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Old 24th July 2016, 11:40   #1
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Default Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-profile-img_8814.jpg

I seriously did not ever expect to write an ownership report on the new Innova Crysta! However given how much of a runaway success it is and given how good it is (and how exasperating some of its failings are), I think it deserves to be discussed as a proud possession in its own right.

So, in that spirit, I share below my initial impressions of the Toyota Crysta after driving it for 1000 km over city (300km) & highway (700km).

(It is a long report; executive summary – I love it but it has some bugs!)

(All images courtesy of my son, as big a motorhead as me and much more informed!)

The Decision Process

Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-top-img_8834.jpg

We have owned the previous generation Innova from 2006 – a G4 model. At that time, we did not buy the V model as it was too expensive but I have always regretted not buying a car with airbags & ABS. The old Innova has been absolutely trouble free – it has done 2.25 lakh kilometres with no major repair and, thank God, no major accidents. It was driven around 100km per day for about 8 years & now is my daily driver. Mileage has dropped a bit – around 9.5kmpl now, but it could also be a factor of the traffic I drive in - it takes me around an hour to commute 12 km.

Given that kind of experience with the Innova, it was a no brainer to buy the new Crysta when it came out. Or was it?

Toyota wants 20 lakhs for the base model!

We had paid about 10 lakhs for the old one. We always have leather in all our cars & a decent music system. Until it became illegal, we also had V-Kool put on. So, initial ownership costs were about 12 lakhs.

The first shock was that the base version was 20 lakhs & the version I wanted to buy, 27 lakhs, on the road in Bangalore. Sure, there were cheaper models but they don’t even have specs for those. I shudder to think what they have besides wheels, engines & a steering wheel. So that was the first shocker – it was God awfully expensive. This at a time when most car prices have increased by a rate slightly lesser than inflation over the past ten years. Meaning, most cars have become cheaper, with better features. And here is Toyota asking for double the price for a car not much different from the outgoing car. If you want the latest & greatest, it will cost an additional 7 lakhs!

So price was a problem.

The competition

What competition?

In the 11 or so years that the Innova has ruled the roost after successfully taking over from the equally iconic Qualis, NONE of its rivals have come up with a car that is even a rival for the venerable Qualis, leave alone the redoubtable Innova.

Broadly, these were the competitors (he he!) to the Crysta:
Toyota Fortuner
Bigger, more expensive and but getting long in the tooth. This was the only option if you wanted a 7 seater with an automatic. The features of the Crysta basically make it redundant. You will now only buy the Fortuner if it matters to you what other people will think of you if you drive a school van.
Also, is significantly taller than the Crysta and hence a problem for elders.
Ford Endeavour
Much more expensive. Very plush interiors. But what price Reliability? The Ford answers, "Who knows, here look at our console!"
Last row seating is strictly for kids. The car is very tall, making it difficult to ingress. It has abysmal mileage.
Chevy Captiva
The attitude seems to be “What? You really want to buy this car?” (snicker. Snicker) “Let me order one especially for you. And yeah, it will cost more than the Crysta with a similarly dated technology as the Innova. Dont be silly, whoever wants reliability from an American car? What we give you are the best sofas on 4 wheels”
Mahinda Xylo
Nicest last row seat. This is a car specifically designed to beat the Innova. And the only thing good I can think about it is that first statement!
Sure, owners are happy with it, mostly. But the combination of looks, the badge, the guinea pig feeling coupled with iffy dynamics, brakes & steering don’t make a compelling case. Safety is nothing to write home about, either.
Mahindra XUV 500
This, in my opinion, is the closest competitor to the Crysta and even the Fortuner.

It successfully targets both the Innova buyers with its practicality, and the Fortuner buyers with its butch SUV looks. It has much better presence than either.

The W8 version is loaded to the gills and with the addition of automatic, sunroof and AWD in the newer version, it ticks all the boxes. Its feature list is impressive: Auto everything – wipers, start, head lamps. First-in-class touch screen with navigation, AWD, sunrood, power everyting, cool lights all over (it even projects a logo on the floor to help you not step into puddles).

But its best feature is its engine: it is an absolute joy. The 140 bhp combined with go-anywhere ability is brilliant. Combined with an automatic, it is a serious contender. I have extensively used it (friend’s) and have nothing but good words for it.

