Front end on new Innova (left) and on the previous version (right)
Following the upgraded Hilux and Fortuner is the Innova, third in the IMV series which Toyota conceived as global products sharing a common platform to maximize economies of scale. Each of the models targets a different segment with the 8-seat Innova (the name is derived from the word ‘Innovation’) being aimed at families who need the spaciousness and flexibility of a MPV.
Available in three versions – Innova 2.0G and Innova 2.0E (both with automatic transmission), and Innova 2.0E with manual transmission – the upgrades are said to enhance the appearance of the model while making it better value for money. Four exterior colour choices are available for all versions, namely Silver Metallic, Medium Silver Metallic, Solid White and a new colour, Dark Steel Mica.
The familiar two-box design is retained with the most obvious styling change being at the front where a new grille presents a trapezoid-shape appearance which unifies the upper and lower areas of the front ‘face’, creating a flowing link from the bonnet to the bumper. The newly designed headlamps with their protruding and acute-angled style also give a more sedan-like appearance and visually widen the Innova.
Viewed from the side, there’s a more advanced image with the sharper design of the side protection moldings while a wider chrome strip running beneath the centre line emphasizes the length. There are also more prominent creases on the wheel arches and more distinctive character lines on the fenders, all contributing to a dynamic impression.
Cosmetic changes have also been incorporated at the rear end with the aim of expressing a modern and distinctive style for the new Innova. Of note would be the newly-designed 3-dimensional rear combination lamps which have protruding lens sections in the middle of the units.

Being a people-carrier, the Innova has to offer comfort and spaciousness, which it does well. From what we learnt, feedback told Toyota that customers want even more sedan-like qualities in their MPV. This is the basis of the changes for the latest version which has a new interior design theme. There is now a more ‘horizontal emphasis’ while a darker colour scheme is used on the seats and door trim. The horizontal theme is most obvious on the dashboard where there is a clear separation of the centre console into upper and lower zones. This not only enhances the appearance but also gives better definition of functions and makes operation easier. On the Innova 2.0E, the control dials have been redesigned for easier operation.

The instrument panel cluster has been redesigned with the background colour changed to black for higher contrast to improve visibility in all lighting conditions. The Optitron meters, noted for their clarity, have a silver-finished trim ring with turquoise blue ambience. For analogue meters, there is a glossy black trim ring. Now included for the Innova 2.0E A/T is a Shift Position Indicator.


As before, the Innova 2.0G comes with a Multi-Information Display (MID) which provides the driver with seven different types of information. The new Innova also gets a new steering wheel with a 4-spoke design and with the 2.0G version, there is leather with dark wood trimming and switches for operating the audio system and MID. The shift lever knob and door panels on the 2.0G are also enhanced with the adoption of dark woodgrain ornamentation.

As to be expected, the cabin has a versatile seating arrangement and a maximum of 8 adults can be accommodated. If there are long or large items, then seats can be folded down as needed. It’s even possible to fold the two front seats flat (head restraints have to be taken off) to form a long ‘bed’ of sorts. Great for the kids on a picnic!

Being a MPV and with so many people on board means that storage space has to be plentiful. The Innova comes with lots of cupholders and bottleholders around the cabin and odds and ends can be stowed in the many different compartments and slots. There are even two gloveboxes for the front passenger. The interior designers also incorporated teh tarik hooks for groceries at the rear of third row seat and for those who need to recharge their devices (or operate small electrical devices), there is a 12V outlet on the dashboard (Innova 2.0G only).

The dual air conditioner has been specially developed for the Innova cabin and tested in local conditions for optimum cooling performance as well as proper flow of air around the cabin all the way to the last row. When not required, passengers in the second row can switch off the air-conditioning. With the Innova 2.0G, an automatic air-conditioning system (similar to that found on more expensive models) is standard.
The Innova continues to be powered by a 1TR-FE 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with Toyota VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing – intelligent) technology. With VVT-i providing continuously variable valve timing to suit virtually any driving situation, the engine has ample torque at low to medium speeds for strong acceleration even with a heavy load on board. Maximum power output is 100 kW/136 PS at 5600 rpm while maximum torque is 182 Nm at 4000 rpm. Customers can choose from a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic electronic-controlled transmission which delivers power to the rear wheels.

The chassis frame sits on a coil spring suspension system comprising a double wishbone layout at the front and a 4-link layout at the rear. This is a very tough chassis as it is common to all the IMV models, except that the rear suspension for the Innova uses coil springs for a more comfortable ride (the Hilux has leafsprings to handle heavier loads). Steering control is provided by a power-assisted rack and pinion steering system.

Standard safety features available in every Innova include the provision of a laminated non-shattering windscreen, powerful disc/drum brake system with dual hydraulic circuits for extra safety, adjustable upper seatbelt anchor position, a collapsible steering column, reinforcement beams in all side doors and a seatbelts for all eight occupants. Childproof locks are also fitted to the rear doors for peace of mind when travelling with children.
Also standard for the Innova 2.0G is ABS and dual front airbags (single airbag  for 2.0E). Other passive safety features include a head impact protection structure, collapsible steering column and a brake pedal design which will separate it during a frontal impact to prevent intrusion and injuries to the driver’s feet.
New centre console (left) with optional DVD-AVN unit which includes GPS navigation.
Picture on right shows the previous version’s centre console
Customers can now add two options with their Innova – Toyota Standard Solar Film and the DVD-AVN system. Toyota Standard Solar Film reduces heat built-up in the car while keeping the vehicle cool so the occupants feel more comfortable. The DVD-AVN system comprises a 2-DIN head unit with a 6.1-inch colour screen. The audio section has an AM/FM tuner, DVD-Player, Bluetooth and USB and AUX ports to connect portable music players. Also included with the DVD-AVN system is a reverse camera which displays the area behind the vehicle on the bright screen.
There is also a GPS navigation system with a gyro speed sensor that allows navigation to continue even when the satellite signal is lost (eg when travelling in a tunnel). The map coverage includes Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore, with a 1-time free map update. Additionally, the navigation map has UMW Toyota Motor’s network of showrooms and service centres so customers can find them easily.

PRICES: Innova 2.0G Automatic: RM110.600 | Innova 2.0E Automatic: RM102,500 | Innova 2.0E Manual: RM97,500
(Above prices are with insurance, for private registration in Peninsular Malaysia only)

To know more about the new Innova, visit

To read about the new Fortuner, click here and for the new Hilux, click here.
For other news and articles on Toyota, click here.
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