Kuala Lumpur, 05 December, 2016 – UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd launched the All-New, 2nd Generation Toyota Innova today in a grand ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Since its debut as part of the IMV project by Toyota, the Innova has been selling in large numbers in the region. IMV stands for ‘Innovative International Multi-purpose Vehicle’ and refers to a platform for SUVs, pick-ups/light trucks, and passenger cars. IMV vehicles are either rear wheel drive or four wheel drive. Front suspension is independent double wishbone, while rear suspension is half independent. Engines are mounted longitudinally.
The IMV project began in 2004, and vehicles built using this platform include the Toyota Hilux, the Toyota Fortuner, and the Toyota Innova. The All-New Innova is the second generation in the series, and replaces the 12-year old 1st generation Innova which has undergone three facelifts.
The All-New Innova, has the same DNA as its predecessor, but is actually built from the ground up, using a stronger ladder frame which is used also for the Toyota Prado. The new frame has stronger side members and is more rigid than the previous frame. Although the user cannot see much of this ladder frame, the benefit is a more robust vehicle, and a more durable body. This also translates into better handling and driving dynamics.
In the case of the Innova, despite sharing the same platform as the Hilux, the designers went for a ‘softer’ approach in order to give it a more comfortable ride – tyres are softer, with street patterns, and softer sidewalls. Spring settings are softer too, and the rear springs are coils in contrast to the leaf springs of the Hilux. Coil springs generally provide a softer and more comfortable ride, whilst leaf springs are able to withstand heavier loads.
For the new Innova, the ride and handling is improved over that of the outgoing model thanks to the introduction of larger diameter (and larger capacity) shock absorbers. The benefit to the user is more consistent damping, and improved damping action due to a larger oil reservoir capacity, noting also that a larger oil capacity for the shock absorbers mean better cooling for the shock absorber, which in turn translates into a longer service life.
Tyres are ‘inched up’ from 15-inch for the outgoing model to 16-inch for the new model. The benefit of having larger tyres is an improved ride, especially over rough surfaces, and better handling. Alloy rims with a full-sized spare (also alloy rim) are standard across variants.
Aesthetically, the all-new Innova is a more handsome vehicle. With a longer font wing (fender), and a more horizontal front bonnet, together with a more upright front mask, the Innova is beginning to look more like the Hilux. Personally I never quite liked the way the old Innova’s front wing dropped so abruptly from the front of the windscreen down to the front bumper – now with the new front end, the Innova is more ‘macho’. The side profile has changed for the better as a result of the new front, and further improved by some character lines running from the front to the rear, breaking up the otherwise boring side panels. At the rear, there are new lights that run laterally across the back, giving the rear end a fresh look.
Power to the Innova, for Malaysia, is in the form of a 2.0 litre 1TR-FE gasoline engine, now with dual VVTi (Variable Valve Timing for both Inlet and Exhaust cams). Power is 139PS at 5,600 rpm, and maximum torque is 143Nm at 4,000 rpm. This engine is similar to that in the outgoing model, but the cylinder head has been re-designed for improved fuel efficiency.
Buyers have a choice of one 5-speed manual transmission and two 6-speed automatic transmission models. For the manual, it is my understanding that 5th gear is an overdrive gear, while for the automatic transmission, 5th and 6th gears are overdrive gears. Coupled with larger sized wheels and appropriate final drive ratios, the Innova is said to enjoy improvements in fuel efficiency by as much as 18 percent. In other parts of the region, there is a diesel version available – I drove one such vehicle in India a couple of weeks ago, and I loved it immediately. Currently UMW Toyota only offer the 2.0 litre gasoline version, but are studying the merits of bringing in the diesel versions.
Inside, the all-new Innova is a world apart from the outgoing model. New materials, new, more up to date features, with the top of the heap G specification model getting the full works – including power side mirrors with puddle lamps, Optitron meters, automatic air-conditioning, power windows with auto up/down and jam protection.
In the safety department, the top grade G model gets ABS (standard across all variants), Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with Traction Control (TC), Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), and Emergency Stop Signal (ESS). The G variant also gets seven airbags. Parking sensors (front and rear) are standard across the range.
For the G variant, UMW Toyota has taken a multitude of measures to give it a more premium feel – three-spoke leather wrapped steering wheel, wood and silver trim bits in the cabin and on the instrument panel, smart entry and start system, and ambient lighting.
UMW Toyota arranged a short test drive for the motoring media a few days prior to today’s launch activity – and as an added bonus, we got to drive the old model on an apple-to-apple comparison – yes, I would like to confirm the all-new Innova does ride better, handle better, and is much quieter than its predecessor. The overall driving sensation is that of a more refined, sedate vehicle, a great improvement from the old ‘workhorse’ that we know as the older Innova. I would venture to say the greatest improvement comes from the 6-speed automatic transmission, which as we all know, allows for better spacing between gears, and yet allows a higher top gear ratio (in this case, and overdrive ratio) which in turn results in a lower engine speed for a relatively higher road speed. The power delivery is ‘adequate’, and should be good enough for approximately 80 to 85 percent of the people who are likely to be users of the Innova.
Prices as announced at the launch are as follows:-
Innova 2.0E Manual Transmission – RM109,000.00
Innova 2.0E Automatic Transmission – RM117,000.00
Innova 2.0G Automatic Transmission – RM126,000.00
Prices are on-the-road, with insurance, for private registration in Peninsular Malaysia.