The major complaints: steering dynamics, suspension and lack of boot space.
3rd row is usable but bad for long distance or for adults.

However, owning it is a bit like having an RE Bullet – you have accept that things will fail/ fall-off. (Just look at the niggles in XUV thread!) I have seen that the company is actually very responsive to the customers and goes a fair way in resolving issues. (This is a big deal)

If the fight had been between the old Innova & the XUV, I seriously think I would have ended up with an XUV. It is that good. Even in comparison with the Crysta, it deserves a good, hard look. It is very good for somebody who primarily needs a 5 seater with very occasional requirements for 7 seats. If you invest in a Thule system, luggage problems are solved.

I guess I would sell it in 5 – 6 years, so one would need to put in a lot of mileage annually to get the most out of it.

Its failures are at two levels: sophistication of the user experience and brand. I only rejected it because of perceived quality:
if the difference between the XUV & Crysta is 2-3 lakhs, I will (and did) sacrifice a few features for better long term reliability. My absolutely trouble free experience with the Innova over 10 years & 2,00,000 km is an argument that is difficult to trump.
That is the reason I called it a brand problem for XUV.

Mahindra should actively work on improving perceived quality & reliability as indeed they are.
(Aside: If ever Toyota is stupid enough to take any short term decisions that affect this experience with the Crysta either in after sales service (ASS) or in mechanical reliability, I think they will be in for trouble)

Renault Lodgy

Again a car that was designed (10 years late!) specifically as an Innova beater. It is competent if slightly under powered. I have not test driven one (absolutely hate the looks.) but my experience with the Duster indicates it will be quite competent. The last row looks usable, if a bit cramped.

Where it scores is in the pricing.

Where it lost out, at least to me, is in looks (God! It is ugly. Form follows function? No. It is like they actively designed the worst looking car possible!).

And my initial experience with Renault buying – they tried to cheat me every step of the way. Or at least that is what it felt like to me. The Duster itself is a very nice car - I love it.

I suspect that the maintenance costs on the Lodgy will be high, if the Duster is anything to go by – I had to replace brake pads at 25k km! On a people mover, that figure would be lower, I am sure.

Finally, one simply does not feel as rested arriving after a long drive in the Duster as one does on the Innova – this would also carry over to Lodgy. And, it is even more Spartan than the outgoing Innova!
Maruti Ertiga
It is excellent as the large car for a small family. But it is a small car and feels like it. Just not for me.
It is also under powered
Honda Mobilio/ BR-V

Did not like the Mobilio at all – drove a friends’ for a week. Felt very cramped. I did not drive the BR-V but was not impressed enough to try it.
This lack of competition is very puzzling since some of the international competition have very good equivalents in other markets. The best contender is the desi XUV! Why Volkswagen (Touran) or Honda don’t bring in their small vans into India is something that surprises me. May be there are reasons that a mere user like me can’t fathom.

The Rationale

So, despite the high cost, why did I choose to go with the Crysta instead of the the XUV 500 that I seem to like so much?

Basically, it due to my very pleasant experience with Toyota over a 10 year period. The car was reliable always - as recently as February, it was taken on a South India tour, filled to the gills with people & luggage, in the Thule box overhead. Sure, it showed its age - was slightly less eager, the suspension was protesting a bit over bumps but it performed like a champion.

That kind of reliability and the attendant peace of mind is worth a lot of money!

The Crysta also addressed the 3 things I really missed in the Innova - power, a luxurious cabin and a good looking exterior. 2.5 out of 3 aint too shabby!

The Variants
Then the variants – I seriously wonder what Toyota is thinking when it decided on the variants! Their focus groups were probably not very focussed!

I have already expressed my views on the variants here (Toyota Innova Crysta @ Auto Expo 2016) and my decision process on choosing the Vx 8-Seater in this post (Toyota Innova Crysta : Official Review)

A Vx Automatic makes a lot of sense even at the same price point as the Zx MT. Vx AT for the self driven & Zx MT for the chauffeur driven makes good marketing.

I am not entirely sure if there had been a Vx AT 8 Str, I would have still bought a Vx MT 8Str. I really like the way the MT drives and I did not like the high revs & lack of immediacy of the AT. But it would have been a tough call.

