In 2008, we bought a brand new Toyota Innova. The Innova is one of Toyota’s “Asian utility vehicles” (AUV), along with the Fortuner. The Innova is not available in developed country markets, but is very popular in the developing world. It can carry seven persons and has a very economical 2.5 liter diesel engine. We liked the Innova because it was not as hard riding as some of its competitors, especially the Izuzu Crosswind. We have had very good luck with our Innova except for one problem.
Not long after we bought the Innova, we bought our property and built a house. The property was at the end of a dirt road. Had we known what we know today we would have bought a vehicle better suited to rough roads, perhaps a four wheel drive vehicle. Our Innova does fine getting in and out on our road during the dry season, but our road really goes downhill during the rainy season. Basically, we were trapped at home during the worst weather.
We considered various options; buying a 4WD multi-cab in addition to the Innova and of course trading in the Innova on another vehicle more suited to traversing mud holes. We hesitated pulling the trigger on these options because we liked our Innova and we did not want to spend more money. For most of the year our Innova was fine for our purposes.
So we bought four new Bridgestone Dueler H/T tires for about P4,100 each, thinking that this would be a worthwhile and economical alternative to a new vehicle — if it helped. Besides, our Innova had 30,000 km on the odometer so buying new tires made sense.
The upshot is that the small increase in clearance was a help but not really a solution. We recommend this small step to any Innova owner who finds lack of ground clearance to be a problem. We have not noticed any negatives such as wheel well clearance, even on tight turns. We did consider going one size larger, 205/75/15” but did hear reports that these can cause clearance problems. The Innova just does not really have enough wheel well clearance for bigger wheels or tires.
Ultimately, we decided to sell our Innova and buy a 2008 Kia Sorento which has more ground clearance and four wheel drive. We further increased the ground clearance by installing a Daystar 2 1/2″ lift kit. Now we can go in and out of our house under virtually any conditions. We sleep better knowing that in case of a medical or other emergency we can get out.
For those of you living on better roads, an Isuzu Crosswind might be a better choice than an Innova. It comes with bigger tires and more ground clearance. The Innova, otherwise and excellent vehicle, can have ground clearance problems even on Iloilo’s rough city roads.