are something you’ll definitely notice when you’re driving fast. Another grouse we had is with the long-throw gear lever; though nice to slot, it looks and feels a bit tacky in a car like this.
Start the Aria up and you’ll notice that the engine feels quite refined—it’s much quieter than the Innova’s 2.5-litre unit, and the car is also the quieter of the two on the move. The one we’re driving is the 4x4 variant, but there’s a small button that changes it to 4x2 mode, and this sends power only to the rear wheels, which improves fuel efficiency. In 4x4 mode, whenever the car is short on grip, the engine can send up to 45% of its power to the front wheels, but you will rarely find need to use this mode in everyday driving situations. The Aria is 200mm longer than the Innova, so naturally, parking it in the city is a task on its own. And although the Aria is quite nice to drive, the gearbox, clutch and steering aren’t of the same quality or as light to use as the Innova’s.
Ride & handling
Both these cars are huge MPVs, so they’re going to handle like big MPVs. The Aria has more body roll when you take it round a corner quickly, while the Innova feels a bit more composed and points into corners well. Once you get used to the roll on the Aria, however, it drives really well too, giving the driver plenty of confidence from the hydraulic power assisted steering wheel.
The Aria even drives well when fully loaded; the suspension soaks up bumps well and little of it can be felt in the cabin. And despite having a smaller engine, the Aria is quicker to 100 kph than the Innova by 1.84 seconds. The Toyota’s engine produces less overall power and as a result can’t hold on to high speeds for prolonged periods.
What are they like inside?
The Toyota’s cabin holds on to its airy feel, and to justify the premium, there’s a new faux wood finish on the armrests and gear knob and hints of chrome on the dash, which lift the ambience of the cabin. The steering wheel is the same as the one on the Corolla and the fit and finish and overall feel of the buttons and wheel are solid. In fact, the entire dashboard feels solidly built. Even on older Innovas