And really, Toyota, you should have a 8 seater Zx!

Seriously Toyota should rationalize the variants.

The Buying & Delivery Process
The buying was reasonably painless – clear information was given most of the time & not too much crowding to force any selection. They did sell hard but well. No complaints.

The car was promised on 30th June but was finally delivered on the 15th of July.

They allowed me to do a proper PDI without letting me start the engine (they had not done their PDI yet). This was the reason why I did not find out that the car was pulling to one side. This, despite my specifically requesting them to check it.

My initial impressions on the delivery in this post (Toyota Innova Crysta : Official Review)

I suspect on one line in the factory, the alignment equipment requires recalibration.

The Outside
The front 3/4th - in my opinion, the best angle for the car
Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-front-34th-img_8815.jpg

It is a handsome car, without a doubt. The frowning headlamps increase the attitude quotient. These headlamps are huge! The crease down the side of the car breaks up the bulk.

I have put in a thin (5mm) reflective strip on the glass (I have used the flash to highlight the strip) to increase visibility in the dark. I always put on reflective strips on the headlamp, tail lamps & the mirrors to ensure that these extremities are visible to oncoming traffic even in dark conditions.

The front headlamps:
Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-headlight-flash_dsc7562.jpg

The tail lamps
Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-rear_dsc7561.jpg

The strip on the mirror
Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-mirror-flash_dsc7559.jpg

The rear 3/4th - shows the familial resemblance to the old Innova!
Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-rear-34th-img_8813.jpg

A couple of shots that my son liked, of 'Kabali' as he called the car:

Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-snorter-img_8835.jpg

Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-kabali-img_8833.jpg

Usage Notes
Now, to move on to how it is to live with.

The big question, mileage – it gives about 14.5 kmpl highway (588 km/ 40 lt – full tank to full tank) on the highway. This is with reasonably sedate driving (BLR-Madras & back. Between 100-120 kmph. 2000-2500 rpm) in eco mode.

In city driving, the Crysta has given me about 13 kmpl but this is slightly skewed. I expect I will get about 12 km on regular driving.

I realized that until now, I have driven mostly in eco mode. So, I have decided to drive exclusively in normal mode when I fill up next and in power mode the time after. That should give us a reasonable estimate of the relative mileage of the 3 modes, since I always fill it up.

A word about the power modes: I find eco mode more than sufficient for the highway – I am not very aggressive on highways and plan manoeuvres. I also rarely exceed 120 kmph. So eco mode was quite enough. I honestly do not think on divided highways the power mode is required. On regular highways like state highways, on the other hand, it could be a boon.

In city driving, in bumper to bumper, again eco drive is better. You are barely moving any way! In regular driving, the normal mode is better, probably. But it is becoming increasingly difficult nowadays to find conditions where normal driving is possible in Bangalore! It is always chock-a-bloc with traffic, even on Sunday afternoons.

I did not find the need for a power mode – surprising! May be I will have something different to report at the 5k report once I get used to the car.

My opinion on the modes: I don’t think the modes change the power output but rather the responsiveness to inputs, particularly the throttle.

Basically in eco mode, the car asks “Are you sure? Confirmed? Lock kar diye jayen? “ before responding.

In power mode, it goes “Here you are, beta. Sure you don’t want more? Aur bhi kao. Arre badtha bacha hai - 10% aur lelo”!

A word of caution if you are used to the old Innova: This car has 50% more power in the MT version & 80% more in the AT guise. So, you are going to have to relearn some of your driving habits. Mostly, if you are going to stomp on the throttle, be ready for things to happen immediately even in the eco mode – so be prepared. I have already seen a couple of accidents involving Crystas and I believe this lack of preparedness is the fundamental reason.


