Toyota Innova dominance: From a 2005 model to the latest Innova Hycross

Our car produced 136hp and 181Nm from its 2.0L petrol engine, which was a lot compared to its competitors like the Tata Sumo, Mahindra Scorpio or Chevrolet Tavera.

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This post pulls on my heartstrings, because as a 4-year-old kid the car that really got me into cars was the 2005 Innova we had at home!

I still remember as a kid my dad had got home some confidential documents related to the Innova (Innova = Innovation), before the car was launched in 2005, pertaining to the development of the car on the IMV platform. My dad was somehow related to the Innova project in India, and our car was built on the production line in front of his eyes, till date I have never asked him in what way was he involved in the project, looks like it’s a good time to ask him!

We had a Ford Ikon 1.6L before the Toyota Innova and when my dad had booked the Innova, a gentleman who worked at GM, had questioned my dad about why are you putting money into an unknown product from Toyota, the Japanese Giant, well the rest is history as we see today.

Our Innova was pushing out 136hp and 181Nm from its 2.0L petrol motor, which was a lot compared to competitors like the Sumo, Scorpio or Tavera back in the day. 12.36 seconds 0-100 kmph was unheard of from such a large MPV back in the day! This petrol engine was quite rare, considering the 102hp 2.5L Diesel made up the majority of the sales, and I still remember closer to 2014 fuel pump attendants would scurry to see a Petrol-Powered Innova at their bunk!

One thing that made the Innova really what it is today, apart from the Qualis, was and is the brilliant build quality, Toyota India’s after-sales network, excellent service experience and top-notch reliability. We sold our car very early, in 8 years and 92000kms itself to be precise, which is nothing for a car like the Innova, not because it was giving us problems but because we had gotten bored of the car and upgraded to the Fortuner in 2014, which was not the best decision if we look back, TBH! It takes hard work, excellent after-sales and reliability for a product to become a household brand and eventually become a brand name in itself, something which cannot be said about a lot of the current products from various manufacturers on offer today!

The Innova’s price started increasing exponentially late in its lifecycle, yet people would flock to get hold of one!

The other day my dad called me and told me our Fortuner replacement is decided, I knew the car even before he told me! Having completed 9 years with the Fortuner in Feb 2023, we’re actively on the lookout for a replacement. The car that my dad saw parked on the road and took an immediate liking to its SUV-like styling was nothing other than the new Innova (HyCross)! He is a massive fan of the Hybrid tech ever since he drove the Camry Hybrid a few years back.

Having travelled in cabs across the country, never did I ever meet an unhappy Innova driver. Cabbies just endlessly praise the car, clocking several lakhs of kilometers without breaking a sweat, be it the OG Innova or the Crysta! The Crysta’s return in manual guise has made the cabbies the happiest lot!

There is a saying: Once you become a Toyota owner you just cannot look at any other brand as a replacement for a Toyota! This is true for the cars we have at home, the constant that will always stay at home is a Toyota! TBH, the credit for owning a BMW (our first premium car) today goes to nothing but the Toyota sitting beside it at home, for whenever the BMW throws a tantrum (fingers-crossed it never does throw one), the Toyota will come to the rescue!! And coming to the service experience of a premium brand like BMW and a mass-market brand like Toyota, the premium brands have miles to go before they can even dare to reach Toyota’s after-sales levels!!

And lastly, want to know how Toyota celebrated the 1 Million Milestone for Innova?

By raising the prices of the Innova HyCross by 75k within 2 months of launch, w/o any price protection for people who had pre-booked their cars, unlike Mahindra which gives price protection!

The Innova Evolution


There are two things that I am unhappy about though:

Here’s what GTO had to say about the matter:

The king indeed. So many tried to compete with the Innova (Xylo, Aria, Marazzo…), but no one succeeded. The Kia Carens is the only MPV that garnered good volumes, albeit at a lower price / size band.

Brand “Innova” is perhaps as powerful in India as the brand “Toyota” itself. That kind of power is enjoyed by very few products (internationally, “iPhone” and “Apple” would be great examples).

Never met an unhappy or regretful Innova owner. No matter whether they bought the car at 6.8 lakhs or more recently, 30 lakhs. That’s saying a lot.

Here’s what BHPian Contrapunto had to say about the matter:

I had a very, very happy ownership experience with the Innova- 2006 model. Bought preowned, used it for more than 1 lakh Km and sold it for a new Ecosport since my wife (the other driver) found the steering too stiff.

I hope I can own the new Innova over the next couple of years.

Here’s what BHPian RRM had to say about the matter:

The saying stands true to it. I was a 1st gen Hyundai Verna owner and post 3 yrs. moved to a 2005 pre-owned diesel Innova V. Sold the 2005 model and then later moved to the 2012 V model. Family doesn’t want anything else other than Innova as they love the captain seat comfort and the space. I don’t want to change to any other brand as I get the best and most economical service, time and again.

I was also trying to move to Fortuner AT, but even pre-owned 2nd gen onwards demands a premium and hence have stopped looking out and continue to use Innova.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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