For years, the Toyota Innova had the MPV market all to itself. But the new decade sees its closest and most serious competitor yet. It's not from Isuzu or Mitsubishi, though. This time, the Innova's challenger hails from China with the Geely Okavango.
But hold up, isn't the Okavango a crossover? After all, it has the clearance and the appearance of one. However, the folks at Geely Philippines insist that it is, indeed, an MPV. The design and approach of Geely and Toyota when it comes to MPV greatly differ, but they have one purpose in mind: carry seven (or eight) people in comfort while delivering good fuel economy and loads of cargo space. These two aim to be the only vehicles you'll ever need.
But how do their specs match up? Let's run the numbers on the Toyota Innova and Geely Okavango.
Roll out the tape
If you park the Okavango beside the Innova, you might notice the size difference. That's because the Geely is larger than the Toyota in terms of dimensions. The Okavango is 4,835 mm long, 1,900 mm wide, 1,785 mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,815 mm. Meanwhile, the Innova is 4,735 mm long, 1830 mm wide, 1,795 mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,750 mm.
All in all, that makes the Innova 100 mm shorter and 70 mm narrower than the Okavango, and its wheelbase 65 mm less than its latest competitor. That said, the Toyota is taller than the Geely by 10 mm. While size can be an advantage, you'll have to squeeze in the Okavango in tight parking spaces, so it's something to keep in mind.
Going over bumps
Our roads aren't the best, so ground clearance can make or break a sale. In this case, it's the Okavango that has the advantage here. It stands 194 mm (7.6 inches) off the ground, whereas the Innova is at 178 mm (7.0 inches). The Okavango can give you a little more peace of mind when you see a flood, but the Innova counters that with its old-school body-on-frame construction. And because the Innova shares the same frame as the Hilux and Innova, you know it can take a beating. That's not to say the Geely can't handle the abuse. The Okavango uses a more modern unibody construction. Again, two very different models with the same purpose.
These two MPVs differ vastly under the hood too. Geely opted for gas power in the Okavango while Toyota ditched that for an all-diesel line-up. Each of these MPVs has its advantages. For instance, the Okavango's 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder is good for 190 PS, which is 16 PS more than the Innova. However, the Innova fights back when it comes to torque as its 2.8-liter turbodiesel packs 360 Nm. That's a significant 80 Nm more than the Geely.
The Innova also gives you an option of a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. However, note that the power output for manual-equipped Innovas is at 170 PS and 343 Nm. As for the Geely, the only choice here is a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Every drop counts
Despite having different engines, it's a dead heat when it comes to fuel economy between the two. We've tested both models and returned nearly 9.0 kilometers per liter (8.8 for Okavango, 9.0 for Innova) in city driving, and 15 kilometers per liter on the highway. But that's not where the story ends. Both may be efficient, but which one has a longer range?
That nod has to go to the Innova thanks to its 65-liter fuel tank. That gives the Innova a theoretical range of 975 kilometers at an average of 15 kilometers per liter. At the same fuel economy, the Okavango drains its 52-liter tank after 780 kilometers.
All the space you'll need?
Now for the all-important question of space. Starting with the Innova, it has a minimum cargo capacity of 300 liters. There are approximately 800 liters available behind the second-row of the Innova, and its total capacity is 1,800 liters. Those are impressive figures and even more than some mid-sized SUVs.
The Geely on the other hand has 257 liters with all three rows of seats up. It doesn't sound like a lot but the Okavango claws back points once you start folding the seats. Flip the second-row down and you're looking at 1,200 liters. Fold all of the seats and the Okavango offers up to 2,050 liters of cargo space.
The stark difference in cargo volume is because of the way the third-row seats are stowed. The Innova sticks to an older design that requires you to flip the seats sideways and latch them onto the pillar. The benefit here is a lower, wider floor but it eats up vertical space. The Okavango's fold-down third-row is a more space-efficient design, but it results in a higher cargo floor.
Surprise and delight
When it comes to features, the Okavango edges out the Innova. It has a digital instrument cluster, LED headlights, three individual middle-row seats, a drive mode selector, stability control, and six airbags standard across the range. Go for the top-spec Urban Plus and you gain a massive panoramic sunroof, a comprehensive digital dashboard, and adaptive headlights.
But that's not to say the Innova lags. All variants are equipped with stability control and knee airbags. It also benefits from Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto on most models.
But when it comes to variety, the Innova trounces the Okavango. There are six variants to choose from in the Innova. These include the J 2.8 M/T, E 2.8 M/T, E 2.8 A/T, G 2.8 M/T, G 2.8 A/T, and V 2.8 A/T. Mind you, the list was twice as long before the facelift as that that included the 2.0-liter gas models.
Listed below are the prices for the 2021 Toyota Innova:
Innova J M/T: PHP 1,186,000
Innova E M/T: PHP 1,285,000
Innova E A/T: PHP 1,355,000
Innova G M/T: PHP 1,522,000
Innova G A/T: PHP 1,592,000
Innova V A/T: PHP 1,739,000
On to the Okavango and there are just three variants available. These are the Comfort (base), Urban (mid), and the Urban Plus (top). While it's half of the Innova's range, they are all within Toyota's price range.
Listed below are the prices for the 2021 Geely Okavango:
Okavango Comfort: PHP 1,208,000
Okavango Urban: PHP 1,328,000
Okavango Urban Plus: PHP 1,478,000
Of course, the only way to know which one suits you better is if you take both of them out for a test drive. But as it is, the Okavango gives the Innova a good run for its money. It's larger, offers more space inside, and has better ground clearance. However, the Innova still has a few tricks up its sleeve that can sway buyers towards the Toyota showroom. It has heaps more torque than the Okavango, and it can go further on a single tank of fuel. Not to mention it also uses diesel, which is not available on the Okavango. It's too close to call based on the spec sheets alone, but we reckon you can't go wrong with either.
So, comparison test, anyone?