India's most loved MPV is back in crystal form

India's most loved MPV is back in crystal form

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India's most loved MPV is back in crystal form
Ilove curves and when you are driving India’s most loved multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), you will still love it. Remember, the world’s largest carmaker, Toyota kickstarted the MPV revolution in India with the launch of Qualis, which was succeeded by Innova in 2005.

Believe it or not, Toyota has sold over 6 lakh Innovas in India, while globally it has 16 lakh customers. With all-new second generation Innova Crysta, Toyota will it continue to carry forward the brand legacy? Let’s find out.

First look

It is bigger and bolder. The design itself is more SUV-inspired. Bold stance of the front. It looks wider and elevated, which gives a more SUV feel.  When you see it from a distance, there is a bold, imposing stance.

The previous Innova had a sloping bonnet. The headlamps where more sedan-like. But now even the headlamps are much more sophisticated, bold and imposing. If you look closely, it is big, close to 2 feet. The chrome garnish on the radiator grill extends into the headlamp all the way.

These are LED projector headlamps — this is for the low beam, and halogen for the high beam, and LED clearance lamps (also called as parking/pilot lamp). The side-turn indicators have moved closer to the fog lamps in the front bumper. LED projector headlamps are a first in this segment. This will also contribute to low-energy consumption.

There are some other changes like washer nozzles which are now concealed under the hood giving it a clean look. And there’s a very prominent shoulder-line, running right from the headlamps along the side till the rear combination lamps.

The outside rear-view mirrors feature a welcome lamp — when you approach the Innova and unlock the car, the area near the front door is illuminated. They are called welcome lamps since the car welcomes you. The lamps in the interior are also illuminated upon unlocking.

The small button on the outside door handles is the smart entry request sensor. With the smart key in your pocket, you can just press the button on the door handle and the Innova will unlock.

The car sports 17-inch alloy wheels, while the previous Innova had 15-inch. At the rear, the spoiler is an integrated design, not an add-on part. This gives a more premium feel. The high mount stop lamp is LED-type. In addition, rear camera assists while reversing the Innova, the boot opening mechanics is electro-mechanical, soft-touch buttons lock/unlock and open the door easy-close function allows to close the door, and lock into place without using force to shut the door.

In addition to camera, you also have rear-parking sensors. The tail lamps have a boomerang or inverted L-shape. The antenna is a shark fin-type design which integrates well with the premium image of Innova Crysta. The tank capacity is 55 litres, which is same as the previous model.

Front Grills are chrome-finished; which give it a premium appearance. You do not see an overdose of chrome, they are much more tasteful and discreet. The mirrors can be adjusted and folded electrically.

Beautiful interiors

Welcome to the world of luxury. Oh boy! You will be really impressed once you get inside the cabin. The steering wheel is leather-wrapped and has wood finish. There are multi-function buttons which aid the driver to access a variety of information at the fingertips which is seen on the multi-information display — some of the functions are viewing-vehicle and drive-related information, receiving and making phone calls, audio controls like voice command, among others.

On a hot day, when the Innova is switched ‘On’ and ‘AC’ is set to auto mode, it does ‘Not’ throw hot air at the occupants. Instead, the AC waits until the air becomes cool, and only then the vents blow air on to the occupants.

Tumble seats

Most of us felt the pain while getting inside the third row. Seriously, Toyota’s parent team from Japan has solved this issue with second row one-touch tumble seats and third row one-touch space up seats GOA Body (Global Outstanding Assessment).

The boot space is even bigger compared with the older version. One can flip down the third and second row for more room.

The LED projector headlamps have an automatic function and can come ON once the ambient conditions turn dark.

Innova also offers cruise control on both manual and automatic variants. The combination meter houses a speedo meter and a Tachometer (engine rpm). In between these two is a 4.2-inch TFT multi-information display (MID). MID hosts various features like the current fuel consumption, driving range based on fuel available in the tank. An eco-indicator can tell you if you are driving in economy mode.

