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Toyota Innova – The king of MPVs

Snapshot: Even though it is almost a decade old, the Innova still manages to be one of the best MPVs on sale in India

Few cars need any introduction and the Innova is one of them. Ever since its launch way back in 2005, it has been the best-selling MPV here in India and has managed to have a solid fan following and loyal customer base. So changing the car’s looks has always been a very difficult proposition. After all, why change a design that is loved so much. But to keep it fresh and competitive Toyota has upgraded the car yet again. How good are the changes? Well, let’s find out.

Toyota Innova Exteriors
Unlike the latest generation of MPVs which really harp on being compact, the Innova is big on the outside and it’s immediately visible when you see this car from side on. The car’s silhouette has remained largely unchanged since its launch nearly a decade ago. The new version however gets a huge grille upfront with lots of chrome, smarter headlamps and new bumper as well. The rear gets new tail lamps along with a new bumper. Toyota have also refreshed the car’s alloy design to keep it fresh and contemporary. All these changes go a long way to make it fresh and keep the appeal going.

Toyota Innova Interior
Being a big car on the outside really helps the cause on the inside. The Innova is one of the few MPVs which offer generous luggage space even with the last row up. There is genuine space to place three large pieces of suitcase. With the last row of seats folded away this MPV is actually good enough to move your house in. The seats themselves offer great comfort. In fact this car has the best seats on any car here in India. There is good amounts of legroom as well and this combined with AC vents even in the last two rows really makes the Innova a very comfortable 7-seater in the country.

Quality of materials is the best in class as well and everything falls easily at hand making it a very practical and useable place to be in. Being a high car you get a good commanding view of the road ahead.


 

Toyota Innova ?Engine, performance and gearbox
The Innova comes with a tried-and-tested 2.5-litre diesel engine, which develops 100bhp of power and around 200Nm of torque.  All this power is transmitted via a five speed manual gearbox, which offers a positive shift. Though the throws are long, the gear shifts are very accurate. The clutch is slightly on the stiffer side. This engine gets a bit noisy when revved hard, but not so much so that it becomes an irritant. On ling drives, it’s pretty decent. Engine responses from low revs are pretty good as well considering that it is an older motor. That said, it could do with a few more horses. The Innova needs a gear shift when you want to overtake a slower moving car on the highway. Performance is adequate but could do better.

Toyota Innova Ride and handling
The Innova comes with a tried-and-tested 2.5-litre diesel engine, which develops 100bhp of power and around 200Nm of torque.  All this power is transmitted via a five speed manual gearbox, which offers a positive shift. Though the throws are long, the gear shifts are very accurate. The clutch is slightly on the stiffer side. This engine gets a bit noisy when revved hard, but not so much so that it becomes an irritant. On ling drives, it’s pretty decent. Engine responses from low revs are pretty good as well considering that it is an older motor. That said, it could do with a few more horses. The Innova needs a gear shift when you want to overtake a slower moving car on the highway. Performance is adequate but could do better.


 

Toyota Innova Safety and equipment
The top-end version comes loaded to the gills with equipment. You get automatic climate control, three rows of AC vents, Bluetooth stereo, steering mounted audio controls, 12v socket, alloy wheels, ABS along with two airbags as well.

Toyota Innova Competitors
The closest rivals are the Honda Mobilio as well as the Maruti Ertiga. While those two cars may offer better fuel economy and ease of driving, they simply cannot match the Innova for sheer comfort.

Summary
Though it may almost a decade old now, the Innova still comes across as the quintessential MPV. It offers a comfortable cabin, plenty of room in all three row of seats and good quality. And even though it might be a little more expensive than some of its rivals the strong Toyota badge ensures that resale values will be very strong when you want to upgrade a few years from now.

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