Toyota Innova PROS and CONS
- Excellent ride quality and reliability
- Comfortable and premium-looking interior
- Affordable price
- Not very efficient engine
- Tend to dive forward during braking
- Can be floaty when driven alone at high speed
The Toyota Innova is a compact multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) from Japanese carmaker Toyota Motors. It was first introduced in Indonesia in 2004 as Toyota Kijang Innova, and marketed in other countries as "Innova" shortly after. Today, the Innova is available in several countries across Asia, including India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It also has presence in Argentina, Jamaica, Australia, and South Africa.
The first-generation Innova lasted until 2015, with the current iteration belonging to the Innova's second generation. Toyota first introduced the Innova in the Philippines in 2005 to replace the Revo. The car has since been a household, having topped MVP sales charts over the past few years.
This model has been instrumental in changing the world's perception of MUVs, which were typically seen as high in practicality but not necessarily attractive. The Innova has been begging to differ by delivering reliability, excellent ride quality, and some premium and luxury elements at the same time. It has built a reputation for being a practical and highly desirable family car in the country.
Toyota Innova Features
Toyota offers the Innova in two engine options: a 2.0 liter petrol engine and a 2.8-liter diesel mill. Both may be paired with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential control.
Featuring various combinations of engine and transmission types, the Innova is currently available in 12 variants, namely 2.0 J Gas M/T, 2.8 J Gas M/T, 2.0 E Gas M/T, 2.0 E Gas A/T, 2.8 E Diesel M/T, 2.8 E Diesel A/T, 2.0 G Gas A/T, 2.8 G Diesel M/T, 2.8 G Diesel A/T, 2.8 V Diesel A/T, 2.8 Touring Sport Diesel M/T, and 2.8 Touring Sport Diesel A/T. The base trim 2.0 J Gas M/T sells for PhP1,015,000, while price of the top-of-the-line 2.8 G Diesel A/T starts at PhP1,511,000.
The diesel-based variants are powered by a 2.8-liter Diesel, four-cylinder, in-line 16 valve, double overheard camshaft that also features a variable Nozzle Turbo Charger with Intercooler. It has a maximum output of 171 horsepower when paired with automatic transmission and 167 horsepower when mated to a manual transmission at 3,400 revolutions per minute (rpm) and 360 Nm peak torque for A/T models and 343 Nm for manual at 1,200-3,400 rpm.
The gasoline-based trims, on the other hand, run on 2.0-liter gas, four-cylinder, in-line 16 valve, double overhead camshaft. It can generate up to 136 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 183 Nm of maximum torque at 4,000 rpm.
All trims use independent, coil spring, double washbone with stabilizer front suspension and 4-link, coil spring at the rear. For the brakes, the model uses ventilated discs on the front and leading-training drum at the back. All variants use rack and pinion steering system with power steering feature. The Toyota Innova is quite strong in the safety department, beating rival models within the MUV space. Anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) come as a standard feature across variants. There are also SRS airbags for the driver and the passenger. The 2.8 V diesel A/T even gets vehicle stability control, hill-start assist control, brake assist and emergency brake signal. The V, G, and Touring Sport also come outfitted with Vehicle Security System alarm with immobilizer.
Toyota Innova Performance
The Innova's engine is quick and handles the weight of the Innova well but, as with most bigger cars, body roll is there when taking sharp corners. Braking works well too, although the car tends to dive forward during stops.
On the road, the Innova is generally steady and in control, thanks to the use of a conventional suspension setup coupled with a long wheelbase and thicker tires. When fully loaded, the suspension effectively absorbs most road bumps, and still does when driven alone. However, while it does not bounce like a pickup truck that carries a light cargo, a floaty effect could be felt when being driven alone at high speeds, which could be unsettling for the one behind the wheels if he is not used to it. One slight setback with driving the Innova is the steering wheel seems to push back when turning in low speed, such as when pulling into a parking space.
These, however, does not mean that the Innova is uncomfortable to drive and ride in. The abovementioned quirks are hardly noticeable on smoother roads and when the Innova is driven thoughtfully. For a full appreciation of the Innova's performance, one needs to remember that it is an MUV, and this model has already set new standards in the affordable MUV segment when it comes to engine performance, handling, and overall ride quality.