The ECO score function can suggest how to improve and achieve better fuel economy. It displays the driver rating for start, cruise and stop. Depending on the eco score, drivers can know which area they need to improve to achieve better fuel economy. There are 5 tabs, if your score is 5 on 5 in start mode; it means your starting is perfect. If you have scored 2 on 5 for cruising that means you have to improve it.

Apart from the above, there is an eco wallet, and comparison of fuel consumption. You can set a target for yourself in terms of what mileage you would like to achieve, and the wallet can calculate how much you have achieved in actual and also the money spent. It allows you to input the price of the fuel per litre, and it will tell you how much money you have spent.

The MID also supports navigation display. When you set a destination, the entire navigation is visible on the audio unit. However, the next immediate action will be displayed in the MID, so as to give out limited and quick information.

The steering has tilt and telescopic adjust. This along with the 8-way power adjust seat allows drivers to find the most suitable and comfortable driving position.

The power windows have auto up/down on all windows with jam protection on each window. Sun visors have vanity mirrors illumination for both driver and front passenger. The lamps will shut off in case the visors are placed back in position without closing the mirror lid front cabin and map lamps are linked to the door. Brightness of ambient illumination can be adjusted. There is also a sunglass holder.

The upper glove box has a cooling function, which can be shut off when not needed. Lower glove box has a damped opening along with illumination. There are a good number of bottle holders. The door pockets can hold 3 numbers of 1-litre bottles. Altogether, the Innova Crysta can accommodate over 20 bottles of various sizes.

Added safety features

On safety, the company has provided 3 SRS airbags as standard, normally it is 2 airbags for the passenger and the co-passenger and the third is for knee. For top-end model 7 SRS airbags [driver, front passenger, driver knee, front side (x2), curtain shield airbags (x2)]. On third row, all passengers get 3-point seatbelts.

Loaded with ABS + EBD + BA (Brake assist). Brake assist multiplies the effort of braking input by the driver, the Innova Crysta is a very safe vehicle. Vehicle Stability Control and Hill-start assist control adds lot of value.

Let’s drive

On a beautiful Sunday morning in Goa, I tried my hands on the 2.4-litre, 5-speed manual variant which produces 150 hp. Switch on the ignition, the engine comes alive. As expected, the diesel engines makes noise. However, the engine is noisy when pushed hard. Even light acceleration makes the noise audible. The company claimed that there has been a major improvement from the previous generation Innova. I leave it to you.

Thanks to its smooth steering, the drive towards Margao City felt easier. Every now and then, there were so many curves. The beauty of driving the Innova, even though it is tall and mighty, is that it is seamless and you don’t feel when you drive irrespective of the speed. The steering is light at high speed. When it comes to power output, there is a strong surge of around 2,000 rpm, and the engine feels really powerful.

First time AT variant

Innova is known as a chauffer-driven vehicle. However, now even the owners can get behind the mighty MPV. For the first time in Innova, AT (automatic transmission) has been introduced.

The automatic transmission has 4 modes, P, R, N, D — Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive. In D-mode, the vehicle decides which gear to engage. In S, (sequential SHIFT) the driver can get the feel of a manual transmission and choose which gear the vehicle must be in. The 2.8 variant is available with 6-Speed Automatic, which produces 174 hp.

Not happy with the short drive route. I took the AT on the way to the airport. Trust me, I have driven many ATs. I would rate this vehicle one of the best, it is not only easy to drive but quite a pleasure. This engine gives you quick response.

The more you drive faster, it hugs the road better. No doubt, overtaking is easy and just brings on the power whenever you demanded. I could touch easily the speed of 140 km/hour.

Hugely popular

On a highway drive, many existing customers of Innova overtook us, not only to have a glimpse of the new Innova Crysta, but they literally stopped us to have an entire look of the new baby.

The new Innova Crysta is priced competitively in the range of Rs 14,17,740 and Rs 21,12,311 (ex-showroom Bengaluru).