Choosing between the Toyota Innova Crysta & the Kia Carnival

Like the current Innova, I want the next car to do duty for us for the next 9 - 10 years

BHPian rrsteer recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

With the introduction of the '10 Year rule' in Delhi, I am forced to sell my very well maintained, and a vehicle I am very fond of - my 2012 Innova. Although it has done over 2.22 lakh km, it runs without a squeak or a rattle.

Anyways, we have shortlisted two cars for our next purchase. It's either a Crysta VX or a Carnival Prestige. For some time I flirted with the idea of retaining the Innova and buying a pre-owned Camry. But, we have been spoilt by the space that Innova offers and ultimately Camry felt a bit cramped. Just couldn't imagine doing a long road trip in a Camry.

While my head says buy the Crysta, my heart has been swayed by the Carnival (I can listen to my head, more often than I like). In contrast, my mom and wife have fell for the Carnival, hook, line and sinker. But ultimately, cars being 'my department', they have left the decision to me.

Now my question to the wise folks here, will Carnival be the right choice given the following:

  • Like the current Innova, I want the next car to do duty for us, for the next 9-10 years (bear in mind Carnival is diesel engine only)
  • 9-10 years of ownership would mean crossing the 2 lac mark on the odo. It's not about raking up the miles, but how the car rakes them up. E.g. I don't like the condition of my friends Scorpio that just crossed 2lac kms. He is as devoted to his cars as me, if not more.
  • The Innova never visited the service centre apart from the mandated scheduled service, can the Carnival approach this in terms of reliability?
  • The Prestige variant in spite of it being the base variant in the Carnival, carries just too many features for my liking. I fear how long will they work without trouble? e.g. imagine the electric motor of Carnival's rear door conking off!
  • My cars are well maintained, but I do put them to hard use, e.g. travelling on cobbled rural roads, no roads, carry heavy load at times, and at the same time expect them to stay rattle free, just like the Innova did.
  • I like an odd-numbered list, but let me add one last point. Servicing a Toyota is a breezy affair. I have 3 Toyotas at the moment, and for each it's just a no-hassle, drop the car and pick up the car at the designated time type of a thing. The whole servicing experience, is generally marked by a level of certainty that I just don't get to experience anywhere else, even across other consumer products and services. I don't expect Kia to be Toyota, but given the concession I am already making, how much more is needed or not needed?

PS: In terms of price, believe it or not, both the Crysta and Carnival are turning out to be as costly to purchase. All things adjusted (e.g. sale of the Innova) I will have an outgo between Rs 18 -19 lakhs, should I pick either.

Finally, before I end, if there is any likelihood of Toyota launching a hybrid Crysta by end of next year, I will postpone this purchase.

Here's what BHPian Shreyas Agarwal had to say on the matter:

Ideally, this should not be an issue with any modern car nowadays. With increasing reliability across brands, I am quite sure that the Carnival would be able to cross the 2L km mark. Albeit, with not as much ease as an Innova would and you might need to keep up with higher maintenance costs coupled with a few out of occasion visits to the ASC but nothing that would be too stressful.

As I mentioned, ideally it would reach there. Also, Carnival is a last generation product (a new one is already on sale worldwide), niggles would have been sorted out by now and you should have more or less a trouble-free experience.

Take the maximum Extended Warranty if you are worried about the gizmos. It will at least mitigate the prospective dent on the wallet if not on peace of mind. Also, apart from the sliding doors, I don't think that there is much tech on the base variant. Manual handbrake, manual tailgate etecetera are the standard fare.

This is the point where I would make the recommendation. Take out your cell phone and call your Toyota dealer for the booking.

Carnival is simply not meant for driving on bad roads and carrying heavy loads. It is only suited for the Tarmac.

Although, on paper, the GC of both cars varies only by 5mm. In reality, the Innova sits much higher. Carnival is a low vehicle with an extremely long wheelbase. You will end up scraping the underbelly of the car sometime or the other.

Rural roads also tend to be quite narrow. Carnival is an extremely wide car. It won't fit in some residential lanes, leave aside rural roads.

Finally the spare wheel. Just a single look at a spare wheel will make you wish that a puncture never happens. Here is an image of the same. It is pretty thin and cannot be used for long. Also, the punctured wheel you take out needs to go in the boot (cannot be put below the 2nd row seat). So if you have a fully loaded boot you are pretty much doomed.

Innova is a body on frame, RWD vehicle and can handle a fair amount of abuse apart from munching highway miles. Carnival is a low, extremely long monocoque FWD vehicle meant to be driven only on smooth tarmac.

If you plan on taking the Carnival through those rural roads, rattles are not your only worry.

Toyota service will always be unmatched, but if the experiences of other BHPians are to go by, they are fairly satisfied.

A Hybrid is coming globally and that's a surety but will that make it to India, especially with hybrids being taxed higher? I am not quite sure.

I would say this again, Carnival is meant only for the highways. If even 20% of your use warrants extremely bad roads like you have mentioned, steer clear of the Carnival.

One more thing "only and Innova can replace an Innova".

Here's what BHPian richie4u had to say on the matter:

My two cents that will either help you or will confuse you further.

Being very close to the brand, owning one Carnival in the family and now having booked a new Crysta, I get where you come from when you have to make such a big decision. It's not every day where you plonk 30 big ones on a car. So coming down to the Carnival, the car has the oomph factor that makes heads turn, it has space that no car in the Indian segment can beat right now - the wheelbase of the Carnival itself is as long as the pseudo compact suv's running around. The car is filled with modern gizmos, sunroofs and the works but that means only one thing, more stuff that can go wrong. Coming down to the parts , although its a 3rd generation vehicle with unlimited kms warranty for 3 years, its a CKD with many parts being have to be imported.Although touchwood our Carnival didn't need any additional visits to the service station apart from the normal service.

As others have pointed out , this is a very good car from home to office on plush tarred roads /highway drives where you don't feel a thing. The suspension is amazingly comfortable being multilink. But keeping all things aside I do not see this as a car that might be able to handle abuse. If you have to take it on non-existing roads then it's a car that you'd have to take as much care as you'd take of a Ferrari when you reach Ladakh. I have taken this car on bad roads, Goan ferry rides and havent managed to scrape it till date but yes I had to drive cautiously with proper attention to what I'm doing. If this is a car that you'll use sparingly then the Carnival can work very well for you.

P.S. The variant that you're looking for is the Second variant and not the base.

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

While I love the Carnival and would buy it for myself over the Innova, for your kind of usage, the body-on-frame Innova Crysta with its tougher build + simpler construction + higher GC + relatively friendlier size is perhaps better suited. The Carnival is also very complex and repairs - when they come up at the 100000+ km mark - will be stupidly expensive. Most of these complex cars start showing some electronic gremlins or the other from the 6th - 8th year onward, even from the best of brands. There is also other stuff to consider like the 8-speed AT etc.

Go for the Innova Crysta. You just can't go wrong with an Innova.

It's still the best MPV IMHO, but Toyota did a "Honda" in terms of cost cutting as well as raising prices . Unlike the Honda City though, the Innova still has no real competition and seriously high customer loyalty with owners who will only replace an Innova with another Innova.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Got BHP?