Toyota Innova Crysta 2.8 AT Review

Posted on Wed ,13 Jul 2016 10:24 am
Vaibhav Yedavi
Rating by CG: 
    
Toyota Innova Crysta 2.8 AT Review

Introduction

The Innova has ruled the roost in the MPV segment for 11 years straight, but those in the market for a premium luxury vehicle have never cross-shopped it with the sedan or SUV options available to them; until now. With the launch of the new generation model under the ‘Innova Crysta’ moniker, Toyota finally has a sharp looking, luxurious, feature laden, and powerful alternative.

 

But does it have enough pizazz to tempt the D segment buyers away from their traditional choices? We try and find out.

 

Exterior

There are enough design elements to distinguish the new model from the older one, but the silhouette is typical Innova. The Crysta shouts modern because of the sharp styling and you can see this in the large hexagonal front grille. The headlamps are sleeker too with LED projectors, while the sculpted bonnet, subtle haunches over the front and rear wheel arches, the sharply raked glass on the C-pillar glass, large wheels, and the boomerang shaped tail-lamps; all of which form the highlights of the new design. There is bling (read chrome) too but it is used in very moderate amounts and can be found on the thick two-slat upper grille at the front, detailing in the headlamp clusters, fog lamp housing, side-view mirror covers, and on the beltline.

 

Toyota Innova Crysta 2.8 AT Front

 

Toyota Innova Crysta 2.8 AT Rear

The fresh and detailed styling of the Innova Crysta means that it will not look out of place in a parking lot filled with premium vehicles and that is exactly what the folks at Toyota were after. So in fact, they’ve managed to stick to the brief.

 

Interiors

The biggest change to be found in the Innova Crysta is also its bestselling point. You will realise it as soon as you open the doors. Compared to the older model, the new cabin is leaps and bounds ahead with more comfortable seating, use of plush materials and loads of convenient features and storage spaces.

 

Toyota Innova Crysta 2.8 AT dashboard

 

The first and second row of seating are comfortable and feature adequate thigh and back support, while the third row though spacious doesn’t provide thigh support as passengers sit in a knee-up position due to the high floor. The seat materials are plush and the top-end variant, which we were driving, featured a brown-black leather combination, and there is a rather premium and soft material used for the arm-rests on the door pads as well.

 

Toyota Innova Crysta 2.8 AT interiors

 

The dashboard is one large sweeping design with faux wooden trim and a touchscreen infotainment system housed in the centre console. The HVAC controls are placed just below it on a panel angled upwards. The rather large leather wrapped steering wheel houses the audio, phone, as well as driver information menu controls.

 

Toyota Innova Crysta 2.8 AT interiors 2

 

Convenient features available include 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat, backrest recline feature for the second and third row, one-touch tumble second row seats to allow access to the third row, a front passenger seat which can be moved forward by the second row passenger by pulling a lever, 20 bottle holders, and aircraft style foldable trays for the second row. Other features include roof mounted AC controls and vents for the second row and roof mounted AC vents for the third row. Overall it’s a comfortable cabin with loads of convenient features which will keep the family entertained while heading for that dinner of hot sizzlers.

 

Engine & Gearbox

Powering the Innova Crysta is a 2.8-litre, inline-4, turbo diesel engine pumping out 172 bhp and 360 Nm of torque. It is a massive jump from the 101 odd horses and 200 Nm torque produced by the 2.5-litre unit in the older Innova. The only choice of transmission option available with this engine is a traditional torque converter type 6-speed automatic. Peak power is generated at 3,400 rpm and the peak torque is available between 1,200 and 3,400 rpm. We are sure this engine can propel the 1,870 kg MPV from a standstill to 100 km/h in around 12 seconds. Great for when the kids are late for their 7am class.

 

Toyota Innova Crysta 2.8 AT engine

 

The power delivery is linear and in-town the gearbox always upshifts or downshifts at the right time in slow moving or stop-go traffic. It is the same story when driving on the highways, with the Innova Crysta reaching triple digits speeds effortlessly. There is always power in reserve when you need it, but driving with a heavy foot is not appreciated by the gearbox, which tends to over rev the engine before upshifting in such situations.

 

The engine can be operated in three modes – the default Normal mode, an Eco mode which dulls throttle response, and an eager Power mode which holds onto a gear longer. The modes are no gimmick and genuinely alter the way the engine responds to your tap on the accelerator pedal.

 

The gearbox can be operated in manual mode too with the up/down shift executed using the console shifter. But such a massive MPV is well suited to be driven in pure automatic mode only.

