Toyota’s first generation of Innovas in India had a short stint with a petrol engine but it didn’t last for long as it wasn’t a great proposition back then. However, the Delhi-NCR diesel ban that was lifted some time ago highlighted the problems diesel mills could encounter in time. Since then, some car makers have gone on the back foot and a range of petrol engine variants have made it to our market to compensate for any future shortcomings.
Toyota’s Innova Crysta petrol will cater to those consumers who aspire for a petrol engine in their favourite MPV, and will also work as a back-up plan for the car maker in case there are any future proceedings against diesel engines. We drove the petrol version of the Innova Crysta and here’s what we think about it.
The styling of Toyota’s petrol Innova Crysta is identical to the diesel variants, so you get the same fascia that consists of a huge two-slat hexagonal grille with wide double barrel projector-halogen headlamps (with DRLs) on either side. In profile, the unmistakeable MPV silhouette is clearly visible along with the angular quarter glass design.
A set of boomerang shaped tail lamps can be found under the rear windscreen along with neat sheet metal curves, a roof spoiler, and a bumper design which allows for easier and wider access to the boot. Overall, the Innova Crysta has design cues that impart a superior appearance to the overall stance.
Similar styling to the diesel version means the same curvy dashboard with silver outlines that accentuate the flowing design. There’s a feel-good factor linked to the dual coloured leather seats, chunky multi-functional steering and soft touch door pads, but it is not consistent through the cabin and the quality levels is not exactly what you’d expect from a Rs 20 lakh car. That said there’s quite a bit of space to stash one's belongings on the centre console, two gloveboxes and the door pads.
We noticed that the visibility while backing up is a bit hampered due to the angular window line at the quarter glass section. That said, reading the temperature off the raked air-con display is difficult with the reflections in broad daylight. Once seated in the front, occupants will find a decently contoured seat that’s well bolstered for comfort and lend good back and thigh support, along with lots of knee and head room.
Move on to the middle row, and buyers will rejoice over the large seats that impart proper support with liberal shoulder room, head room and adjustable kneeroom since there’s a lever to move the front seats back and forth. Adults can be seated in the last row albeit with limited kneeroom, so comfort over longer stints is questionable with the low seat squab and high floor. That said, boot space is just about enough for some slim hard baggage and soft bags with all the rows up.
The petrol Innova Crysta will be available in seven and eight seater options with variants called GX, VX and ZX. Just like the diesel sibling, one will get three airbags (includes driver knee airbag), ABS and brake assist as standard. The ZX variant features an integrated touch screen infotainment system with navigation, Bluetooth, USB and aux-in. There’s also power mirrors with electric retract, two-zone automatic climate control with rear air-con digital display and adjustable ambient roof lighting. Safety features include seven airbags, stability control and hill-start assist.
Toyota’s Innova Crysta in petrol guise hides an inconspicuous 2.7-litre motor that’s good for 166bhp at 5200rpm and 245Nm of torque at 4000rpm, and is offered with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. We got to drive the automatic version and once you start the motor, there’s no running away from the fact that it is on the noisier side, especially when revved. On the contrary, being a petrol means the refinement levels are better than the diesel sibling straight off the bat, so it comes without the vibration and harshness that’s usually associated with diesels.
As a result, if this is a car you’re planning to drive, rather than being driven around in, this MPV is definitely for you. However, this motor lacks the sheer punch that the diesel mill enjoys and is hence not as exciting to drive as one would expect a petrol to be. Nevertheless, once you’re off the mark, keep the throttle depressed and the engine will respond with a clean and linear rush to the 5800rpm redline with a slight surge in performance at around 2000rpm. 100kmph comes up in a relatively brisk 12.42sec (diesel auto takes 11.67sec).
There’s three drive modes to select from, called Eco, Normal, and Power. Come off the accelerator pedal in Eco and Normal mode and the system lets the rpm spring back just above idle revs and in the process lets the Innova Crysta coast. All modes are basically remaps and one wouldn’t be able to notice the difference between Eco and Normal mode while driving. However, responses in Power mode are crisper and the gears downshift as soon as more throttle input is detected to build up on the momentum.
Our Vbox recorded the 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph sprint in 7.2sec and 9.24sec (diesel auto- 6.73sec and 8.56sec). The transmission is decently quick barring a few low speed kickdown instances where the gearbox took a little longer to select a gear to downshift. With most of the useable torque concentrated around 3000rpm, one can hear the gearbox working hard to keep this MPV going when you demand more of it. While at it, the Innova Crysta recorded a dismal 7.9kmpl in the city and 10.4kmpl on the highway, and is mainly due to the large capacity petrol engine and weight (1870kg).
Just like the diesel variant, the softly sprung setup makes for a decent low speed ride but expect the constant shimmy over sharper bumps which is characteristic of a ladder frame. Also, one will hear the suspension only when the roads turn from bad to worse which is when it filters into the cabin with a thud. Be prepared for some sideways rocking and a bit of bobbing on uneven patches as these are traits of a ladder frame chassis setup.
With this suspension setup, the Innova Crysta invites loads of grip and great straight line stability. Though it tends to roll a fair bit, the steering does a good job in controlling its manners around bends. We did feel that the steering was a bit light and slow off the dead centre once you’re on the move, but as speeds rise it weighs up decently. That said, at much slower speeds like while navigating through tighter lanes or parking, you will witness the steering to become exceedingly heavy and cumbersome to manoeuvre. With the Innova Crysta, one will find the brakes to offer a reassuring sharp bite, however, a little more feedback from the pedal would have been welcome.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||166 @ 5200|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||245 @ 4000|
|Gears||Six speed automatic|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||65|
|Tyre size||215/55 R17|
|7 SRS airbags||Yes|
|ABS with EBD and BA||Yes|
|Vehicle Stability Control||Yes|
|Hill Start Assist Control||Yes|
|Seat back folding tables||Yes|
|Push Start/Stop button||Yes|
|Auto air-con with digital display for second row||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||ZX auto||SX (O) auto|
|Max. Power (bhp)||166 @ 5200||152 @ 6200|
|Max. torque (Nm)||245 @ 4000||196 @ 4000|
|Gears||Six speed automatic||Six speed automatic|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||65||50|
|Tyre size||215/55 R17||205/60 R16|
Of course, there’s no denying that Toyota will benefit by having a viable option to diesels in case things go south with emissions the next time. However, the petrol Innova Crysta is also meant for those buyers who will be driving themselves and want an exceptionally reliable MPV with great packaging and smoothness but will not be covering a lot of mileage due to the low fuel efficiency. Such buyers prefer these traits over the frugality, NVH characteristics and the extra maintenance that diesels attract. Only time and upcoming diesel bans can show us how the petrol Toyota Innova Crysta will fare in our market.
Pictures: Kapil Angane