The Driver's Seat
  • The display can show 3 pieces of information at a time – phone speed dial, eco information (av speed, kmpl etc) and music information

    The three-part display
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-3-part-display_dsc7543.jpg

    o There does not seem to be any way to configure what you want on the eco screen. Eg, it has a nice elapsed time feature but I cant show it in the 2 pieces visible all the time (without touching it to open up the full display).
    The Eco Display
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-eco-display_dsc7553.jpg
  • The head unit is a very nice unit – responsive because it is capacitive. I think the UI can be better (see dislikes) and hopefully Toyota will address the more egregious ones in a future update. It is unfortunate that it is a finger print magnet. Cant help it, I guess as the HU is touch based! A slightly non-reflective version might have helped both visibility and fingerprints. Don’t know if there are any anti-reflective screen covers available for this. I would buy one!
    o As an aside: I think car makers should open up APIs for complex HUs. That way they can harness the power of the crowd to get features in without spending on it. May be they can have a formal approval process of apps a la Google Store or App Store. Everybody benefits with this approach – experts design software UI, users get to customize, car makers can focus on their core-competence without compromising on features offered to their customers.
    o The HU boasts of a Mirror link connectivity. I could not test it as my Moto X Style is not mirror-link enabled. Anybody know if there is any app I can download to make it work?
  • The automatic AC works well. Does not keep very high fan speeds for too long & hence very usable.
    o There is a front defogger button. It does a decent job of clearing the front windshield but runs out of ideas in tough situations.
  • I now understand why the Duster has ‘steering’ controls on a separate stalk. When you turn the steering, the controls orientation changes and becomes difficult to operate. The RHS controls take care of the MID & the LHS controls the audio. Could have been better implemented.

    The steering wheel
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-front-view_dsc7555.jpg

    The fascia
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-dashboard_dsc7547.jpg

    You can also see above that the air freshener does not really sit very well. I hate dangly freshners. Might have to buy the Ambipur disposable ones.

    If you are wondering how the photo was attached to the 'wood' strip in the above photo, I used crazy glue.

  • Since the top of the dashboard is flowing, there is no real place for the traditional Ganesha. The best place I found for it is on a small ledge on the ‘wooden’ strip just under the clock. The idol sits there perfectly. BTW, Nandi Toyota gave the Ganesha free.
    Where Ganesha decided to preside:
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-ganesha_dsc7546.jpg
    o Also because the dashboard is largely flat, a nice phone mat will work well but I would advise against it as there are airbags underneath
  • The steering position, dashboard, windshield geometry seems changed. The windshield seems to be further away and the vertical space you look out of seems reduced (might be my imagination). So, when you put a phone holder for GPS purposes, you have to mount it higher for it to be at a comfortable viewing distance. I found, for me, that position is mildly intrusive in terms of visibility. Guess I will get used to it over time.
  • The A-pillar blind spots are different from the older car – beware! Understand it before you assume you know the blind spots.
  • Bluetooth wont pair or even switch to another device when the car is in motion. So, if your passenger is playing music and the driver gets a call, there is no way the driver can take the call!

    The Smart Key
    This is the first car I have had with a smart key. As an IT guy, I find the security hole disturbing. My brother said "What, 20 years ago buses were started like that"!

    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-keys_dsc7579.jpg
  • The car is very smart about the, er, smart key. It works fine if you keep it in the console under the arm rest. I have stuck a small hook there to facilitate this.
    o In theory, you cant lock the key inside the car but I have gotten into the habit of using the door request key to switch on & off the car.
    o The behaviour changes if the audio system is on - it does not lock. Instead it keeps beeping and it takes a while to figure out that the car is warning about. The audio system switches off after 1 hour (I think) and if the ignition is on, it switches off after 20 minutes
    o You can start the car & drive away leaving the key behind. Beware!
    o The SA said a new key will cost about 20k (That is not a typo! It is 1% of the value of the car!). So try not to lose it!
    The Automatic Headlights
  • The automatic headlights work fairly well. I leave the fog lamps on & the switch in auto. The fog lamps only come on when the parking lights come on. The headlights stay on for about 1 minute after switching off the engine. Go off when the door is opened.

