When Toyota had launched the Innova Crysta in 2016, it was a major step forward from the previous generation of the successful MPV. The results were instantly visible as the new car pretty much just stepped in where the old one left off. But the Crysta arrived into a very different car market compared to the one that Innova had encountered in 2005. Here, customers were being offered a wider choice of vehicles and hence to keep things going strong, Toyota decided to appeal to those who wanted all benefits of the Innova but with a bit of extra sportiness to stand out. Cue in the Innova Touring Sport, a top-of-the-line, flashier version of the MPV. The sporty bits are all cosmetic, both on the inside and outside, while underneath sit those familiar Toyota underpinnings.
At first glance it is an Innova Crysta. But, when you get past that first glance, you see the Touring Sport name coming into play. The shades are loud and there is sufficient chrome all around. The face is dominated by the large cut-out grille which has now been trimmed out in black with chrome inserts all around. The deep maroon shade that our test car was painted in also has the effect of bringing out its lines, especially the bulge on the bonnet.
It is all business on the side as the MPV origins of the vehicle are best visible here. Liberal use of chrome on the window lining, door handles, running boards and ORVMs adds to the premium feel of the Touring Sport. However, one sore point here is the powder coated wheels, which look too small for such a large vehicle. Toyota had originally been offering 17-inch wheels but has replaced them with 16-inch units to improve ride quality. Finally, at the back, we can see a sort of vertical orientation with the whole design, thanks mainly to the arrow-shaped indicator lamps.
This Touring Sport is based on the top-of-the-line Innova Crysta, which means that it gets all the bells and whistles. This includes a touchscreen infotainment system, climate control with vents for all three rows, steering mounted controls, cruise control, electric adjustment for the driver’s seat, tilt and height adjustment for the steering wheel and dual glove boxes. But what makes the Touring Sport’s cabin stand apart from the cabin of the standard car? It gets its faux red wood inserts across the dashboard, faux black wood inserts for the doors and also a red tinge for the instrument cluster. The whole cabin has been trimmed out in black with contrast coloured stitching for the upholstery all around (which in our case was red).
Where Maruti Suzuki has had over three decades of making hatchbacks for the Indian market and is miles ahead in the game, Toyota is the king when it comes to making seven-seaters. If you go back to the legendary Qualis, we are talking about close to twenty years of making people-carriers in India alone. There are multiple practical touches. Take, for example, the trays that come for the rear passengers. Their cup holders have a flat base so that a cup/bottle of any size can be fitted into the slot without any difficulty. Other nice bits include a one touch tumble for the rear seats, one touch slide to extend leg room for the left rear passenger or even plastic clips beside the seats belts onto which the latter can be hooked on so that they don’t flap around when the second row is folded up. Toyota has been smart about how to economise its use of soft touch plastics and has fitted them only on to surfaces where the driver or passengers would come into contact regularly.
Powering the Innova Touring Sport in this diesel AT trim is a 2.8-litre four-cylinder mill producing 172bhp/360Nm of torque. This is the most powerful engine that you can get with the Innova range in India and is only offered with a six-speed AT that sends power to the rear wheels. It’s a heavy engine this, and feels gravelly and rough at idle. Despite the good insulation, the distinct diesel clatter is quite audible. Step on the throttle and there is a distinct lag before the turbo comes into play and from there is a linear delivery of torque all the way past the 3300rpm mark. Some of this lag is also down to the gearbox which takes a bit before deciding to drop one or two cogs depending on how far the throttle goes. Once you hit the power band, the Innova has some decent cruising capabilities and is able to hold its own out on the highway, well into three digit speeds.
Given its load carrying nature and also to compensate for the heavy engine and transmission, the Innova Touring Sport’s suspension setup is slightly on the stiffer side and this is very evident in the low speed ride. However, it is not uncomfortable and most bumps and imperfections are passed over without much fuss. However, if you do miss them and are travelling quite fast, then the rear takes longer to stabilise especially if the rear is not loaded up. While the ride quality maybe on the stiffer side, it is still considered to be a softer setup and this combined with the ladder on frame design puts a lot roll into the Innova’s handling characteristics. It is not a deal breaker per se, but rather a sort of compromise that Toyota was compelled to make to give comfort a higher priority over driving ability. Added to this is the steering, which is direct, but requires three turns to go from lock-to-lock and at low speeds, it feels heavier than normal.
|Model||Innova Touring Sport|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||172 @ 3400|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||360 @ 1200|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||55|
|Tyre size||205/ 65 R16|
Competition All Specs
Innova Touring Sport
|Variant||Diesel AT||XTA 7 STR||W10 AT|
|Max. Power (bhp)||172 @ 3400||154 @ 4000||140 @ 3750|
|Max. torque (Nm)||360 @ 1200||400 @ 1700||330 @ 2800|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||55||60||70|
|Tyre size||205/ 65 R16||235/ 55 R19||235/ 65 R17|
Do you like the Innova Crysta? Can you afford its high price tag, but want it to stand out a bit more than usual? Then the Innova Touring Sport is your go-to machine. It has everything that the Innova Crysta has to offer but in a flashier and sportier package. We also believe that, with the introduction of this model, Toyota is aiming to take the Innova to self-driven buyers who are ready to pay a bit more. This top-of-the-line Touring Sport model has been priced at Rs 22.16 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi).
Photos: Kapil Angane