Honda

Honda

TOYOTA INNOVA CRYSTA: THE REAL MPV

Our neighbors down south have loved the Toyota Innova Crysta since it began its distribution in 2005. The fondest, and only, memory I have of the Innova is the drive from the Airport to the hotel. The Innova basically bolted through heavy traffic, weaving and slaloming between speeding vehicles at extremely close quarters; making for some pretty butt clenching moments. I wasn’t really used to it, but for the Toyota Innova it was just another day of the week. It has proven to be a workhorse, putting in the daily grind and still remaining a solid machine. The Innova exemplified itself for its sheer durability and reliability; something the Japanese marque has garnered a reputation for in Nepal’s market as well.

It wasn’t until 2016 that the Innova found its way into the Nepali market for MPVs. With not many options in the MPV segment, the Toyota Innova Crysta has been the frontrunner for many potential buyers. As a segment, MPVs have had a very slow progress in terms of popularity. MPVs are large fuel guzzlers, they are a hassle in traffic, and will sear a hole in your wallets if you do decide to purchase it. However, it has its own charm for families that like to travel together, and MPV owners swear by it. I have been lucky enough to experience life growing up with an MPV in the family, and I strongly believe there is more to it than just getting people from one place to another. It etches a place in your life, building memories you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.

Long story short, it took little persuasion to get me behind the wheels of the Toyota Innova Crysta.

EXTERIOR

The first thing you will notice about the Toyota Innova Crysta is its sheer presence. It is a behemoth of a machine that has been crafted to perfection by the Japanese manufacturers. Dawning sharp, contemporary design cues it is an eye-catcher. Large sweptback headlights flank a bulky double-slated grille that continues inside the headlight.

A massive lower air-dam round out the prominent façade. Bulky creases run across the bonnet from where the headlights meet the grille and merges with the A-pillars. Indicators are integrated into the fog lamp housing.Its ungainly front overhang is evident in its profile and it holds a van like appearance. A sharply cut quarter glass adds a touch of style along with the lower character line.

 

Out back the Innova Crysta gets massive tail lamps with vertically arranged indicators. Rear spoilers are neatly integrated and the Toyota badge sits smack dab in the middle.

Scroll below for more exterior highlights

INTERIOR AND ERGONOMICS

We had on our hands the basic model of the Innova, which did not have much to brag about. What it did have going for it, however, were the ergonomics and space. The seven seater can easily accommodate a large family with luggage and the family dog. Rest assured, it is truly a spacious affair inside the cabin.

Providing a nice, tall, driving position the Crysta is a comfortable vehicle to drive. The dashboard runs very long, making a long distance between where it starts and the windscreen. The steering wheels are chunky and feel good in your hands and they get tilt and telescopic adjustment.

The full option however is fully decked out and gets a plethora of features and functions.

The captain seats in the back give insane comfort. Back & thigh support are excellent and the seats are very comfortable over long distances. The third row seats can seat two people comfortably and squeeze in three.

In terms of safety, the Innova could be one of the safest ways to travel in Nepal. Toyota takes safety very seriously and it is evident when you look at what it features. It gets driver knee airbag as standard across the range, along with dual front airbags, ABS and EBD. All variants get rear parking sensors, 3-point seatbelts for everyone onboard and 2 ISOFIX-ready seats for the little ones. In the ASEAN NCAP, the Indonesia-built Innova Crysta with ESP scored a full 5 stars on safety (variants without ESP got 4 stars).

PERFORMANCE

The Toyota Innova Crysta gets a 2.4L diesel mill; it is smaller than the 2.5L older version but it makes nearly 50% more power & 70% more torque from the 2.4. Power is rated at 148 BHP@ 3,400 rpm and 343 Nm of torque starting from 1,400 rpm which is evident once you get in the driver’s seat. You get a choice between the eco and power modes and if we’re being completely honest we were hooked on the latter.

The power mode brings an enhanced sense of urgency to the engine and the massive frame preps up to bolt forward effortlessly. Even for an engine as big as this, in city driving is very good.There is no turbo-lag and the 343 Nm of peak torque is made at a low 1,400 rpm. That means there is plenty of pull even in second gear. This driveability & enhanced power will be appreciated when you are carrying a full load of passengers.

In the city, you’re better off using eco mode or normal mode. In the highways you’re better off switching to power mode for best results. Eco/normal mode will work as well but it’s like they say, once you go power mode you never go back. It is just more effortless when pulling away from crawling speeds (compared to eco). Because the throttle is sharp in PWR mode, the drive will be very jerky. Power mode is aggressive not only while accelerating, but even when you lift off the accelerator (passengers will lunge forward).

Cruising capabilities are top notch in the Innova Crysta, a great asset when you’re out with your family on road trips. The ride quality is supple and sturdy which gives immense highway driving comfort

VERDICT

I grew up travelling around  the country with my family in a classic Volkswagen camper that my uncle owned, sliding door, spring curtains and all. I remember very little of it but they were good times. He later bought a Toyota LiteAce because that is what vans and MPVs do to you. They get you hooked to the utility and functionality and whatever else the MPV has to offer. We go on family road trips in it still.

However, not everyone is immediately attracted to MPVs for different reasons. For one thing, it is not an easy vehicle to purchase or sustain and people not looking to travel with their families a lot might not see the point. But for the ones that do, you will rarely find a better option. And to add to that it is a workhorse that is more durable than almost anything else in the market. The Toyota Innova Crysta, like most MPVs, isn’t just a people mover. They bring families closer together and help build memories that will last a lifetime. And that is what you get when you buy an MPV such as this.

TOYOTA INNOVA CRYSTA | PRODUCT WATCH | AUTOLIFE NEPAL

EXTERIOR HIGHLIGHTS:

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