Recently given their respective upgrades, Tata's Aria and Toyota's Innova have a lot to gain or lose in this ever so competitive MUV segment. We therefore take a dig at the Toyota Innova which has been in fact the best seller in its segment with Tata Aria to predict which one works the best for you and why?
The Innova has been a runaway success from the time it was launched in 2004-05. In fact at the time of its introduction, it had replaced yet another star performer, Qualis, which had done quite well the Japanese automaker. This just goes to show Toyota's legacy which has grown year on year on the Indian consumer whereas the Aria which is a home grown product aims to provide a modern adaption to word ‘MUV'.
Both with their respective facelifts are more up to date than before. Tata Aria as mentioned earlier was the most recent one out of the two to be given a cosmetic upgrade. This is evident from its exterior enhancement which includes blacked out headlamps, new body decals and crystal clear tail lights apart from these there are no other significant changes. However in the case of Toyota Innova, the front fascia is more pronounced that before especially due to the chrome highlighted front grille that stands out the most along with elements such as refreshed head lamps, bumper, while the rear brings together an elegant looking tail gate comprising of a bit of chrome and indicator inserts to mention the specifics. Like the Aria, this one to offers decals on the sides.
When compared just on aesthetics, Tata Aria is more radical looking out of the two with its masculine and curvaceous design which has over the years attracted many. Meanwhile Toyota Innova stamps its supremacy with a decade old design that still manages to catch the imagination of most of customers looking to buy an nice MUV for themselves.
This is one area where in comparing interior dynamics tend to take a complete turn. As users we tend to spend a whole lot of time in our vehicles, especially in metropolitan cities where traffic snarls are a regular affair. Therefore over the year's ergonomics have started to make a whole lot of difference while choosing a right fit for your needs. To begin, the Innova provides dual tone interiors in the form of beige and grey combination while the Aria comes in black and maroon. A stark difference, well the quality of plastics, fit and finish on board the Innova is far more superior then that on the Aria.
Centre consoles are distinctive when it comes to the two of them, as the Toyota caters to a touch screen music system with facilities such as USB Port, AUX-in and Bluetooth connectivity; while this particular Tata now comes with a colour display unlike earlier with USB, AUX-in & Bluetooth. Having said this, music streaming through Bluetooth is only possible in the Innova and not in Aria. There are steering mounted controls on both these machines but the one on Tata is a bit flimsy as buttons tend to get pressed at the time of manoeuvring the vehicle.
While comparing comfort, Toyota's Innova comes out on top due to its bucket seats that offer ample under thigh support along with great head, shoulder and legroom. No wonder why this MUV is a hit among consumers, Tata Aria on the other hand is not way far behind as it too offers comfort with the middle and last row featuring full length seats.
Lack of under thigh support does dampen the experience to a certain extent. A unique and a well thought feature for storage in the form of 7 spectacle holders adorn the roofline of Aria, while the Innova has umpteen amount of cup holders throughout its cabin.
Engine and Performance
Now it really gets interesting as both of them competing against one another have a slight variation in their respective power plants that propel their wheels. Tata Aria having a Gross Weight of 2.8 tonnes features a 2.2 litre Varicor turbocharged diesel engine, whereas the Toyota Innova provides 2.3 tonnes with a 2.5 litre common rail diesel engine. By now its clear that in sheer figures the Innova looks to be more powerful out of the two, however digging deeper below the skin Tata Aria develops more power as it provides 148 bhp with 320 Nm of torque. While the Innova churns out 100 bhp with 200 Nm of torque. The power to weight ratio with special reference to the four wheel drive system does make the Aria a bit bulky and unstable at times but in a straight line it can go the distance. Since Innova is rear wheel drive, manoeuvring it is a swift affair within the city as well as the highway.
There is a 5 speed manual transmission on board the Innova that does well to provide smooth shifts while Aria's Synchromesh gear box with features like Overdrive and Torque Demand 4X4 allows it do a fair bit of off roading with a decent gearbox. Ride on both these MUV's is at power with one another as they can easily soak in all the jolts of potholes and broken roads with ease. On high speeds the Aria feels a bit nerve wreaking due to its greater amount of body roll in comparison to the Innova which feels better planted out of the two.
On the whole, if you are the types who likes an aggressive design clubbed with masculinity printed all over it then the Tata Aria seems to a better fit as it also offers one the option of doing a fair bit of off roading. Otherwise if you aren't this kind but still would like something that is a bit more subtle and stylish then Toyota Innova is the one to go in for as it tried and tested with a long standing history of being a best seller in its segment.