It was in 2005 that Toyota Kirloskar Motors finally decided to have a replacement for the ever so successful Toyota Qualis. This resulted in the Toyota Innova been born. It was much pricier than the Qualis and even was more of an elephant to the Qualis’s slim design. The Toyota Innova in India wasn’t a new piece of car built specifically for India. Rather it was borrowed from the Indonesian market. In Indonesia, its name is Toyota Kijang. I was in my final year in college when this car was unveiled and I am sure it did take my breath away with its huge dimensions. But then someone opened the interiors and it made a whole lot of difference by just seeing its vast interior space as well as quality of the interiors. Way ahead of the Toyota Qualis. I know, we at Indiandrives have compared the Toyota Innova with the Mahindra Xylo already but then don’t know why, when the opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t say no to it. A friend of mine wanted me to test drive an Innova for him as he was planning to buy it soon. Unfortunately he had minimum experience in driving cars and hence I was the scapegoat chosen for this job. So my thoughts were, why not make a test drive of this small drive that I had. Sorry, didn’t have time for the Toyota Innova review. So here is the Toyota Innova test drive report.
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In the looks department, the Toyota Innova has grown palatable over the years. The Toyota Innova 2010 model featured a few revisions in face of the growing competition and to give it a mid cycle refresh. The car/van now gets a new corporate grille, the same as the one we have seen first on the Camry and now on the Etios as well as Corolla. The head lamps get black inserts in them. Instead of the outside rear view mirrors being body colored, they have been given a chrome garnish. All variants of this car get 205/65 R15, tubeless tyres but then only the top end variant gets alloys. The rear portion gets a wide glass area with a stop lamp mounted high above it. For the newer variants, there is the clear lens tail lamps. The tail gate opens vertically and has a chrome hatch opener. The tail pipe is a chunky unit and looks like an after market one. It actually suits the vehicle’s dimensions.
Cut to the interiors, there is a sense of high quality everywhere. Oh yes, I have seen the same interiors in the Toyota Fortuner as well. Anyone buying the Toyota Innova would be getting interiors of a Rs 10 lakhs pricier car. I love the front seats of the Innova as they are very much comfortable for even 6 footers. No angling of the foot or anything. No knees banging against the dashboard. The steering wheel is leather wrapped and makes for a good hold. The Optitron meters look very good when lit in the night. Speaking of night, the head lamps aren’t that powerful. I overheard this from one of the over eager sales person in the outlet. He also mentioned that most of the customers go for HID kits, like the one in the Toyota Corolla. For the Toyota Innova 2011 or even the Toyota Innova 2010 model, there are only subtle changes like the welcome inclusion of a Multi Information Display or MID, steering mounted controls. AUX and USB input, 6 speaker single CD player system and automatic climate control. The interior quality is top notch and something which I had even praised in the comparison tests. There is fake wood insert all around the cabin just like the one in the Toyota Corolla. But then it never feels cheap. There are enough of cubby holes in the cabin and like the Etios, would be a smuggler’s delight. I remember that the Toyota Innova was the first car in its category to offer individual captain seats in the middle row. The one I had a test drive in, didn’t have that option. It was like a bench but nevertheless, very comfortable. Infact, I shared the test drive with a small family of four and even with the head of the family seated in the driver’s seat, my knees never banged against the back of the front seat. Mind you, the driver was also 6’1.
For a test drive, I did put on the climate control and it cooled the cabin within a matter of few minutes. Even the rearmost seat was comfortable for me but then my knees did brush against the middle row of seats. It was slightly more comfortable than the Tata Aria which we have extensively tested in Indiandrives. Luggage space with the full row of seats in place is only 280 liters. But that is to be expected as the Innova is no Mercedes R class. There were even AC vents, embedded in the pillars for the last row of passengers.
It has been always said that the Toyota Innova in India is the benchmark as far as ride and handling packages for MUVs go. I always remember the Toyota Qualis heaving and pitching when fully loaded and when you apply sudden brakes. No such problems for the Toyota Innova. It is based on the IMV platform, on which even the Toyota Fortuner is built upon. At the front, the Innova gets coil springs with double wishbones whereas coil springs with lateral rod and four links non-independent suspension makes up for the rear. Low speed ride quality is excellent since the car dispatches pot holes with aplomb. Inside the cabin, I could barely hear a muted thud apart from the clatter of the diesel engine. Yes, I test drove a diesel engine since this is what makes up for most of the sales of the Toyota Innova. There is a petrol variant as well as CNG option. Not enough time to check those out though. The handling of this MUV is also the class best. I was surprised at the utter lack of body roll from such a tall structure. Rather than slowing down for the 1 odd corner, I could just breeze past it, much to the chagrin of the young couple with me. My friend was explaining as to who I was and why I was doing all this. That seemed to rest their fears a bit. I encountered a wet patch of road enroute and even here, the vehicle was very stable. Mention must also be made of the steering wheel, which unlike other Toyotas, relays good feedback. Moreover, speed breakers are also smothered with the 176 mm ground clearance that the Toyota Innova commands. NVH though is on the higher side and the Mahindra Xylo diesel seems like a petrol in comparison to this car. At low speeds or say, speeds of upto 80 kmph, the car is silent, but post that, it takes on an intrusive drone. The petrol as well as CNG option, I am told are far better and have much lower NVH characteristics. I will take your word for it Toyota.
Engine options in the car, as discussed earlier are basically three with a diesel, petrol and CNG option. First about the diesel that I test drove. It is a 4 cylinder 2.5 liters common rail direct injection, turbocharged diesel. It is called the D4D motor in Toyota parlance. It produces 102 Bhp of peak power at 3600 rpm whereas the maximum torque of 200 Nm is produced from as low as 1400-3400 rpm. For all the engines, the gearbox is a 5 speed manual. The gearbox has got long throws but shifts are precise. The Innova was never meant to be a driver’s delight and that explains the long throw gearbox. Since it was a test drive and one from the dealership, I couldn’t time the exact figures for the acceleration runs. Expect the 0-100 kmph dash in 16-17 seconds and top speed to be in the range of around 145 kmph. The diesel is very torquey and has a flat torque curve. This means that the city driving that I did was almost in 2nd and sometimes in 3rd gear. The ratios are also well spaced out. The petrol on the other hand is a 2.0 liter unit and it gets the company’s EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection). This allows the engine to produce 132 Bhp of power at 5600 rpm and peak torque of 181 Nm at 4000 rpm. The CNG version on the other hand makes slightly less power but then gives huge savings as far as running costs are spoken about.
Brakes are discs at front and drums at the rear with EBD and ABS thrown in the higher variants. The brake bite is very good and even with a demo vehicle on hand, which would have catered to thousands of test drivers, the Toyota Innova that I drove had enough of feel. It made for accurate stops. Being a Toyota, safety is also top notch with top end variants getting dual front air bags in addition to other safety features. The other variants get GOA (Global Outstanding Assessment) Body, Side Door Impact Beams, Central Locking, Child locks and also collapsible steering column.
Toyota Innova Photo Gallery
Fuel efficiency as expected for such a big and heavy vehicle is low but then the salesperson told me that in real world conditions, the diesel returns 10.3 kmpl in city whereas on the highway, add 4 more kilometers. I think this should be enough considering the size and various roles that the car plays. Sorry Aamir Khan, had to steal your lines there. The petrol is a bit more thirsty with 8 kmpl in city and 11 kmpl on the highway. CNG is said to have Rs 1.5 per kilometer running costs.
When the MUV was launched some good 6 years back, Toyota hadn’t expected the MUV buying public to give it such a big thumbs up. The reason was the Toyota Innova price. I will come down to that later. But then people who went in for the first test drive of this car were surprised with its almost car like feel when driving, quality interiors, space quotient and the Toyota reliability. Moreover to cater to the Indian public, Toyota had on offer the petrol as well as diesel variants. Unlike the first generation Tata Indica as well as Mahindra Logan, the Innova is also a family car. Many companies like Chevrolet, Tata as also Mahindra have tried to bring in the Toyota Innova challengers but in vain. The Innova still stands tall. No wonder my friend booked a diesel and the young couple who were with us during the test drive, booked a diesel as well. Oh well, I forgot, there are about 25 variants of this car. They are 2.5 Diesel MS 8-Seater, 2.5 Diesel MS 7-Seater, 2.0 G1 Petrol 8-Seater, 2.5 EV [Diesel] MS 8-Seater BS IV, 2.5 EV [Diesel] MS 7-Seater BS IV, 2.5 Diesel PS 8-Seater, 2.5 Diesel PS 7-Seater, Innova CNG, 2.0 G [Petrol] 8 Seater BS IV, 2.5 EV [Diesel] PS 8 Seater BS IV, 2.5 EV [Diesel] PS 7 Seater BS IV, 2.5 G1 Diesel 8 Seater, 2.0 G4 Petrol 8 Seater, 2.0 G [Diesel] 8 Seater BS IV, 2.0 GX [Petrol] 8 Seater BS IV, 2.5 G4 Diesel 7-Seater, 2.5 G4 Diesel 8-Seater, 2.5 GX [Diesel] 7 Seater BS IV, 2.5 GX [Diesel] 8 Seater BS IV, 2.0 V Petrol 8-Seater, 2.0 VX [Petrol] 8 Seater BS IV, 2.5 V Diesel 7-Seater, 2.5 V Diesel 8-Seater, 2.5 VX [Diesel] 7 Seater BS IV and the 2.5 VX [Diesel] 8 Seater BS IV. Phew, that was a long list. The Toyota Innova price in India starts from Rs 8,10,464 and climbs all the way to Rs 12,43,276 for the top end diesel version. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai. So which role are you going to play today?