The Toyota Innova is a car that requires absolutely no introduction and along with the Fortuner it is the cash cow for Toyota here. Thus it goes without saying that the new Innova, which would be on sale later within a few days time, would one of the most important launches by Toyota. The sort of domination that this MPV has in its segment is the envy of its rivals and no other car has managed to give the Innova any sort of competition. In India it is called as Innova Crysta and with this all new generation model, Toyota has simply build on its strengths and eliminated its weaknesses. So here is our first drive review of the 2016 new Toyota Innova Crysta. Read on.
The new Innova Crysta looks vastly different from the current one and sure does look a lot more premium and modern. The styling is edgy and crisp with a lot more aggression dialed in. The reason is simple as the Innova Crysta has moved up with the aim of not just appealing to its traditional customer base but to luxury sedan and SUV buyers. It is also longer and wider than the previous Innova with a length of 4735mm and width of 1830mm.
The front gets a massive chrome grille with nicely designed LED Projector headlamps which again forms the bulk of the new found aggression of the Innova. The side view still retains some of the look of the current gen but you have new 17 inch wheels which hides the bulk of the car somewhat. At the rear you have big new tail-lamps with a new rear bumper which again is a lot more interesting to look at than what you have in the current gen. Build quality and paint finish is top-notch.
It can be argued that the interiors of the Innova Crysta matter a lot more than the exteriors and the transformation is frankly astounding. Simply put the interiors have taken a massive leap forward from the current gen with the overall look and feel being more luxury car than MPV. There is a lot of similarity with the new gen Fortuner and gone is the conservative design and replaced by a sporty cabin. The wood finish adds class and we love the way the line flows from the dash to the top of the instrument cluster giving it a non-fussy and simple yet luxurious look. Everywhere you look the quality levels have gone up and no other car at this price feels this expensive from inside.
The big changes though are in the feature list with the main talking point being the 7 inch touchscreen with DVD, Bluetooth, voice command, navigation, USB etc. Elsewhere you have front powered seats, push button start/stop, tray tables, cruise control, 6-speaker audio system, automatic climate control, 4.2 inch TFT Multi-information display, cooled glove box, blue ambient lighting etc. In the safety department, the new Innova Crysta has 7 airbags in total including side, knee and curtain airbags plus ABS with EBD, Hill start Assist Control, vehicle stability control amongst others.
The touchscreen works well and we also liked the sound quality of the audio system. Our drive was in Goa and it is quite humid there but the massive cabin of the Innova Crysta is cooled down very quickly with the rear aircon coming in handy. The current Innova was lacking in the features department but the new one brings upto speed here big time.
Comfort and space is the reason why the Innova has been so popular and with the Innova Crysta, the core strength not only remains but is also enhanced. While the front seats are extremely comfy, it is the rear seats that matter as many are chauffeur driven. The now larger 2nd row captain seats themselves are a lot more comfortable now plus legroom is also improved over its predecessor plus you can easily slide forward the front passenger seat for more space. The cabin now has a more airy feel no doubt.
The third row is among the best we have encountered and it is not torture unlike some other cars with more than adequate headroom and legroom plus access is easy thansk to 1 touch tumble down for the rear seats. Storage is also well taken care off with two gloveboxes plus a large storage space in the middle plus lots of door pockets and spaces to store your knick knacks. With all three rows in place, luggage space is quite good.
There are a new set of engines for the Innova too with the GD series diesel line- up. The range starts with the 2.4 diesel with 148 bhp - a rather significant jump from the current motor. It comes with a new 5-speed manual gearbox. The flagship of the range is the 2.8 diesel with 172 bhp and only comes with a 6-speed automatic gearbox. There is also an Eco and a Power mode where engine response is tuned for efficiency or more acceleration. We drove the 2.8 AT variant the most and came away impressed. Be it performance or ride and handling it is indeed a big step forward from the current model. Performance is improved and it feels a lot faster now with minimal lag. The 6- speed automatic gearbox is perfectly suited to the car and makes it an effortless cruiser, being quite responsive and smooth.
In the city the gearbox is quite responsive to part throttle inputs and the healthy torque of 360Nm means the Innova Crysta makes for smooth progress without fuss. Clearly the automatic gearbox masks lag. In power mode with the gearbox in manual the Innova Crysta offers lots of overtaking oomph and driven flat out there is a lot more urgency now.
The 2.4 diesel is not particularly slow either and there is not a huge change between the two engines but the crucial thing is that the 2.4 comes with a manual gearbox which provides a different driving experience. The gearbox much like the current one is a long throw affair but with slightly better shift quality and lighter clutch than the current Innova. However clearly the automatic does a better job of removing lag but still strong bottom-end means navigating low speeds in traffic does not require frequent downshifts.
Unlike other cars with various modes, in the Innova Crysta, driving in the Eco mode is not a nightmare where the engine performance is woefully turned down which has you reaching for the other modes within a second. For city driving there is more than adequate punch plus of course there are gains in efficiency. speaking of which you get 14.29 kmpl in the automatic and 15.10 kmpl in the manual.
Ride and handling
You only need to drive the new Innova Crysta a few metres to see what a huge change it is over the current one and none more so than in the ride and handling department. It rides much better now with bumps and potholes dealt with ease plus you will like the good refinement at low speeds. A marked improvement is the significant cut in body roll over the earlier Innova and it corners with a lot more confidence now though its size and weight is still felt in the corners but it is much better now overall. At high speeds it is also more stable now which is a huge plus for it will used for travelling vast distances a lot. The only issue is the hydraulic steering which is very heavy at low speeds but it does get better as speeds increase.
With every new generation there is a marked improvement in a car but with the Innova Crysta, Toyota have revamped this popular MPV completely. While it still has its core attributes like space, practicality and comfort, it is now much more desirable than before with its new styling, features and the improved driving experience. We recommend going for the automatic version as it makes the Innova Crysta a stronger packager owing to its enhanced ease of driving. Prices are out and at Rs 20.7 lakh for the top-end variant, it is more expensive than before but it is more than justified when looking at the whole package. Overall we strongly recommend a buy and also remember the reliability along with the excellent after sales service that further makes the Innova Crysta a logical choice in its price bracket.
Also read- Toyota Innova Crysta Features and Specs
Photography- Somnath and Pranav Divakar