2013 Toyota Innova Test Drive Review
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Toyota Innova Review

Car Tested: Toyota Innova 2.5 D4-D ZX

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 18,27,500/-

The sheer comfort offered by the Toyota Innova is invincible.

Toyota launched the Innova in India in 2005, replacing the Qualis that was known for its tremendous reliability and practicality. Similarly, the Innova has been an acclaimed MPV for the taxi segment as well as private buyers. We all are aware about the enormous comfort the Innova provides for long journeys, accommodating more than five passengers without a hitch. However, in recent times the Indian market has seen a growing demand for compact MPVs such as the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and Chevrolet Enjoy. More such MPVs are due for launch in 2014 including the Honda Mobilio and Datsun Go+. Consequently, the Toyota Innova is feeling a little apprehensive and the Japanese automaker has launched an updated version of the Innova as a stop gap measure until the next generation model arrives in 2015. We take a spin and examine the updated elements of the Innova.

Motor Quest: The Toyota Innova went into production in 2003 and was first introduced in Indonesia, where it is known as the Kijang Innova. The Innova was prepared under Toyota’s IMV project that also included vehicles such as the Hilux Vigo pickup truck and the Fortuner SUV that are based on the N-series platform.

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There are no sheet metal changes on the facelifted Innova

Exterior – The Toyota Innova reveals a conventional silhouette of an MPV that has a sizeable passenger compartment terminating with a short and slanting bonnet. However, the Innova doesn’t look out of proportion or boxy. The design is uncluttered and simple that gets accentuated with some premium touches by the automaker on the range topping variants. Speaking of which, Toyota has introduced a fully loaded variant – Z with the updated Innova that comes with extra goodies on the exteriors as well as interiors.

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The rear gets additional chrome garnish, roof spoiler and chrome tipped exhaust pipe

When viewed from the front, the new screaming grille grabs your attention instantly. The updated grille is a highly arguable styling element on the new Innova. Some shiny chrome lovers would appreciate it but some people with simplistic outlook would rather prefer the previous version’s sober looking grille. Alongside the pronounced grille is the same headlight cluster that remains unchanged with the bonnet creases intact. The front bumper is revised with a new fog lamp housing accented with chrome.

2013 Toyota Innova Test Drive Front 2013 Toyota Innova Test Drive Rear

The updated Innova gets oodles of chrome both at the front and the rear, not really in a good way

On the side of the new Toyota Innova, you can notice the same set of alloy wheels wearing 205/65 R15 rubber. The ORVMs get integrated blinkers, door handles are chrome finished and the lower section of doors also get chrome strips. The pull-out antenna looks out of place. The Z variant comes with additional Toyota graphics on the side that highlights the crease lines. At the rear you get a strip of chrome integrated with reflectors that connects the tail lights and gives it a wide stance. Other changes include roof mounted spoiler, chrome finished exhaust pipe and Z badge.

2013 Toyota Innova Test Drive Dashboard 2011 Toyota Innova Dashboard

There are minor changes on the interiors compared to the pre-facelift model but not a world apart

Interior – Inside the cabin of the Toyota Innova, everything feels fresh, airy and very well put together. The light and smooth colour tones coupled with dark wood inserts express a sense of roominess and luxury. However, there are hardly any changes compared to the previous Innova’s V trim. The only noticeable changes are dual tone leather seats, darker shade of wood inserts, wood accents on the gear lever and chrome tipped hand brake lever. The steering wheel is good to hold and the controls are convenient to use. The instrument cluster is very simple and well sized, which is easy to read. The MID is featured on the centre console.

2013 Toyota Innova Test Drive Seats2013 Toyota Innova Test Drive Boot Space

The third row of seats are practical for two and when folded away, luggage space is commendable

The touch-screen media system is handy that comes with DVD player, USB, AUX, Bluetooth connectivity and acts as a display for the rear parking camera. The first and second row of seats are extremely comfortable with enough space and adequate thigh and back support. The last row is practical and suited for two short adults for long trips. The climate control works briskly and the roof mounted vents make sure that the whole cabin is chilled. When the last row is upright, the boot space is good for accommodating a couple of bags. Folding down the third row makes way for an incredible cargo space.

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The turbolag is well contained and the engine provides good low end grunt

Performance – The Toyota Innova comes with a 2.5-litre diesel engine that churns out 102 PS of power and 200 Nm of torque. You can’t even feel a hint of turbolag at initial revs, as the Innova proceeds cleanly on the word go. The 2.5-litre oil burner gathers pace swiftly but until the mid range. Post the mid-range, the power delivery is flat, which means one should maintain the rev range until 3000 RPM to 3500 RPM for continual power delivery. The engine can be revved hard but it doesn’t show any eagerness while redlining and it rather feels a bit harsh and noisy at the top end of the rev band. For ideal response and feel, the 2.5-litre motor is best enjoyed at the lower and mid rev range.

