2012 Toyota Innova first drive

Team OD Updated: July 24, 2013, 05:43 PM IST

The Innova doesn't need an introduction. It went straight to the top of its class when it was launched six years ago and is still untouchable. In fact this probably is a record of sorts - despite being on the market, essentially unchanged, it still commands a waiting list! Despite being the staple of taxi fleets all over the country it still is very popular among private buyers. How then do you improve upon an MUV that is nearly close to perfection? The last revision to the Innova was the mild facelift a couple of years ago and now it gets a second facelift.

So what's new? The most noticeable change is the revised front end. Gone are those tear-drop headlamps and in come sharper and sleeker headlamps that give the face an all-new look, the trapezoidal front grille is similar to other Toyota models and very similar to the new Fortuner while the front bumper is also completely redesigned and accommodates new fog lamps. Viewed head-on the new Innova looks smaller than the older version since the headlamps are more compact and sit low, more like a car. The front-end may be modern but from the side, one will notice that nothing has changed from the older vehicle except that the mirrors now have built-in turn indicators for the top-end variants. Other than that it's the same flat profile that we're used to seeing for quite a while now. The front may be good to look at but it somehow doesn't gel with the rest of the vehicle. At the rear, there are very few changes, the taillamps are of a different design and bulge out slightly. The alloy wheels are of a newer design and are standard in the top end variant only but in my opinion the older alloys looked more appealing.

Inside, it's the same dashboard with minimal changes. A double-din DVD stereo system is standard in the top end variant. The screen also displays the parking camera video. Mock wood surrounds in the centre console have been removed and is replaced with a brushed aluminium effect console. The instrument cluster too is different and the steering wheel is straight out of the Corolla offering stereo and mobile phone controls in the higher variants.

There are no engine upgrades and it's the same 2.5-litre diesel that does duty. The common rail engine puts out 102PS of maximum power at 3600rpm and peak torque of 200Nm is available from 1400-3400rpm. The petrol version; a 2.0-litre 16-valve engine produces 132PS of maximum power at 5600rpm and maximum torque of 181Nm at 4000rpm. The Innova has always been a comfortable vehicle to travel in and has been the benchmark in its segment. The new upgrade hasn't changed the car drastically but makes it feels fresh. The prices are not yet confirmed but expect a marginal increase over the older model. The new Innova will be launched at the Delhi Auto Expo and expect the waiting period to only increase.