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The blue-collared worker in business attire

2As probably the consummate multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), the Innova has become one of Toyota Motor Philippines’s (TMP) bestsellers since its introduction in 2004. It has just the right size, power, and ride comfort, while still being firm enough to haul heavy items around.

Everyone loves its versatility but the criticism I get from most people is they just couldn’t picture themselves driving it up to Shangri-La BGC for a high profile business meeting.

With the second generation Innova, it is nothing short of a guarantee that you’ll love it more for its looks. You know what they say about love, it’s simply better the second time around.


Dressed for successin2

The all-new Innova is ‘sleeker’ and ‘more stylish’, but it still falls painfully short in putting into words the major design upgrade the Innova received.

Even with an impressively sharper nose, underscored by curves that create a shapely ledge on both sides of the hood, Toyota was able to fit a new, taller, and attention-grabbling hexagonal grille flanked by trim-exclusive LED projector-type headlamps with daytime running lights (DRL) on both sides.

The side shows the fine adjustment made to the angle of the windshield, sweeping it back a little further to make this MPV more aerodynamic despite its size. Behind are the inverted L-shaped taillights and the protruding rear bumper that accentuates the redesigned tailgate, making the Innova look slimmer than it really is. A rear spoiler completes the aero package and puts a tasteful touch to the rear.

Swanky interiorin3

The interior also received a massive makeover. Most noticeable is the slim blue-ish ambient lighting with brightness adjustment on the second row. In front are beautifully designed dome lights that really put a classy touch to the already very exclusive interior.

The second row captain’s seats are certainly the highlight of this variant. They have individual seatback tables, armrests, can slide forward/backward for more legroom, and have a one-touch tumble button for easy access to third row passengers.

Keeping in line with the ledge-like feature found on both ends of the beltline, the main climate controls on the dashboard are conveniently located on a ledge, jutting out from under the infotainment system that offers Bluetooth, USB, and AUX connectivity.

The only leather parts you’ll find are on three-spoke steering wheel that comes with audio and telephone controls.

Another great feature are the redesigned front door panels that incorporated a fabric-covered armrest by design, which came in handy in traffic and during my long drive on SLEX.

Still a workhorse

Sporting the same engine as the Fortuner, the Innova V trim uses a 2.8L diesel engine that sports a variable nozzle turbocharger with intercooler.

Backing up on the steep incline from my basement parking was a cinch, even if I barely touched the throttle because of the Innova’s 360-Nm of torque.

With the Eco Mode on, the Innova was still spritely, even on low gears, but you’ll need to put some pressure on the accelerator for a faster pace on higher gears and during overtaking maneuvers.

On Power Mode, the Innova uses all of its 171 PS, making it feel lighter on its feet and accelerate much more briskly, almost without hesitation or delay.

The rack and pinion system with power steering feels heavy on the arms — even heavier than the previous generation — especially at slow speeds, but gradually lightens up during acceleration.

Overall ride is a careful mix of a little comfort and more firmness due to the coil spring suspension — double wishbone with stabilizer in front and four-link in the rear — to still manage heavy hauling. It isn’t bouncy by Hilux standards even with only four occupants, driver included, but it surely ain’t a RAV4 in terms of comfort.


For the hardworking businessman

The all-new Toyota Innova 2.8 V is somewhat of paradox — a staff member dressed up like the CEO, an MPV with a minivan exterior.

Seats down, it is a spacious vehicle with high ground clearance and luxurious enough to ferry the boss of bosses.

Roll up its third and second rows and you’ve got an interior ready to haul your heavy payload.

Priced at P1.445 million, it is the most expensive Innova variant TMP has to offer, but with that, you get a multitasking work of art that’s Euro 4 complaint and yields a combined fuel economy of 11 kilometers to a liter.

If you want the best looking, yet hardest working Innova in your employ, get yourself into a Toyota dealership and drive home the Toyota Innova 2.8 V.3