UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd introduced its all-new, EEV-certified Toyota Innova on Monday, and we had the opportunity to test-drive the 2.0G variant to Carey Island on a rainy day before its launch. The first generation Innova was unveiled over a decade ago, replacing the popular Unser.

Toyota did a fabulous job in improving the second generation Innova, giving its buyers a safe, elegant, sporty, comfortable multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) to drive.

The all-new Innova 2.0G variant comes with a 2.0 litre 1TR-FE naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine with Dual VVT-i technology. It is mated to a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission with sequential shifter.

It is capable of producing 139hp at 5,600rpm and 183Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The MPV utilises a rear-wheel drive configuration. Toyota claims it consumes about 9.1 litres of petrol per 100km and it can sprint from standstill to 100kph in 16.44 seconds.

The Innova measures in 4,735 mm in length, 1,830 mm in width, 1,795 mm in height, with a 2,750 mm wheelbase. It is 150mm longer, 70mm wider and 35mm taller than its predecessor. It has about 300 litres of boot space with all seats up and about 55 litres of fuel tank capacity.

The 2.0G variant comes with halogen reflector headlamps, keyless entry with push-to-start button, rear fog lamps, front fog lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels, power-adjustable side windows, puddle lamps, easy-close liftgate, as well as the optional DVD-AVN infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen and a reverse camera.

It also boasts an automatic air-conditioning system, Optitron instrument panel with a 4.2-inch colour TFT-LCD multi-info display with steering wheel controls, and the fabric seats gets a “tiger stripe” design. For the second row passengers, the Innova has foldable seatback tables which are able to hold up to 10kg, dual-zone ambient LED lighting, automatic climate control and an armrest with cup holders. Some improved features in the Innova include an upper glove box that doubles as a cooler, improved seat mechanism where the second-row, 60:40 split-folding seats can be folded and tumbled with just one lever and the 50:50 split-folding third-row seats now get a spring lifter, making it easier to lift them up to make room for more cargo space.

Anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution, Isofix mounts, parking sensors on the front and rear, seven airbags, vehicle stability control, hill start assist and traction control are its key safety features. The all-new Innova has the full five-star ASEAN NCAP safety rating for adult occupant protection, and was awarded with the best child occupant protection in the MPV segment during the recent 2016 ASEAN NCAP Grand Prix awards.

The all-new Toyota Innova 2.0G is priced at RM122,323,35, inclusive of the Goods and Services Tax but without insurance. It comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty. The Drive Nearly 30 media personnel joined the drive from UMW Toyota headquarters in Shah Alam to Carey Island.

There were five new Innovas and five first generation Innovas for the media to test. We drove the new Innova 2.0G and liked the improvements. The cabin is quieter, larger, more comfortable and elegant. We had three drivers taking turns to drive the MPV and utilised the second and third row seats. It was less bouncy than the previous version.

This is attributed to an improved suspension setup that features larger rear shock absorbers and revised damping characteristics. Toyota said it changed the rear bushing structure to allow for a smaller reaction from the shock absorber stroke. The transmission was smoother and even on high speed corners, it gripped well despite the wet road.

Wind and tyre noise was minimal. As for its engine, it was very quiet on low revs, but roared on high revs. The new powertrain is not only smoother and faster, but also tuned to ensure optimum fuel consumption and low engine noise. We liked the light steering wheel setup. It made navigating the MPV easier.

The premium interior design and the materials used, as well as the ambient light are elegant touches. It felt luxurious and comfortable. Another good aspect of the 2.0G variant is the easy-close liftgate. It is really helpful to close the boot quietly, especially when having a baby or child sleeping in the MPV.

While the all-new Innova 2.0G may be close to being nearly perfect, there is room for improvement. This includes the addition of a blind spot warning indicator and more power sockets for charging electronic devices. The 2.0G variant should come with the LED projectors and LED day running lights, as seen on the Indonesian-spec model, to add a more premium and elegant touch to its look.