The Innova is one of the most fuel-efficient MPVs today, which makes it an even more attractive option for an all-around car for both daily city driving and out-of-town adventures. At the 13th Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Economy Run held in November 2017, the Innova posted the highest rating of 21.6 km/L among MPV entries in the diesel category. The event was aimed at raising awareness on the positive impact of fuel-efficient technology on car owners and the environment.The combination of excellent road performance and good fuel-efficiency has cemented the Innova's status as a bestselling MUV in the country, where it is widely used not only as a favorite family car but also as a service or company vehicle, metered taxicab, or ride-sharing car. The Philippine National Police even uses it as a patrol car.
Toyota Innova Exterior
In terms of exterior design, the Innova maintains a safe approach but manages to stand out against other MUVs in the market by sporting a premium touch to its styling. The all-new Innova gets a redesigned bumper with a large inverted grille with three thick top slats and three thin ones at the bottom. The grille and bumpers are lined with chrome for a glossier look, making the Innova seem more like a sturdy SUV than an MUV. The front projector headlamps and daytime running lights are an all-LED affair to make sure that the car remains energy efficient and that drivers see clearly on the road. The side facet of the Innova sports striking wheel archers, chrome-finished door handles, and window waistline, and a long character line that runs the entire length of the car. Turning indicators are embedded on the edge of side mirrors. In contrast to the elegant front and side profiles of the car, the rear view looks more conventional MUV. The backend of the car is on the boxy side, with robust rear bumper, black pillars and a huge tailgate lending a masculine appeal. The main highlight from this view, however, is the roof spoiler that beautifully complements the rear mirror and the Toyota emblem.
Even though there are 12 variants to choose from, the Toyota Innova uses the same dimensions across all. Each Innova measures 4,735mm in length, 1,830mm in width, and 1,795mm in height and has a 2,750mm wheelbase. This makes the all-new Innova taller and longer than the previous iteration. The Innova runs on 16-inch wheels, alloy with center cap for G, Touring Sport, and E variants and steel with full cap for the J variant. They are wrapped in 205/65 tires. The top-spec V 2.8 Diesel A/T gets 17-inch alloy wheels with center cap and 215/55 tires. The Toyota Innova is available in the following color options: Freedom White, White Pearl, Silver Metallic, Black Mica, Blackish Red Mica, Alumina Jade Metallic, and Blue Mica Metallic.
Toyota Innova Interior
The Innova's interior is a far cry from the typical MUV look. Soft materials, metal highlights and fake polished wood parts lend the cabin a premium touch. The dashboard features a smart-looking, cascading layout that spells high-end VAN or SUV rather than affordable MUV. The Innova features an adjustable four-spoke steering wheel with audio, telephone, and MID switches. It comes wrapped in leather with wood and silver trims for the V and G variants and in urethane with silver trim for the Touring Sport, E, and J options. The driver has easy visibility of the Optitron analog gauges as well as the LCD multi-information display that shows pertinent information such as average fuel consumption, eco-score, and outside temperature. Most variants also show shift information.
It is hard not to admire the way the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system is enclosed in what seems to be two wavy layers -- a layout that looks unique and artsy – in the middle of the front console. The screen is bordered by silver and fake wood panels for a more sophisticated look. The Innova's infotainment system includes a variety of things, depending on the variant. The low-spec J gets CD, tuner, MP3 and Auxiliary Input support and four speakers. Higher trims get the same plus USB, WiFi, DVD, Bluetooth wit streaming and navigation support and six speakers.
The lower portion of the center console adopts a minimalist styling, with just tiny buttons for climate control, which comes automatic for the V and J trim and manual for the rest.
Innova drivers get a good view of the car's front, thanks to a more upright grille and hood and highly adjustable driver's seat, which has reclining, sliding, and vertical height adjustment features in most trims.
All Innova trims has a seating capacity of eight, except for the V variant which is designed for seven occupants. The front row features separate seats for the driver and the passenger. The middle row may be folded 6:40 with one-touch tumble, slide and recline features. The third row may also be folded and slid. Meanwhile, the V variant buyers are given captain seats as an option.
The Toyota Innova boasts of 300 liters of cargo space with all seats up. This may be increased to 750 liters with the third row seats folded, and to 1,128 liters with the middle row also bended. This makes the Innova a practical option not only for transporting several people at a time but also for carrying heavy and large luggage.