When Toyota launched the facelifted Innova a few weeks ago, we noticed something missing in the spec sheet. The folks from Toyota Motor Philippines dropped the option for the gas engine, leaving us only with the 2.8-liter turbodiesel.
Of course we're not complaining. That engine proves to be a perfect match for the popular MPV. But what about those looking for a gas-powered Innova? Why did Toyota drop that option? We rang them for an answer.
To (over)simplify the answer, it's due to lackluster sales. However, there's more to that. According to the automaker, Innova sales comprise a whopping 95 percent in favor of diesel and a mere 5 percent for gas. Now, let's put that into perspective.
Since 2016, Toyota has shifted over 92,000 units of the Innova. While the 2016 figure includes a mix of first and second-generation models, we'll include them in the count since it was launched early that year. If we were to compute five percent of the total (92,091), the gas-powered Innovas accounted for 4,604 units. It may seem like a lot, but it pales to the diesel model's sales at nearly 87,500 units, 87,486 to be exact.
Spread that on an average of five years, and Toyota sells 17,497 diesel Innovas annually. If you use the same math for the gas, it's a measly 920 units per year. You also have to factor in local production. From a business and operations standpoint, it's not worth stockpiling these engines in the plant for less than 1,000 vehicles.
This isn't the first time an automaker ditched variants that didn't perform too well on the sales charts. When Ford was still building the Focus in the Philippines, they launched a 2.0L TDCI turbodiesel option with a 6-speed manual and later a DCT; yes, the Powershift. Eventually they scrapped the turbodiesel because it simply didn't make business sense given the ratio. If we remember correctly, only about 5% of Focus sales at the time were diesel.
So for those who want a gas-powered Innova, perhaps it's time to consider the diesel model. Besides, the power stats speak for themselves. The 2.0-liter gas engine in the Innova made 136 PS and 183 Nm of torque. But the diesel easily trounces it by having 174 PS and 360 Nm of torque in automatic-equipped variants. Then there's the fuel economy. The last gas-fed Innova we tested managed just 6.4 kilometers per liter, while the 2.8-liter diesel did 9.0 kilometers per liter in traffic.
But if you still want a gas-engined Toyota MPV, you still have two options. You can go for the Avanza as the 1.5-liter models come with seven seats as standard. While technically a crossover, the Rush is another one you can consider. With all variants now standard with three-row seating, it's sitting in showrooms waiting for those who miss the gas Innova.