    The headlamps
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-front-side-img_8799.jpg
    o When the engine is off, if you pull the light lever towards you, the head lamps come on for about 1 minute – Toyota also calls this the "follow me home" feature. They have buried this in the manual & the SA does not explain it.
    o I found the automatic head light leveling irritating. It is too low for highway use – you cannot really see far enough ahead to be prepared for emergencies on low beam at 100 kmph. The lack of the ability to level head lights manually is a pain.
    o I manually raised the beams (screw enabled set up is there in the head light assembly to do this) to be slightly higher. Don’t do this if you do not know what you are doing.
    Some Slightly Puzzling things
  • Strangely, there is no running period for the car. The manual only specifies that for the first 300km don’t hit the brakes hard (why?) and after that just drive normally until the 1000km. No running in; no rpm limits. I just stayed under 2500 rpm as abundant caution!
    o For what is presumably a modern, sophisticated engine, the manual specifies that we idle the engine between 30-60 seconds before switching off, depending on how you have driven. Seems very strange. More info in this t-bhp post: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...ml#post3027006 (Why you must practice the "Idling Rule" with Turbo-Charged Cars)
    o The XUV, also turbo charged, does not have this requirement.
    o Again the SA did not mention this but the manual is very insistent about this.
  • To me, the engine and the transmission do not feel all new. Basically it feels like an extensive upgrade of the old engine & transmission. I am going by feel rather than any technical data, which I am not competent to talk about any way.
  • They don’t do anything in the 1000 km service. Basically check everything works and try to sell you some more stuff. They wanted me to put in underbody coating, teflon & some coating inside the door for 17k. I opted for the underbody coating as the wheel wells are exposed metal and I feared that stones chipping the wheel well paint will provide locii for rust. Plus I wanted to slightly soften the sound.
  • The extended warranty they offered was 1.4 lakh km in 5 years ( 40k add on to the 3 yr, 100,000 km built in warranty) for about 30k. Thinking I will take the call after a year.

What I Like
  • The interiors are pretty good. Most things are well thought out, from a mechanical perspective. Light switches are nice and work with a satisfying click. The stalks & switches on them are reassuring while operating.

    A view of the front
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-front-row_dsc7557.jpg

    The 2nd row:
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-2nd-row_dsc7556.jpg

  • The seats are comfortable. The single touch tumble is good.
  • The doors close with a satisfying thud and stay open even in steep slopes. My mother found that after she got in, it was a bit difficult to reach and close the front door though.
  • The arm rests on the doors are well designed and comfortable to use. The second row arm rest feels flimsy.
  • Bluetooth works flawlessly. Phone calls are very clear
  • The steering wheel is nice & thick. (I personally do not like the wood top – afraid that it will slip when I do not expect it)
    o I did not find the wheel too heavy in low speeds. I think the wheel itself is slightly smaller than the outgoing one. So, you need to exert a slight bit more to apply the same torque – this is what people are probably interpreting as the “wheel is heavy”.

What I Dislike

Oh this list is going to be huge!

Don’t get me wrong, it is a very nice car. It is a bit like the top student getting pulled up more for losing that last one mark while the bottom student is being celebrated for passing!

Most of these are niggles on how one interacts with the car. In most other cars, you probably will not even notice these as there are more important things irritating you.

However, in the Crysta Toyota’s pedigree as a manufacturing giant shows in the mechanicals & electricals. Where there is software involved, they flub it fairly badly. They simply don’t “get it”!

Just Bad Design Choices
  • The bottle holder on the driver side interferes with operation of the steering wheel when it is open (even without a bottle). It is slightly better when the steering wheel is pulled out but still it feels like your hands will snag on it during vigorous operation. I am just 5'9" and not particularly big. Needs a redesign

    The interfering cup holder (sorry for bad image)
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-cupholder_dsc7550.jpg
  • No place for coins
  • No place for toll receipts/ papers’
  • The car has two 12v power outlets. The 2nd power supply is located at the foot of the centre console facing the 2nd row. This is position guaranteed to break the 12v power adapter when people move from one side to the other. Why Toyota loves to put breakable stuff here, I cant imagine (the previous version had the notorious cup holder there). Must be some vaastu issue.
    o The ideal position would have been from the top of the console or inside it.
  • Toyota has very thoughtfully provided a slot for an iPod/ phone right next to the aux ports. Unfortunately, they have thoughtlessly not rubberized the cavity. So, if you do put an iPod into that slot, it will rattle at the slightest opportunity. Most irritating!

