A drifting Innova?

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February 19

When it comes to car-like driving dynamics in a non-monocoque MPV, there is very little to touch the Innova. You can take it to triple digit speeds and cruise all day or even take it to the ghats without breaking a sweat. In fact there is very little to complain about the Innova’s ride and handling characteristics until you try out the suspension upgrades available for the MPV.

One such upgrade option comes in the form of Tein dampers fitted on this Toyota Innova by Red Rooster Performance. The green dampers at the rear are a sure giveaway of its sporting pretentions. But it’s not until you drive it, that you know there was something so good. Having retained the original 15 inch wheels, we could tell how much of an improvement the ride was compared to the original. Manhole covers and ruts are soaked with ease with barely a thud being passed on to the cabin. Even larger bumps are dealt with better compliance and the rebounds are well controlled too. On a broken road, this translates into far less bobbing motion and reduced passenger fatigue.

The handling has seen massive improvements too. Turn in is crisper, and post turn the front end feels even better glued to the ground. The body roll has been minimized to a great extent and so has the pitching. On a reducing radius corner, the Innova clinged on to its line with a new found stability. Although there were no upgrades in the braking department, braking felt stronger and more surefooted. This could possibly be due to the reduced dive at the front end, making a better use of the rear brakes as well. These ‘tailor made for Innova’ Tein dampers work so well that you wish the Innova could do with a few more horses.

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And that is what the Spider Tuning box has done – release a few extra horses that Toyota had put to sleep, at the factory level. Although we didn’t time the Innova with our Racelogic, one could immediately tell that this Innova feels eager and more responsive. The turbo comes alive a wee bit earlier and stays in optimum boost for a little longer.The extra power can easily get the rear wheels spinning for a momentary power slide and the new found agility helps you stay in command of the slide with a timely opposite lock. We are not discussing MUV driving any more, are we?

Get the turbo on boost and it is a different story altogether. The car accelerates forward in proper tuned car fashion. There is no let up in power till 5500rpm and though most enthusiasts complain about the rev limit being lower on turbocharged cars, but there is no denying they are fast in every gear. This particular Laura sounds rorty thanks to its uprated Miltek exhaust system I got to throw around Ketan’s car on the same twisty bits where I did the Honda BRV that morning. Not only could I carry almost double the speed through a follow through, it still felt like child’s play in the Laura. The combination of good grippy tyres and the Bilstein B14 coilovers is hard to beat in the corners. Yes, these track focussed coilovers are a bit stiff for daily use, but it offers supercar levels of grip in the corners. The chassis feels even tighter thanks to Eibach antiroll bars and polyurethane bushes all around. And the Tarox G88 brakes with Strada pads are so confidence inspiring, you soon forget you are doing silly speeds all the time.

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