Practicality and reasonable ground clearance are the reasons why I bought the Innova Crysta, and I'm not disappointed.
I did not like the design of the previous model (2016-2020), especially the face - which looked a little ugly due to the chrome strip. The face of the new model looks much better - with a deeper grille and front bumper. I like the redone design of the fog light housing as well. Overall, the front looks aggressive, while the sides and the back look neat as well.
Toyota likes to play it safe when it comes to colors. I reckon that most people who buy the Innova would go for White/Silver. However, I feel that the car looks cooler in either sparkling black or Garnet red.
The boot space is more than sufficient with the rear seats folded. With both the rear seats up, you can easily fit a carry-on luggage size trolley, and a soft-bag easily. There is no load-lip - which makes it easy to slide heavy items in-and-out of the boot easily. However, you could scratch the bumper while sliding really heavy items, and I would recommend fitting the rear step guard trim to protect the paintwork. You can't fit luggage for a family holiday with all the seven seats up - though it's the same case with the other offerings at this price point. If you're going to need that regularly, you might be better off with the Kia Carnival.
In-car storage is decent with the twin-glove box and spacious door-bins. There are a couple of nifty cup holders on the front dash. The bottle holder in-between the two front seats can hold a litre bottle easily. However, it can't hold coffee-cups/smaller bottles securely. There are a couple of usable cup-holders, between the seats, in the middle-row - in the 7-seater versions.
There are couple of sturdy trays for middle-row passengers on higher variants. However, Toyota could have provided more charging options: one twelve volt socket, and two USB ports were all that I could find.
The seats are very supportive - especially those on the front, and there is enough adjustment on offer. I always felt that the automatic seat adjustment feature was a bit of a gimmick, however, I have grown more used to it now, and I find it very handy. The leather quality, on top variants, is a class above than most after-market stuff. The fabric on arm-rests is a welcome touch.
Moving to the middle row, I would strongly recommend going for the 7-seater variant as the seats offer more support which is useful for longer journeys. The last row is decent by class standards; shorter adults and kids won't have much to complain about. The slopping roof-line, the tight shoulder room, and the limited under-thigh support mean that you can't fit taller adults, or 7 people comfortably.
The AC is really good, and can chill you to the bones even on really hot days. Vents for the middle and the last rows are really useful. The factory fit headlights are good enough, and please do everyone a favour by not fitting brighter ones.
The glass area is generous, and it gives a good view out. Not many people would find the cabin claustrophobic. There is sufficient noise insulation, and that makes longer drives relaxing.
The doors open really wide, which makes it easy to climb in and out. The seats are placed just at the correct height for average adults - a useful feature for elders. One small complaint is that shorter people in saris/dothies will find it difficult to climb into the middle row; Toyota should have given a handy grab-handle to solve this.
Nothing great to write home about. Decent, gets the job done. Sound quality is strictly average. The screen itself is not very intuitive to use. However, you can hook-up your Apple/Android phone - which I assume is what most people are going to do anyway. Wireless charging is provided as an option, and they can keep it with themselves for the cost which they are charging.
The relatively stiff suspension is setup for handling, and hence you can feel the bumps that much more - especially on the 17 inch alloys in the top variants. On the flip-side the stiff suspension and the larger tyres translate to better handling on straight roads and in corners. Body roll and pitch are very well contained/negligible. Is it fun to drive? no - it doesn't hug the road as good Fords would. But, for a large, practical vehicle, it is actually okay.
The steering is light and easy at lower speeds, and weighs up nicely at higher speeds. It is confidence inspiring without being excellent.
The 2.4L diesel packs is punchy, and it makes overtaking easy on two-lane roads. It is not too noisy, and that makes it relaxing to drive - especially at cruising speeds. In town, the strong mid-range means that you could be caught out a little when the turbo kicks in. That shouldn't be a problem once you get used to the engine. The bigger problem is that you may find yourself shifting down more often to stay within the power band - especially in stop/go situations. At cruising speeds, the engine stays at relaxed RPMs - and I did not really miss the 6th gear.
The diesel MT gives decent mileage with a sedate driving style. I managed to eek out 15 Km/l with a mix of city/highway driving. Pedal-to-metal drivers should stay content with single digit figures, though.
The light clutch, and the low biting point make city driving relatively stress-free. The shift is a bit rubbery, and you'll have trouble, initially, finding the slots. Honda and Maruti definitely do a much better job here.
One slight problem is the front and rear visibility. It is difficult to make out the corners of the car - due to the deep dash - and close manoeuvre within town are often a leap of faith. Rearward visibility isn't great either, and you really need the rear-camera given the length of the vehicle.
Buying experience and maintenance
It was positive overall. One drawback of buying an in-demand SUV is that you cant negotiate the price, whatsoever. It is a pay-it or leave-it deal. I had the first free service done, and the experience was stress-free.
One small gripe is the paint quality. While it looks nice, the clear coat gets easily scratched while driving through shrubs/bushes. This is especially bad for a car that has off-roading creds. While most people are going to drive it on roads/highways, this is a problem especially in rural/remote areas, and Toyota must do something about it.
Overall, this is a car good car for families. It is practical, decently powerful, and can get you from A to B, in a relatively relaxed manner. I am very happy with the buy.