    iPod Slot
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-ipod-slot_dsc7564.jpg
    o BTW, the USB port on the top does charge the phone/ iPod but not very fast.
    o It is also slightly small for the newer phones.
    o I have compromised and put it into the centre console. May be a good idea to stick one more hook & hang the iPod off it.
    A view of the hook & the iPod in the centre console
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-console-box_dsc7565.jpg
  • The sunglass holder on the roof near the driver is a good touch carried over from the previous car. But again they forgot an important bit - it is not lined with velvet or some soft material. So, your glasses will be scratched if they are not in a pouch. They probably will rattle too.
  • They give hard mudflaps as a ‘free’ accessory. (It is not part of the car; it is an accessory but they give it, and the mats, free). I personally prefer freely hanging mud-flaps to the hard, shaped ones. The hard ones break if you hit a speed bump or back into a curb. The flappy ones are more resilient.
    Guess you cant look at a gift horse in the foot!
  • They give you decent-ish mats 'free'. The driver side one locks in (guess Toyota learned its lessons well). It has a totally unnecessary cut-out for the dead pedal which is basically at the same level as the floor. It is more of a designated spot to rest your feet than a real dead pedal.

    I bought noodle mats from JC Road at 60 rupees a sqft. Got a 11x4 piece and cut it myself. Cheaper & much better, IMO, than the 3M option. I put the noodle mats on top of the rubber mats Toyota gave.

    The Noodle mat in the front - I covered the dead pedal.
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-footmat-img_8819.jpg
  • 22 lakhs for the car but Toyota does not provide an engine cover with the Vx! It is a 10k accessory. While it is only cosmetic, it galls me that I dont have it! Feels like a rip off but in the long run, it probably does not matter.
  • The remote provided is basically useless. Even Chinese maal gives better remotes. Basically take the battery out & throw it away.
  • When you switch off the car at lights, the HU goes off. So, if you are having a Bluetooth conversation, you are hosed! In a car with a key, this does not happen. The upshot of this is that you waste gas at lights if you are having a conversation on the phone or listening to some really good music, like Bohemian Rhapsody - you just dont want to shut it off!
    This should be fixed in software, in my opinion
  • When you tumble the second row seats and put it back, the seats are too erect. Need to lean back a bit. This bothers the hell out of me!
  • For all my troubles & compromises on getting the 8 seater, the middle seat is quite uncomfortable!
  • Toyota has, IMO, unnecessarily complicated how the last row is hung up. It used to have a hook that was nice & large and was hooked on the rear grab handle. No hassles; very intuitive.
    Now, the entire process has become fiddly. The rear hook has become flat and slides out of a pouch in the seat. Gets hooked in to a weirdly shaped hook on the D Pillar. It is quite difficult to get on & get off. One needs to check a couple of times to ensure that the seat does not fall those beautiful flowers that you have bought and put in the boot!

    The fiddly hook:
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-3row-hook_dsc7571.jpg

    There are 2 more hook/ latch like things on the D-Pillar. I have no idea what these are for!
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-what-img_8830.jpg

Software/ Usage Issues

The entire interaction between the HU, touch, steering wheel and MID needs a complete rethink. There is a lot of duplicate information. There is no intuitiveness about how a feature is accessed or used. It shows that Toyota is no software giant! Examples:
  • You can push the phone up button to bring up the phone info on the HU. There is also another phone button on the HU. Press either, it will bring up the phone screen on the HU. This has 4 tabs – call, contacts, favorites, Dialpad. But there is no way to go another tab without taking your hand off the wheel (and the eye off the road). Even worse, if there is a list of numbers you see, if you want to call any number other than the first one, you have to touch that one. If you casually touch it, it will bring up the contact. If you want to call, you have to aim and carefully touch the 1 sqcm green phone icon.

    The phone console
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-phone_dsc7544.jpg

