Legions of Toyota fans will still stand by the Innova as the definitive vehicle in the compact multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) segment.
Built as the successor to the Revo AUV line, the Innova brought a touch of refinement to people carriers, with increased capability thanks to its Innovative International Multi-purpose Vehicle (IMV) platform. More importantly, it has outlasted its erstwhile rivals the Mitsubishi Adventure and the Isuzu Crosswind.
The Innova has become a mainstay in Toyota's stable
Now on its second generation since its 2004 debut, the Innova has not only undergone several facelifts, but changes in size as well. Not everyone is comfortable with driving a vehicle approaching minivan proportions, especially in city traffic.
On account of its height, the Toyota Innova is given to bouts of body roll. And the rather utilitarian styling may not be elegant enough for some potential customers.
If you're unsure about going for the Innova, there are several other options available for a vehicle that can comfortably carry both passengers and cargo.
1. Toyota Avanza (Php 692,000 – Php 943,000)
One alternative is the Innova’s own stablemate, the Toyota Avanza (alternately sold as a rebadged Daihatsu Xenia). Similar to the Innova, it sports a rear-wheel drivetrain (if that’s your thing), riding on a unibody chassis.
The Avanza adopts a more modern-looking fascia
The relatively more compact proportions make city excursions a little less challenging. Plus, the styling is a little more contemporary with the sleek fascia, with a hint of the spindle grille that’s common in the more upscale Lexus line.
There’s ample room in the cabin, with a 6.8-inch smart infotainment system to keep you connected. And like the Innova, the Avanza also offers two power plant options with variable valve timing, albeit both gasoline. We’d recommend going for the bigger 1.5L gasoline engine, given the seven-passenger capacity.
2. Suzuki Ertiga (Php 738,000 – Php 993,000)
The Suzuki Ertiga is another seven-seater that’s popular in the market. This MPV is based on an extended version of the chassis used by the Swift subcompact hatchback and Dzire subcompact sedan.
The result is a more agile, car-like ride. While the first iteration essentially resembled a bigger Swift, the second generation came with a taller nose and revamped fascia that was both more contemporary and mature, giving the Ertiga a more cosmopolitan air.
The Suzuki Ertiga has grown up from the rounded contours of the first generation
The vehicle’s front-wheel-drive layout frees up more room along the length of the body for the interior. The Ertiga was among the first models in its class to offer sliding second-row seats for improved carrying flexibility.
Unique to the Ertiga (and its top-spec XL7 derivative) are ventilated cupholders that keep your beverages cool even on long drives. There’s also a dedicated cash holder on the driver’s side, convenient when paying at the toll gates.
The Ertiga is powered by a 1.5L K15B gasoline engine with multipoint injection, mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. Electric power steering make it maneuverable even in small parking spaces, while dual airbags and antilock brakes are among safety features standard across the range.
3. Honda Mobilio (Php 895,000 – Php 1,085,000)
The present Honda Mobilio is actually the second-generation model, and is Honda’s entry in the compact MPV category. Its unibody chassis promises comfort and sedan-like levels of handling.
The facelifted version looks especially sporty, with a beltline resembling a thunderbolt midway between the B- and C-pillars, and a low roof that lowers its center of gravity.
Athletic looks belie the practicality that the Honda Mobilio offers
There’s enough room for seven inside the cabin, plus cargo behind the rear seats. Convenient storage spaces abound for stowing away small items, and a one-touch mechanism on the second-row seats provides easy access to the third row.
The Mobilio runs on a 1.5L i-VTEC gasoline power plant, paired with either a five-speed manual or an Earth Dreams CVT. An ECO indicator on the dashboard lights up when you’re driving at your most efficient. Dual airbags accompany speed-sensing door locks, while the G-Force Control (G-CON) chassis dissipates crash energy to protect occupants.
4. Mitsubishi Xpander (Php 1,010,000 - Php 1,255,000)
The Mitsubishi Adventure may have passed on, but in its place is the Mitsubishi Xpander MPV which is poised to carry its predecessor’s legacy.
The Dynamic Shield grille is certainly a striking (if not polarizing) conversation piece, while the short hood complements its elevated seat height for better visibility. An all-new platform underpins the Xpander, giving it passenger car road manners despite the tall stance.
2020 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross: What makes it different from a regular Xpander?
If you think the Xpander name is just an empty promise, take a look at the cavernous interior. The steering wheel offers tilt and telescopic adjustment. There’s plenty of room on the front seats despite the large center console, while the third-row seats virtually fold flat with an easy-pull tab on the seat rests.
There’s a charging port for each seating row, ensuring that tech-inclined passengers won’t run out of charge while on the go. A 7-inch touchscreen handles onboard entertainment, with smartphone mirroring and offline navigation capabilities.
Mitsubishi's Xpander MPV inherits elements from both the Adventure and the Lancer
The Xpander is propelled by a 1.5L MIVEC 16-valve gasoline engine derived from the Mitsubishi Lancer, good for 105 hp and 141 Nm of torque. A choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions deliver the power to the front wheels.
The Xpander’s suspension features inertia valves adapted from the famed Lancer Evolution X, providing a comfortable yet supple ride. Cruise control is standard, as well as front airbags and seven seat belts. Meanwhile, Active Stability Control, Traction Control, and Hill Start Assist are offered on the top-spec Xpander Cross.
At Philkotse.com, we'll help you find more choices in getting your own ride.
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