Published on December 6th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair0
Toyota Innova 2.0G Review: When The Family Comes First
The challenges of taking care of your family can be quite unexpected. One minute, you’re married, the next, you’re taking 3 kids to the mall with your in-laws and the nanny in tow. That’s a reality for many Malaysians, though not many can afford to go for a full-sized Alphard or Vellfire. That’s where the Innova fits in.
Now in its 2nd generation, the Innova feels like it’ll make a lot more owners happy with what it has to offer. It retains a lot of what the previous Innova was great at – the reasonable pricing, space for 8 and adequate performance – but takes things up a notch in the way the car looks, handles and feels.
A good place to start is the design of the thing. The new Innova forgoes the conventional looks of its predecessor for more aggressive styling on the exterior. The use of chrome here also hints at a further push towards something a little more premium.
Get in the cabin, and you can see this delivered. There’s gloss-finished wood trim along dashboard. It’s clear Toyota wanted to flex some design muscle. In a car like this, they could have gone for rectangular, ‘safe’ trim parts. Instead, there’s plenty of curves, bends and colour tones, and they all fit together well.
The ambient lighting is also a nice feature – elevating the feel of the interior, especially at night.
Most mellow drives in the Innova are pleasant. From our testing, highway drives are smooth and quiet enough to have all passengers nap in comfort. There’s even manual climate control and air vents for rear passengers. On the highway, we can see a lot of families being very happy with what’s offered here.
But there’s no hiding the fact that this is a body-on-frame vehicle. The 2-litre and its 6-speed automatic transmission are mounted longitudinally, as the Innova still uses the rear-wheel drive setup of the IMV platform.
A lot of clever design, engineering and packaging remove the dynamic limitations associated with a ladder chassis.
For instance, the use of multi-link rear and double wishbone front suspension ensures the car can handle itself decently even with a full load. But don’t get carried away with performance. Before you even reach whatever theoretical limit the Toyota engineers have set for the ESC, your instincts will (hopefully) kick in and get you off the throttle.
The new 6-speed definitely helps the 1720kg Innova stay efficient – just stay light on the accelerator and in ECO mode and the automatic will be eager to get to overdrive as quickly as it can.
What the Innova 2.0G really excels at though is convenience. Let’s start with how easy it is to fold up the rear row of sets.
First you remove the centre headrest are store it in its compartment.
Tuck the seat belt into its little slot.
Following this you can fold the seats forward.
Then you tug on the little black strap, which ought to spring up one section of seat.
The spring gives a little bit of momentum for you to easily pull it towards the windows.
Once up there, use the little beige hook to securely fasten the folded up seat. Repeat the steps on the other side and you’ve got yourself a full-sized boot.
Some of the other convenience features include Auto Up and Down function on all four windows – something many C-segment Japanese cars aren’t equipped with.
You also get parking sensors at the front AND back, as well as an optional reverse camera.
Both the front passenger and driver’s vanity mirrors have dedicated lights.
Convenience is also something the driver enjoys.
All the important audio controls are mounted directly on the steering, which has more than enough adjustability for the average driver. There are Auto headlamps here too.
All in all, the new Innova is a big step forward in terms of creature comforts. We still prefer the Sienta’s low floor, power sliding doors, LED headlights and modern feel/design.
But if you’ve got to transport 7-8 large adults or growing children regularly, the Innova’s size and power might be the better choice.
And if you really think about it, Toyota are really throwing just about every feature your way with this variant of the Innova. From wing-mirror turn signals, to keyless entry and start.
So if you find yourself ferrying around an increasingly large family around, why not give the Innova a spin? Bring your kids along and see how they feel about the car too.
Toyota Innova 2.0G Specifications
Engine: Inline-4 DOHC petrol with Dual VVT-i
Gearbox: 6-speed automatic
Max power: 137hp @ 5600rpm
Max torque: 183hp @ 4000rpm