    The MID
    Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-mid_dsc7541.jpg
  • You cant mute the sound quickly. It requires a long press
  • The entire interface is not designed with driving conditions in mind.
  • You can see music info on the MID but not phone call info or messages.
  • The messages tab on the MID is for car related warnings. Such warnings should be a high priority interrupt and override whatever you are having on the MID. So why it needs separate tab I don’t know.
  • All accessories go off if you switch off the car at a signal. Of course, they go off again if you start the car.
  • I love the ability to see distance, speed, FE etc from the ‘start’ of the trip rather than from reset. Very clever.
    However, there is a disturbing lack of cleverness about what constitutes ‘start’.
    The start resets if you switch off for any reason, even for a second.
    Ideally, start should reset only if the door opens or if the car is stopped for more than 5 minutes (like the Duke 390 does).
    o At the very least, you should be able to retrieve info about the previous trip.
    o There is no way to get at all the rich information that the car has either via an app or an interface. So, you have to track that stuff with your own car app. (Toyota is not alone in this)
  • The SA pushed the Toyota Android app big time as a must have for roadside support. So I downloaded it in front of her and opened it to register. What happens? - A brand new app, timed to release along with the Crysta with the Crysta as the focus, but the Crysta is not an option in the cars list in the app!
  • The DVD does not play when the car is in motion. A good safety feature.
    If I ever install headrest screens, I am not sure I can use the HU DVD player as it will not play when the car is in motion. Needs checking.
  • It also has very specific tastes about what DVDs it will play. Just because you paid money for an original DVD does not mean it will play it!.
  • Bluetooth wont pair or even switch to another device when the car is in motion. This is good from a safety perspective. However, if your passenger is playing music from their phone and the driver gets a call, there is no way the driver can take the call!
What I wish it had
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Android Auto/ Carplay at least as options, along with a sensible place to keep your phone. The gap next to the front power point seems ideal for this. Instead of wasting it for cup holders, Toyota should look at providing an universal phone bracket visible to the driver there.
  • More airbags/ VSC as option. (A man can wish, no?)
  • Lumbar support in the front seats
  • Armrest for front seats attached to the seat. The centre console is too far to use as an arm rest
  • Smart start-stop

The Service Process
Toyota needs to invest more in training its SA & ASS staff. They simply are not aware of most things. For most people, unlike t-bhp members, they are the single source of truth. So if they don’t know features, limitations etc it can lead to serious issues. They wasted a full day trying to fix my DVD/ remote since nobody spent the time to read the Crysta manual.
  • Despite the lack of training, the attitude of the sales & service staff is very good. It is unfailingly polite and helpful.
  • I wish Toyota does away with the 1 hour service. It does not get over in 60 minutes and leads to a hurried & cursory maintenance. They do not do any preventive maintenance or any involved work.
  • They need to train the cleaning staff better. The guy who cleaned my car used the rag used for the body on my windshield, rear windshield and other glasses. The ‘ worst thing is that he ‘cleaned’ the inside as well. Spent 30 minutes this morning to clean it.
    o For added measure, he also ‘cleaned’ the HU leaving it with a wonderful collection of scratches & smudges!
    o Please instruct them not to touch the glasses. Trust me, you will save a lot of aggravation that way!
    o They did not dry the mats before putting it back on. More importantly, the front driver mat was not locked in.
  • Toyota specifies a 5000 km service schedule but if you look at the manual, they only do important stuff at 10k. It is only a means to get the customer in to the service centre so that they can try & sell more stuff to him.
    Not good sport, Toyota!
    Problem is, if you don’t go in for the 5k service they have grounds to void the warranty in case of trouble.

Closing Words

It is an absolutely brilliant car for the purposes I intend it for.

Toyota needs to hire a good user experience company to figure out & fix its user interface. I am available if they want!

They are beginning to fray at the edges in terms of their service. If they dont fix it, I fear they will lose people like me.

Kabali says "Tell them I have arrived!"

Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km-front-onimg_8800.jpg

Last edited by sridhu : 25th July 2016 at 08:37.
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Old 25th July 2016, 17:03   #2
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Default re: Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!

One of the first Crysta ownership logs.

Its sales numbers clearly reflect, how far a good reliable product can go despite its price tag!

Last edited by ampere : 26th July 2016 at 09:57.
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Old 25th July 2016, 18:05   #3
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Default re: Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Congrats Sridhu on your shiny new acquisition. Your decision making process and minute details on the Crysta show how well-thought out it has been.

Wishing you many many happy miles in the Crysta as well. 2Lac+ KMs on the earlier Innova is a phenomenal achievement in itself and speaks volumes about Toyota's bullet proof reliability.

