Toyota will be launching the facelifted Innova at the Auto Expo in the first week on January. We have just driven the popular MPV in Bangalore and here is our first impression.
The Innova’s styling gets its first major update and what is instantly noticeable is the slightly wider and more upright grille. There is also a new central ridge just above the Toyota logo and also a more prominent ‘V’ in the bonnet’s lines. The angular headlights that stretch right back to just above the front fenders are new too, and add a touch of elegance here. Completing the look is the restyled front bumper that features a bigger air-dam and neatly ensconced fog lights.
Viewed in profile, the Innova looks much like the old model, though the rearview mirror-mounted indicators, slightly different design of the alloy wheels and skirting on the sides are part of the redesign. Styling changes to the tail are quite subtle and include the re-profiled taillights and a wider chrome bar above the number plate.
Open the doors and you’ll be greeted by the same spacious cabin that now comes with plastics finished in a lighter hue of beige. The faux wood trimmings are also darker than before. Add to these the new dual-tone seat covers and you have a cabin that instantly feels richer than the old Innova’s.
There is also a redesigned centre console that comes finished in faux silver trim. The top VX trim we drove gets a six-inch touchscreen for audio, DVD and Bluetooth telephony functions. You can also operate these features via buttons on the new four-spoke steering wheel. A reverse camera is another useful addition to the VX variant.
Toyota has not changed the mechanicals on the Innova so the new model drives just like the version it replaces. Driveability and refinement on the turbocharged diesel engine are great as before though we would have liked some more power to make the Innova an even better highway cruiser. However, the Innova does retain its pleasant balance between ride and handling.
The updates add some style to the Innova’s proven reliability and practicality. While the Innova feels more upmarket than before, it is also likely to sell for a significant premium over the model it replaces. And that could be the Innova’s Achilles heel.
Also read: New Fortuner Automatic review
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