The new Toyota Innova Crysta has been launched in India starting at a price of Rs. 13.21 lakhs while the top of the line 2.8-litre AT variant costs Rs. 20.78 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi). The seating arrangement, size and price makes it a staunch rival of the Mahindra XUV500.

Toyota Innova Crysta Road Test
The second generation Toyota Innova has been launched in India

Today we pitch two champion cars against each other and let them jostle out in the boxing ring of the Microsoft Excel sheet. On the red corner, we have the exemplary Mahindra XUV500, which, even after so many years of its launch, has had no direct competition until now and is still synonymous of the phrase ‘best bang for your buck’ in the market. On the blue corner we have the 2016 Toyota Innova Crysta which has a premium price for an MPV just because of the prestige of the Toyota badge and the simple fact that the car will outlive its owner. Let the fight begin!

Design – The Innova and the XUV500 are completely different cars in terms of body style, construction and approach, but what’s common among both the cars is how dominating and imposing they are on the Indian roads – flash your lights two times and half a mile of traffic gives way instantly.

The Mahindra XUV500 is a monocoque front-wheel-drive crossover. It was refreshed a year ago which saw the front end of the car getting some curves and a lot of chrome, thereby increasing the mass-appeal of the vehicle. Due to its muscular hunches, big tail lamps and headlamps and tall height, the car grabs eyeballs wherever it goes.

The new Toyota Innova Crysta on the other hand is 150-odd mm longer than the XUV500 but is based on a ladder-on-frame chassis and is rear-wheel-drive. The car is given an unapologetic minivan-like styling with a big imposing chrome grille and long swoopy headlights, to effectively give away a sense of luxury and spaciousness to the car. The Innova also has a tad longer (50 mm) wheelbase than the XUV500.

Features – When the XUV500 was unleashed in the market, it redefined the word ‘fully loaded’ as it had a long list of features which were not available in cars priced a million rupees more at that time. The car currently boasts of luxuries like All Wheel Drive system, sunroof, push button start-stop system, electronically adjustable seat, touchscreen navigation, keyless entry, 6 airbags along with ABS and Hill Hold/Hill Descent Control and automatic wipers and headlamps.

The new Toyota Innova Crysta improves upon the previous complaints of the last-gen Innova of having utilitarian interiors with very less features. The high price of the people mover has been justified by features such as 8-inch infotainment system, 17-inch alloy wheels, curtain airbags, LED projector lamps, wood finish on panels, smart entry and push-start button, automatic climate control, ambient LED lighting and a lot more.

Powertrain – The XUV500 is considered as a ‘fast’ SUV primarily due to the 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine which is a gem of a motor. The engine is always eager to rev and produces 140 BHP of power and 340 Nm of torque from just 1750 RPM. But the experience is marred by an industrial 6-speed manual gearbox which is notchy at best with rubbery shifts. At the same time, the Aisin 6-speed automatic gearbox plus the mHawk engine is a match made in heaven with super-smooth shifts and efficient power delivery.

The Toyota Innova is offered with a choice of 2.4-litre or 2.8-litre diesel engines mated to 5-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions. The 2.4-litre engine produces a healthy 150 BHP of power and the bigger 2.8-litre motor produces a good 174 BHP to pull the vehicle. The engines come with three drive modes – Eco, Normal and Power. Toyota claims that the MPV’s new diesel engines are 10% more fuel efficient than the old diesel engines.

Price and Verdict – The Mahindra XUV500 and the Toyota Innova Crysta are two cars aimed at completely different demographics. The XUV500 is bought by people who wish to get their weekly groceries on Friday and conquer Leh-Ladhakh on Sunday using the All Wheel Drive system of the car. Whereas, the Innova is a complete highway mile-muncher whose sole purpose is to transport 7-8 people with full luggage on a 6 hour road trip from Delhi to Amritsar in as much comfort as possible.

The Mahindra XUV500 starts from Rs. 12.09 lakhs and goes up to Rs. 18.03 lakhs. The newly launched Toyota Innova similarly starts from Rs. 13.21 lakhs and goes till Rs. 20.78 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi).

Mahindra XUV500 vs Toyota Innova

Toyota Innova Vs Mahinda XUV500 Specifications