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Old 25th July 2016, 18:26   #4
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Congratulations Sridhu I too have booked the ZX AT last week and have been given a delivery date of End October by my dealer in Mumbai. Your inputs on the software aspects were really an eye opener.
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Old 25th July 2016, 19:39   #5
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Default re: Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Congrats Sridhu on getting the Crysta and penning down an honest ownership review of the same. Wish you many happy miles crunching the Kabali
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Old 25th July 2016, 20:10   #6
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Default re: Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Very objective review of what I feel is an absolutely cracker of a van. I wish you and your family many pleasant miles in it.

Did your alignment issue get resolved?
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Old 25th July 2016, 20:25   #7
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Default re: Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Brilliant review Sridhu with a great eye for detail and very useful insights for potential owners. Thanks to the Supreme Court orders I am Looking to replace my 9 year old Scorpio with an XUV Automatic. The Crysta is a worthy option but the NGT and supreme court dont agree with my plans- no 2000cc+ Engines in NCR, at least for now.

Wishing you many safe miles and years with Kabali!

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Old 26th July 2016, 09:41   #8
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Default Re: Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Congratulations sridhu on your Crysta. You have narrated the decision making nicely, which is very similar for almost all Crysta buyers IMO.

It is expensive no doubt, however I am sure you must have realized the long term potential of your investment, going by your experience with previous Innova. Nice pics of Kabali BTW.

Wish you thousands of happy miles on your Toyota.
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Old 26th July 2016, 11:10   #9
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Default Re: Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post

Did your alignment issue get resolved?
They did align the wheels on the next day. Dropped me off on that day too.

The alignment fixed the issue.
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Old 26th July 2016, 11:51   #10
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Default Re: Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Originally Posted by sridhu View Post
This lack of competition is very puzzling since some of the international competition have very good equivalents in other markets. The best contender is the desi XUV! Why Volkswagen (Touran) or Honda donít bring in their small vans into India is something that surprises me. May be there are reasons that a mere user like me canít fathom.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading your detailed review on your new acquisition! Congrats and happy driving!
Impressed by your logical pruning of the contenders.
Like you, I too have been puzzled by the lack of competition to the Innova - I mean direct competition - I do not consider the likes of Ertiga as proper competition (no offence to those owners/fans). And sure there are worthy candidates internationally.
It does baffle me quite a bit that Toyota has been allowed a free run over that segment.
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Old 26th July 2016, 12:46   #11
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Default Re: Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Congratulations on your new ride and a lovely review there. As comprehensive as T-BHP official reviews are, its always nice to read owner reviews as well as they bring each person's unique perspective to the table.

I do agree that despite getting a tremendous product, they did get some things annoyingly wrong - most of them imminently avoidable. I do hope they react proactively to feedback on all these fronts and correct some of these issues sooner rather than later. Better variant management being on top of the list!!

In the meantime, enjoy the ride!
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Old 26th July 2016, 12:46   #12
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Default Re: Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Congratulations, Sridhu on the crysta. Seems expensive though. In Gurgaon it is 24 lakhs on the road (though they cannot sell it due to the diesel ban). But interiors are drool worthy.

Your observations on every thing that a user could get frustrated with over the ownership of the crysta is truly very useful.

Wish you many a successful miles in your crysta.
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Old 26th July 2016, 14:19   #13
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Default Re: Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Congratulations on your purchase. Hopefully it gives you a trouble free ownership experience like the previous gen Innova.

I myself was waiting for the AT version of the Innova to get launched but in my view it isn't worth the ~26 lakhs that Toyota wants me to fork out. That's pure extortion! And no amount of bling and bottle carriage space can convince me about putting this kind of money for essentially a 6-seater van.

Post the Crysta launch and the response, all those complaints about the pricing of Tata Aria seemed full of hypocrisy to me. It offered all the bells and whistles that the Innova offers now and that too at a comparitively much lower cost. Toyota did this with the Corolla as well where the current model costs 1.5 times the previous one.
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Old 26th July 2016, 15:10   #14
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Default Re: Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Congrats on the brilliant car. There are so many on the roads in bengaluru and wonder and I saw a dozen of them near a function hall near my house.

Maruti should do something on the lines of a enlarged Ertiga and use the 1.6 diesel on it.
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Old 26th July 2016, 15:31   #15
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Default Re: Toyota Innova Crysta - An ownership report after 1000 km

Congratulations, thoroughly enjoyed your detailed review. It kept me captivating. I feel it was one of those honest reviews.

I wish you and your family many pleasant miles in it.
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