Every seven-seater launched in India in the last few years has aspired to be the Toyota Innova. It’s a car that has moved families, colleagues and friends in utmost comfort for years and has been a proven workhorse. No wonder then when the Japanese company announced a successor to the Innova it got everyone interested. How could they make it even better? Or would they end up making it worse? These were questions that needed to be answered. The first look at the Auto Expo left everyone impressed, the car was much ahead of the predecessor and purely in this aspect already had competition worried.
From a boxy Qualis, Toyota gave us curvy Innova and now the Japanese company has given us an even more likeable design. You can see that the effort has been made to make this car look attractive and appealing. The highlight course is the big grill on the front which comes with multiple tones including grey, chrome and the body colour. Another attraction is the head lamps that now come with LED DRL’s. The best part is the chrome strip that runs across the breadth from one headlamp to the other look extremely nice and exclusive. The impressive design story continues on the profile as well as rear. The transition from a boring van to an appealing SUV is very much evident here. The hatch door also has improved design dynamics and the tail lamps are now integrated in the hatch, pointing to yet another premium feature. The car is now longer, wider and taller than before and because of that looks bigger than its predecessor.
Toyota is charging a premium on the new Innova Crysta and that may have taken the car beyond the reach of some.
There is one single word on which there is a lot of emphasis from Toyota when it comes to the Crysta its premium. That holds the most inside the car. The seats are comfortable and car follows a black theme which looks sporty. The driver seat is now electrically adjustable in eight different ways and the thigh support is good as well. The design on the dashboard is appealing and it’s made of high quality materials. There’s a touch screen infotainment system that also comes navigation. There are a lot of small and big storage options all on all rows which works well. There’s also a start/stop button as well and there’s hardly anything inside the Crysta that doesn’t go with the image of a premium car. All 3 rows come with individual AC vents and some cool design and lighting inside, on the roof, makes the vehicle look akin to a space craft. The amount of flexibility the Crysta offers in terms of luggage space is just unmatched. Both the second and third rows can be folded in various combinations and that helps immensely when transferring bulky or oddly shaped luggage items. The fact that the loading height is low also is an added advantage.
Once you press the start button, the shudder does jolts the whole vehicle but after you gain acceleration, a new mill provides a fresh outlook when it comes to driving dynamics. The Crysta for the time being has come in two diesel engine options. There is a 2.4 litre motor that’s mated to a 5 speed manual gear box and there’s a 2.8 litre motor has an automatic gear box. The manual is little less powerful at 150 bhp the auto is more powerful at 174 bhp and you can expect a mileage of around 15 kmpl on both the variants. We sampled the manual variant which performs well with sufficient torque of 343 Nm that ensures there’s hardly any lag. The presence of 3 different driving modes, namely Eco, Normal and Power means the gearshift patterns change in accordance with the driving needs. The engine is refined but the cabin isn’t entirely insulated from the exterior sounds and that’s a bit of a letdown.
Ride and Handling
Compared to the earlier Innova, the Crysta is almost 200 kg heavier, which means to give you the same ride quality Toyota had to make the suspension set up softer. It now comes with 17 inch wheels and that definitely contributes to a much better drive. But despite the raised height a ground clearance of 167 mm is a bit of a dampener. For a pan India car that is regularly supposed to tame the bad, irregular roads some more of ground clearance would’ve been of immense help. Presence of cruise control is a welcome step but absence of a dead pedal is disappointing. Safety is high on the priority list. The car can be bought with as many as 7 airbags, 3 of which come as standard. Along with that also come the ABS, the EBD and brake assist.
Toyota is charging a premium on the Innova Crysta and that may have taken the car beyond the reach of some. At the same time it won’t be wrong to say that competing with the Innova may have gone beyond the reach of many 7-seaters. It now starts at Rs. 13.83 lakh, ex-showroom, Mumbai. Delhi will have to wait for the Diesel ban to be lifted or wait for the Petrol variant that should come later this year. The rest can still soak in the upgraded and unmatched Innova experience.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars