only will a substantially tall individual will be able to comfortably get behind the wheel of the Innova, but it will create little impact on the comfort of the second row passenger. The seats are comfortable, well-padded and provide good all round support.
The second row of seats is also quite comfortable and provides enough leg room. There is sufficient space to seat three abreast without much hassle. However, the under thigh support in the second row could have been better.
The third row of seats is basically meant for children, as there isn’t much legroom for adults. These jump seats will prove to be of some utility during short stints only and could get rather uncomfortable during long hauls. The top-end trim like the one we tested also benefits from air-conditioning vents for all three rows.
The fit and finish is still very impressive and the quality and the feel of the materials are decent. Now the plastics come in a lighter shade of beige. The faux wood trimmings are also darker than what was seen earlier. There is also a redesigned centre console that comes finished in silver trim. The four-spoke steering wheel too has silver inserts. The Toyota Innova also gets new dual-tone seat covers. All this subtle cosmetic changes collectively lends a premium feel to the cabin.
The top-of-the-line VX trim we tested gets a six-inch touchscreen for audio, DVD and Bluetooth telephony functions. You can also operate these features via buttons mounted on the steering wheel. The VX trim also benefits from a reverse parking camera which proves to be quite useful under tight parking conditions. The quality of the music system seemed decent and the air conditioner proved to be effective in quickly cooling the passenger cabin.
The Toyota Innova comes with a boot space of 300 litres which will be able to accommodate two soft luggages. However, the third row of jump seats can be tucked away neatly to the side to create more room for luggage when the need shall arise.
Performance & Handling
Under the hood of the Toyota Innova is the 2.5-litre diesel motor from the Japanese manufacturer’s D-4D engine family. The engine transfers power to the rear wheels of the Innova through a 5-speed manual transmission. The motor produces 102PS of maximum power at 3600 rpm and 200Nm of peak torque at 1400 to 3400 rpm.
Toyota Innova’s D4-D 2.5-litre diesel powerplant is very responsive with little turbo-lag. Power is available from as low as 1400rpm going well past 3000 rpm. The long-throw gearbox is light and the gear ratios are perfectly matched to the engine’s power resulting in Innova’s astounding drivability. It is a tall MPV and one is bound to experience some amount of body roll around the corners, but that is well contained and nothing major to spoil your fun. The steering wheel is light and it weighs gradually with the increase in speed.
The Innova boasts of a very good ride quality. The suspension set up in the Innova irons out most of the jolts on uneven stretches of road and the dampers do well to absorb most of the shocks keeping the ride smooth, composed and poised making it a perfect choice for long distance travels.
The Innova's brakes work well to bring the MPV to a halt while zipping through city thoroughfares or cruising on the highway. It has got ventilated discs doing duty up front with drums at the rear.
The Toyota Innova boasts of an ARAI-ratified mileage of 12.99kmpl. However, we didn’t get an opportunity to conduct a proper fuel efficiency test.
On the safety front, the top-end VX trim that we tested came equipped with ABS, rear parking camera and dual front airbag. The mid-range GX trim benefits from ABS and only driver’s side airbag, while engine immobilizer and fog lamps comes as standard across G, GX and VX trim levels with the exception of the base E trim. Given Toyota’s Innova’s pricing and the fact that it is extensively used for long distance travelling (especially as a rented car) traversing through various terrains and highways, we expected the company to provide ABS as standard across model range. ABS effectively controls the brakes in emergencies so that the wheels do not lock and allows you to steer even while braking to avoid danger. Given the prevalent road conditions in our country especially during the monsoon, ABS can be a life saver.
There is little doubt about Innova’s superiority as a product. The Toyota Innova boasts of good build quality, brilliant driving dynamics, poised ride quality and spacious interior. For the last eight years, the Innova has proved itself to be a reliable, dependable and popular choice in the MPV segment. Today, the Innova is common sight across the length and breadth of the country and is also being widely used by innumerable travel agencies. Many government agencies and offices too have opted for the Innova as their chosen vehicle. It clearly has proven itself to be a success and it is not without a reason. However, the only hiccup in Innova’s fairy-tale is the pricing of the product. At Rs 10.01 lakh (ex-showroom Kolkata) for the base diesel trim, the Innova is an expensive MPV. In comparison, the base diesel trim of three of its closest rival comes with a price tag which is substantially less (Xylo H4 – Rs 8.23 lakh, Evalia XE – Rs 8.49 lakh and Tavera Neo – Rs 8.80 lakh). Yet, despite the high price tag, the Innova manages to sell anywhere between 3000 to 4000 units every month. Little surprise there, since this brilliant product is backed by Toyota reliability, engineering expertise and good after-sales service.