One of the rules of mass communication is to give the people what they want and the Toyota Innova does exactly that. Officially positioned as a Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV), the MPV category began as a rather confused slot north of a three-box car and south of a snarling off-road capable truck, larger than a jeep but smaller than a bus.
Impeccable Pedigree and Credentials
While the MPV category might be a confusing one, there was no cause for confusion in the Innova's pedigree. Coming from the same Toyota IMV platform (IMV stands for Innovative International Multi-purpose vehicle) that rolled out the bestselling Hilux truck and equally popular Fortuner SUV. Incidentally, Toyota's IMV vehicles are rear wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles with double independent wishbone front suspension and half-dependent rear suspension and longitudinally mounted engines.
With enough space inside the two-box configuration to seat seven people, in their review of the vehicle the BBC's automobile show Top Gear warns that an MPV not only attracts the opposite sex but adds that if you are already driving one, you probably don't need to. The primary purpose of this MPV is to be a people carrier and it is this function that this automobile gives the people exactly what they want.
People Comfort Before People Transport
Most MPVs suffer from compromise in some form or the other. Usually, the last row of seats is nothing more than glorified jump seats that offer negligible leg room. The Innova does nothing of that sort and nothing detracts from the comfort of the passengers within the cabin. Comfort is the main draw of this vehicle and if you look at the ample features provided, such as automatic climate control, power windows, power steering, hydraulic clutch linkage, steering mounted controls and the latest inclusion of a touchscreen infotainment system in the newest generation, you will have to agree that very little has been left undone in this regard.
Intelligent Controls for Intuitive Driving
Driving comfort has not been neglected. Features such as Anti-locking Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Braking Distribution (EBD), which is coupled to the ABS and varies the braking force to each wheel, depending on road quality, speed and load. For example, if the vehicle is lightly loaded and most of the weight is located over the front axle, the EBD will reduce the braking force on the rear wheels so that they do not break away and skid during hard application of the brakes. Although this is an MPV and rarely likely to be cornered as hard as a sedan car would, it is reassuring to know that such safety features exist along with standard equipment, such as airbags and rear parking sensors.
The latest generation vehicles are based on the Toyota Global Architecture Platform, which makes them lighter than previous versions. Another useful feature is the hill-start assist control (HAC). This feature comes alive automatically if the vehicle is on a road with a gradient of more than 3% and works much like the 'hand-brake start' that experienced drivers use on a slope to stop the vehicle from rolling backwards when the clutch is engaged. HAC holds the vehicle stationary for the few seconds after the brake is released and before the throttle is applied.
In conclusion, the Innova is the perfect family vehicle makes long highway journeys a breeze and is equally at home on shorter inner-city commutes.