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The 2.5-litre diesel engine lacks top end power and loses breath on the highway

The diesel engine of the Toyota Innova comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission with short gear ratios. The gearbox has well defined gates but throws are long and the gearlever keeps vibrating constantly, specially at idle engine speeds. The gears need to be shifted quickly for smooth momentum. The first gear is too short, which needs to be changed as soon as you kick off. In fact, the second gear comes handy most of the time that picks up the vehicle smoothly at dead speeds. In bumper to bumper traffic conditions, the low ratios are a boon. Downshifting is not necessary most of the time because of its ample low end power.

2013 Toyota Innova Test Drive
The Innova performs very well in city driving conditions

However on the highways the Innova feels short legged and there is a need for a taller sixth gear for relaxed cruising. At 100 km/hr in fifth gear, the RPM needle is about to touch the 3000 RPM mark, which makes the motor a bit audible. Having said so, the engine gets very noisy post 120 km/hr. Overtaking is easy with the fifth gear on the highway but swift overtaking would demand a downshift. During our test drive, we got an overall fuel efficiency of 12.5 km/l, which is good enough for an MPV of this size.

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The Innova provides comfortable ride regardless of its pace

Driving Dynamics – The Toyota Innova has 1700 kgs of kerb weight, which is quite heavy for a MPV but on the move it feels fairly light because of its well sorted suspension setup. On smooth tarmac, you won’t feel the road and on patchy stretches it gulps the undulations maturely. Only sharp potholes filter through the cabin. The Innova provides oodles of comfort at long routes without disturbing the passengers much. While attending a corner you will feel the weight because there is a fair bit of bodyroll. The Innova doesn’t feel undertyred surprisingly with those 15-inchers, as it provides good grip with neutral handling characteristics.

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The steering wheel on the move isn’t feedback rich

The steering has a dazed feedback, which means it is slightly heavy at parking speeds, gets lighter when you gather speed and then it stays light at high speeds. However, while cornering, the feedback is predictable but it judders if you pass through undulations in a corner. High speed stability is confidence inspiring and lane changing is facile. NVH levels are well managed too, where the wind and tyre noise are under control but the engine noise is pronounced at high speeds. Breaking performance of the Toyota Innova is phenomenal with positive pedal bite and effective ABS operation.

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The Toyota Innova is one of the best MPVs present in the market today

Verdict – The Toyota Innova is an unrivalled MPV currently in the Indian market when it comes to build quality, reliability, practicality, comfort and Toyota’s hassle-free ownership experience. Long distance commuting is a cakewalk in the Innova with well laid out seating arrangement and comfortable suspension setup. City drivability is quite easy, thanks to the close ratio gearbox and good low end punch. However, the equipment list on offer at this price point is limited. Auto-folding door mirrors, navigation system, button start, sunroof, etc would have been appreciated with the updated Innova. We haven’t seen any prominent changes on the Innova since its launch and with the improving tech, gadgetry and mechanicals in this day and age, the Innova needs a generational upgrade soon.

The Toyota Innova comes with superior fit and finish and premium interiors that is complimented with a plush ride quality. The fully grown MPV is quite easy to drive around the city and the Toyota after-sales service is well worth appreciation.

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A shiny pose by the Toyota Innova in the dark

What’s Cool

* Build Quality
* Interior Space
* Ride Quality
* City Drivability

What’s Not So Cool

* Price
* Limited Features
* Top End Power

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The most substantial change on the updated Innova

2013 Toyota Innova Specifications

* Engine: 2494cc, 4-cylinder, DOHC, Common Rail, Turbocharged, Intercooled
* Power: 102 PS @ 3600 RPM
* Torque: 200 Nm @ 1200-3600 RPM
* Transmission: 5-speed manual
* Fuel Consumption: 13 km/l (City), 15 km/l (Highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* 0-100 km/hr: 17 seconds
* Top Speed: 160 km/hr
* Suspension: Double Wishbone (Front), Four Link With Lateral Rod (Rear)
* Tyres: 205/65/15 Tubeless
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drums (Rear)

2013 Toyota Innova Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 4585 mm X 1765 mm X 1760 mm
* Wheelbase: 2750 mm
* Ground Clearance: 176 mm
* Front/Rear Track: 1510 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.4-metres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 55-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1675-1700 kgs