 

By the way, the advantage of such a powerful engine is that instead of you being visible in people’s rear view mirror most of the times, you will be watching them disappear in yours.

 

For those wanting a manual option, there’s that too. The buyer can choose a 2.4-litre engine producing 148 bhp and 343 Nm of torque coupled to a 5-speed manual gearbox.

 

Noise, Vibration, Harshness (NVH)

Close the doors of the Innova Crysta and you will be surprised by how silent the cabin is when idling or even on the move. The only time the engine is heard in the cabin is when the Power mode is selected or during overtaking manoeuvres. It is the same story with the vibrations, none of which filter into the cabin at any speeds.

 

Toyota Innova Crysta 2.8 AT NVH

 

The hydraulic steering though transfers all the shocks and road imperfections to the hands.  And since there are no wheel-well claddings at the front or rear, the sound of stones hitting the metal when traveling on gravel and loose surfaces can be heard in the cabin. Not the best sound to be heard we say.

 

Ride & Handling

The Innova rides on a double wishbone setup with torsion bar at the front, while the rear sports a 4-link setup with coil springs. Compared to the previous generation vehicle, the spring setup is on the softer side. So while it does bounce around over uneven surfaces at low speeds, it flattens everything on the faster drives. And that is because of the revised dampers which effectively keep the pitch and bounce in check. The softer springs also mean it rolls more around the twisty road sections than the previous generation Innova did. The Innova Crysta still uses a body-on-ladder frame chassis, while the other MPVs use a monocoque chassis. A monocoque would have helped shave a lot of weight and resulted in better dynamics too.

 

Toyota Innova Crysta 2.8 AT Ride & Handling

 

The steering is a hydraulic unit which is fairly heavy at city speeds and lacks feedback at highway speeds. Some tweaks to the setup can go a long way in making it better.

 

Overall it is a good setup for covering long distance in a sedate manner.

 

Equipment & Features

 

The top variant of the Innova Crysta is loaded to the brim with features. There are automatic headlamps with LED projector low beams, four-point LED pilot lamps, 17-inch wheels on the outside and 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and voice commands, GPS based navigation, ambient lighting, automatic climate controls for the first and second row, 4.2-inch MID display in the instrument cluster, and push-button start/stop on the inside.

 

Innova Crysta Instrument Cluster MID

 

The 6-speaker audio setup in the Innova though is below the mark. There are better sounding setups available in cars that cost a quarter of the price. And then there is the GPS which is so slow, that by the time it gets a lock on the satellites, you have already covered a great distance in the wrong way.

 

Innova Crysta Touchscreen Infotainment

 

The safety equipment though is top notch– three-point seatbelts for all 7 or 8 passengers, 7 airbags (3-airbags including driver, passenger and driver knee standard across the range), vehicle stability control and hill assist control. These set of features are available in all the premium luxury sedans and SUVs, so a good move by Toyota to provide the same.

 

 

Verdict

 

Apart from the two issues – the audio setup and GPS lock – it is hard to find fault with the new Innova Crysta. It looks premium, has a comfortable and luxurious cabin, is powered by a powerful diesel engine with the convenience of an automatic transmission, and loaded with safety features. With the Innova Crysta, Toyota is positioning itself at the premium end of the segment.

 

Innova Crysta 2.8 AT Review

 

The thing is if you are in the market for the Innova Crysta, you will have already booked one without reading any review or without any test drive whatsoever. For those of you who haven’t, it is a good and reliable alternative to the sedans and SUVs and should be on your radar when you go shopping. 

 

Toyota has received more than 30,000 bookings for the Innova Crysta since its launch in May 2016, and more than 80% are for the top-end variant featured in this review. And this is despite the company not being able to sell the vehicle in Delhi which is one of its biggest markets. But the company will address the issue soon, by launching a petrol powered model next month.

 

 

Words by Vaibhav Yedavi

Photos by Anuj Malandkar & Amith Bhagwan

 

 

Toyota Innova Crysta 2.8 AT Specification:

 

  • Engine - 2.8-litre, inline-4 turbo diesel; 172 bhp and 360 Nm of torque
  • Transmission - 6-speed automatic with sequential shift
  • Average Fuel Consumption - 10.5 km/l
  • Dimensions - 4,735 x 1,830 x 1,759 (length x width x height in mm)
  • Wheelbase - 2,750 mm
  • Weight - 1,870 kg
  • Wheels & Tyres - 215/55 R17
  • Price - Approximately INR 26 lakhs for 2.8 ZX AT variant reviewed here; Base variant (2.4 GX) start at 18.31 lakhs (prices are on-road Mumbai)

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