It should certainly count for something when you sell more than 140,000 units of anything. But vehicles? Well, that’s just incredible. And Toyota has done exactly that with its Innova MPV – moving an excess of the aforementioned number on its way to the multi-purpose vehicle throne room.
Platformed on the same IMV underpinning as its Hilux and Fortuner brethren, the Innova has rightfully become the poster boy of the segment – the preferred set of wheels for anyone seeking to move more people in comfort.
Toyota executive chief engineer Hiroki Nakajima, in a Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) release, describes the all-new, second-generation iteration of the Innova as an “MPV designed for multi-performance.” Beyond being a simple people mover, the vehicle is envisioned as “tough,” emotional,” and “highly functional,” to “satisfy customers who are looking for something special in addition to the much loved heritage.”
It is veritably a gift that keeps giving, too. Not only is the all-new Innova a compelling ride, but procuring one is actually good for the local economy in many ways as it is manufactured in TMP’s Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Having said that, TMP is hoping to sell more 2,000 units a month.
While retaining a familiar profile, designers have given the Innova a more determined, authoritative presence. The new vehicle’s fascia sits up higher – setting up a more commanding perch. Its headlamp assemblies equipped with LEDs and daytime running lights squint more aggressively, framing a grille that is smartly put together to give a more sedan-like feel. The triangular D pillar is probably the most obvious change – although the MPV is now taller, longer, and wider.
Of course, there’s more space for all passengers. The V-grade diesel we tested came with the optional second-row captain seats, which suggests that the Innova now entertains some Alphard-level aspirations of luxury. Interior accents of silver and wood-grain patterns, an HD multi-information display, capacitive touch-screen audio with navigation, built-in cooler box, and seatback tables complete the reincarnation. Also of note are adjustable mood lights that imbue an aircraft-like ambience to the proceedings. Meanwhile, fold, tumble, and recline seats offer greater customization in space usage.
Under the hood is a refined, smooth-running 2.8-liter with a variable nozzle turbocharger mated to a new six-speed transmission with sequential shifter. Toyota says this allows the vehicle to “exert higher power and torque output, leading to exceptional fuel efficiency and overall enhanced performance.”
Indeed, despite its heft, the Innova felt nimble while displaying quick acceleration. It yields its stash of 360Nm from a sweet spot of 1,200 to 3,400 rpm. A tight turning radius also promises maneuverability of this car-like MPV.
Long live the king.