Last Updated on September 10, 2022 by John K. Clifford
Toyota Innova is a compact multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) or minivan that has been produced since 2004. The model is available in Indonesia, India, Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, the middle east, Brunei, Myanmar, Ecuador, Jamaica, Egypt, Argentina, and Thailand. It is not available in the USA because Toyota already offers a Sienna, adequately covering the minivan segment.
Before Toyota or any other automaker introduces a new model in any country, they have to study the market and see what buyers in that locality want. They can compare their models to their competitors and tell whether they will be successful.
Toyota found out that most US car buyers interested in a minivan prefer larger minivans to smaller ones. Since Toyota already offers the Toyota sienna, a larger minivan, and is successful in the US, they saw no need to bring in the Innova. If the Innova were brought to the US, it wouldn’t perform as well as the Sienna because small minivans have a poor track record in the US. Another probable reason it is not offered is that the diesel version would likely not pass US emission standards, and they would have to sell the gas version only.
In this article, we look at the features and specifications of the Toyota Innova that make it a desirable minivan in its offered markets. We also look at some vehicles similar to the Innova that you can find in the US. Keep reading!
History of the Toyota Innova
The Toyota Innova was first introduced on 1st September 2004 in Indonesia as Kijang Innova. The model’s annual production target in Indonesia was 80,000 units, including 10,000 units for export. The model was sold in large numbers in India, serving the tourist taxi market and fleet operations of outsourcing companies. It was also in demand in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan.
The Toyota Innova comes in three engine options: a 2.7L petrol 160 PS(118kW) 2TR-FE VVT-i, 2.0L petrol 136 PS(100kW) 1TR-FE VVT-i or a 2.5-L 102 PS(75kW)2KD-FTV D-4D common rail turbocharged diesel engine.
The 2.7L engine unit is available in V trim that is only paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission. The other engines have different trim level options: J, E, G, and V. the 2.7L version was removed from the Indonesian market due to increased tax rates and low demand.
Petrol versions were available in four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmissions. All the variants only have a rear-wheel-drive drivetrain. This is also another reason why Innova is not in the US. Most drivers who want a minivan in the US prefer a front-wheel-drive configuration that drives like a car.
The first generation of Toyota Innova received four updates during its existence which aimed at improving its performance and appearance. The first update was done in early 2007, and it involved updating the engine to comply with the Euro 2 emission standards. The engine changed the injection system to a closed-loop system and was also given a catalytic converter. The E trim received a double blower air-conditioner, and the G trim got a 2 DIN CD and cassette player. And all the trims got a front mesh grille.
In August 2008, the second update of the first generation Innova was released. It had a front grille, a redesigned front and rear bumper, and rear tail lamps. The Vtrim also got updated wheels, and its previous wheels were installed on the G-trim. The 2008 model also featured automatic climate control, a parking sensor, side door impact beams, in-dash CD changer.
In 2011, Toyota-Astra motor launched another facelift of the model, including redesigned headlights, bonnet, grille, bumpers, and taillights. Updates on the vehicle’s interior included a new steering wheel, air-conditioning knobs, and a revised center dashboard. Another update followed in 2013, including a more prominent grille, redesigned bumper, a four-spoke steering wheel, and dual airbags. Toyota also included a darker silver metallic color option.
The second generation of Toyota Innova was launched on 23rd November 2015 in Jakarta, Indonesia. This new series is a new vehicle with a new platform and new diesel engines. With slight modifications, it carried over the 2.7L and 2.0L engines from the previous generation. Toyota also added new 2.4L and 2.8L diesel engines. It also came with two transmissions options: a six-speed automatic and a five-speed manual. The model is manufactured entirely in India and Indonesia and assembled as CKD in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
What makes the Toyota Innova stand out?
The Toyota Innova is a best seller in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and most other markets where it is sold. When the model was introduced in India as a replacement to the Qualis, customers loved it because it looked more modern, was comfortable, reliable, and had a powerful engine. The vehicle entered the market and dominated. So, what makes this model so unique and popular? Let’s find out
The first thing that made customers fall in love with the Innova was how comfortable it was. The model has excellent ride quality and good ground clearance, and the suspension is also topnotch, making it able to handle bumps and potholes quite well. It also has an air condition unit that improves the overall driving experience of the model.
The vehicle also has an exemplary seat configuration ideal for taxis and travel companies. The model has a maximum seating configuration and can seat eight passengers comfortably.
As always, Toyota did not disappoint in the engine’s reliability. The model has various engine options that give torque starting at 245Nm at 4000 rpm. All this torque and power translates to the versatility of the engine. It can be used to climb steep hills with ease. There isn’t any recorded instance of engine failure with this model.
Let’s face it; everyone loves a vehicle that is safe for the occupants, pedestrians, and other motorists. The Toyota Innova has all you need in a car in terms of safety. It has ABS as standard in all variants. It has three airbags on the base model, including a driver’s knee airbag. The Z trim has seven airbags. All the models have functional seatbelts with adjustable height. You can never go wrong with the Innova’s safety features.
Models similar to Innova that are available in the US
The Innova makes a good family car or taxi with all these features, and everyone desires to own one. Unfortunately for those of us in the US, this model isn’t available here, and the best you can do is look for an almost similar model. Below are some of the minivans available in the US as reliable as the Innova.
Made by the same automaker, the Toyota Sienna is as good as the Innova in reliability, luxury, and affordability. The latest model of the Sienna has a 3.5L V6 engine that boasts 296 horsepower. This model is among the best-selling minivans in the US
This south Korean minivan is also an excellent alternative to the Innova. It has great cargo storage space making it ideal for anyone handling lots of luggage. It has been in the US market for years, and it has stood the test of time
The Honda Odyssey was among the first minivans to be made in the US. The model is built in Lincoln, Alabama, and features a 280-hp v-6 engine. The model is reasonably priced and reliable, thus setting a benchmark for other minivans.
The Toyota Innova is an affordable and reliable minivan offered in India, Indonesia, the middle east, the Philippines, and several other countries. The model is not available in the United States because it would compete with the Toyota sienna and for different reasons. If you are looking for a reliable minivan in the US, you can opt for a Toyota Sienna, Kia Sedona, or Honda odyssey