Hands down, when most people hear the phrase multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), the Toyota Innova is immediately the model that comes to mind. A permanent fixture in the top ten bestselling vehicles in the country since its debut, there’s no questioning the Innova’s workhorse capabilities. But like all vehicles, it has its share of downsides. We list the MPV’s pros and cons to help you discern if it deserves to be the next car you buy.
1. Spacious interior
With a 2750mm wheelbase, there’s plenty of interior space for seven to eight occupants to enjoy in the 2020 Innova. Want to give your second-row passengers a relaxing ride? Choose the variant with the captain seats. Simply put, the new Innova has so much legroom in all three rows that a full seating capacity made up of all adults won’t have any issues about legroom, elbow room, and headroom, even during long travels.
2. A more stylish exterior
Although the overall silhouette has remained relatively the same for the Innova between its old and new generation, the sheetmetal is undeniably vastly improved. The main changes include the smoother rake of the windshield, the shorter height, and restyled last row windows, which take on a more triangular shape than the previous generations parallelogram profile. The sides also get an eye-catching diagonal character line that runs from the front fenders straight to the rear combination lamps, giving the new Innova a sense of sleek and style.
3. Comfy cabin and features
If the captain seats are any indication, it’s that the Innova cabin has been tremendously upgraded, especially when compared to its earlier iterations. High quality fabric upholsters the seats, and the ergonomic surfaces lull occupants into a heightened sense of relaxation. Creature comforts include automatic climate control, auxiliary power outlets, illuminated entry, interior ambient lights, two driving modes (ECP and Power), Smart Entry and Push Start, 6-speaker audio system, and a TFT touchscreen infotainment with navigation, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary input, to name a few.
4. Above-average safety
Toyota is big on safety, as savvy car buyers already know. So while MPVs in general aren’t known for advanced safety systems, Toyota gives the Innova Vehicle Stability Control, Driver assist, Hill-start Assist, and Brake Assist (V variant only). As for standard safety, the Innova’s got SRS airbags all around, seatbelts, anti-lock brakes, vehicle security, and back-up sensor.
5. Excellent fuel efficiency
The latest version of the Innova offers a choice between a 2.8-liter 1GD-FTV Direct Injection Four-Stroke Common Rail Diesel (169hp, 360Nm) and 2.0-liter 1TR-FE Dual Variable-Valve Timing-Intelligent (Dual VVT-i) gasoline engine (134hp, 183Nm). Both engines are known for their reliable fuel economy. Transmission options include a 6-Speed AT with Sequential Control and 5-speed M/T. The gasoline engine is the same one installed in the first generation, while the new diesel engine replaces the 2.5-liter 2KD-FTV of the old one.
6. Wide range of options
With 12 variants in all, the Toyota Innova is second only to the Toyota Hilux in terms of versatility among Toyota Motor Philippines’ (TMP) current crop of offerings. With such a dizzying array of choices, buyers are ensured that they have an Innova to fit their needs and budget.
1. It’s grown expensive
The price range of the current Innova is between PHP1,036,000 for the base J Gas MT and PHP1,694,000 for the top-ranging V Diesel AT. That’s a long way from the Innova’s humble PHP600,000-plus beginnings. And with the influx of more affordable rivals like the Foton Gratour IM6 and Suzuki Ertiga, the Innova certainly has to ensure it delivers the money’s worth if it wants to stay on top of the MPV game.
2. Lower variants are under-featured
Since the lowest rung Innova is well above the PHP1 million price tag, you’d expect the car to at least come with plenty of mid-level trappings, especially with regards to infotainment. Alas, all you get is an archaic 2 DIN audio system. Considering that many other models below its price range already come with touchscreen, this is simply unacceptable. And although the safety features are better than many of its rivals, it’s still not as good as other similarly priced cars.
Yay or nay?
Buyers of the Innova already know what they’re going to get—a reliable workhorse of a car. And the addition of creature comforts are mainly considered as icing on the cake. So if a true-blue multi-purpose ride is what you’re looking for, you really can’t go wrong with this offering from the premiere Japanese carmaker. Want to save money? Then go for the Gratour IM6, Ertiga, or Toyota’s other MPV, the Avanza.
Photos from Toyota