Coming from the streets of India is what appears to be the next-generation Toyota Innova, all clad in the appropriate full body camouflage and seemingly evading a set of prying eyes and a smartphone set on record.
In mid-October, car-spotter Naveen Gowda uploaded a quick video onto Youtube showing him chasing down the as-yet unreleased new model. The driver in both cases seemed to be more interested in racing each other down the road than keeping a safe distance – then again, this is India.
The MPV is suspected to house petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, a first for the model, in at least one of its variants upon a future launch. Similarly, those are rumoured to gain the ‘Hycross’ moniker in some markets, though in its debut market of Indonesia it will be named the Innova Zenix (for some reason).
In addition to its appearance in India, the new Innova is also undergoing similar late-stage pre-production testing in other regions. Also noteworthy since we can’t get a good look at the vehicle’s finer details, is the choice of alloy wheels and the adoption of a larger, freestanding infotainment head unit.
Buyers can expect a more upmarket feeling cabin compared to Toyota’s slightly lower-rung MPV options such as the Veloz, elsewhere known as the Daihatsu Xenia and Perodua Alza – yes, Toyota’s naming schemes do get quite confusing as they are rarely unified across different markets.
Unlike its DNGA-derived stablemates, however, the Innova will reportedly ditch the previous generation model’s ladder frame chassis for the unibody construction of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) that underpins the majority of the brand’s newest and most modern models.
The currently sold (in Malaysia) Toyota Innova is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre 1TR-FE four-cyliner engine producing 140PS, which is expected to be more or less retained, though augmented by the inclusion of an electric motor for extra fuel economy.
It’s unclear how far down the pecking order an all-new Innova is to local distributors UMW Toyota Malaysia as they are reported to be prioritising the arrival of the full range of GR-branded cars such as the GR86, GR Corolla, and manual-equipped GR Supra.
That said, the regional premiere of the next Innova will surely be a sufficient gauge of public interest that would spur or dissuade them to introduce into Malaysian showrooms or be content with a single MPV offering for the time being.