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 Toyota Innova Philippines, 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
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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 Toyota Avanza Philippines 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 Philippines 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 Philippines 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
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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 Mitsubishi Xpander Philippines, giving it passenger car road manners despite the tall stance.
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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.
Know more about Toyota Innova
The Toyota Innova is one of the best-sellers of Toyota Motor Philippines. It is a compact MPV that can accommodate seven occupants while other variants have a seating capacity of eight. The Toyota Innova became a logical choice in the MPV segment because of its seating capacity, diesel mill, and raised ride height. It is the main reason why the Toyota Innova is one of the annual top-sellers in the country. This is a testament to how appealing this compact MPV is to Filipino car buyers. The current generation Toyota Innova has a larger dimension than its predecessor. The overall exterior of the Toyota Innova is obviously an MPV, but the styling is inspired by the SUV and crossover models of the Japanese brand. Dominating the front end of the Innova is a large angular grille and large swept-back headlights. It gives the Toyota Innova a more aggressive appearance that reminds us of the U.S – market Highlander SUV. On the side, it features clean and notable shoulder lines. It has features similar to the RAV4, particularly the near-triangular D-pillars, angular horizontal taillights, and upswept rearmost side windows. The new Toyota Innova is offered with two engine options. The first one is the 2.0L Dual VVT-I 1TR gasoline engine that creates an output of 136 horsepower and 183 Newton-meter of torque. The second one is the 2.8L 1GD-FTV engine that produces 167 hp and 343 Nm of torque on manual transmission variants and an impressive 171 horsepower and 360 Newton-meter of torque on an automatic transmission. The Toyota Innova shared the same platform with the Fortuner and Hilux and assembled at the brand’s assembly plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
Joseph Paolo Estabillo
Joseph has been a member of various car clubs since he got his driver's license in 2004 – old enough to remember riding in taxicabs with analog meters, but his fascination with cars goes way back. After nearly two decades of working in broadcast media, he shifted gears by coming on board as Philkotse’s first Filipino member and staff writer in 2017.
Apart from his role in Philkotse, Joseph has written episodes for Drive, which has been airing on CNN Philippines for five seasons running. He has also delivered content for various car dealerships based in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Jeep, Dodge, among others.
Keeping his hopes high and his revs low, he dreams about owning a Kei car when he retires. Hates slow parkers.