Is the Toyota Innova going unibody a step in the right direction?

Here are some pros and cons to consider
by Drei Laurel | Nov 23, 2022
Image of the Toyota Innova
PHOTO: Toyota
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So, the all-new Toyota Innova’s taken over the internet. With a rugged new look and cleaner powertrain options, things are looking good for the model.

Perhaps the biggest change, though, is the nameplate’s shift from a ladder-on-frame chassis to Toyota’s TNGA-C platform.

TNGA-C? What’s that?

That’s an acronym for Toyota New Global Architecture—the same chassis the likes of the Corolla Altis and Corolla Cross are built around. Essentially, the Innova is going unibody, which means comparisons to Hilux and Fortuner should be dead and buried by the time the next-generation Innova rolls out.

Is the shift even really necessary?

One can argue that no, it isn’t. You can say, however, that a unibody platform suits an MPV like the Toyota Innova better than a ladder-on-frame chassis for a number of reasons.

Okay. Such as?

Unibody vehicles tend to have lighter handling dynamics and a better ride. The latter quality is something anyone who’s ever ridden on both platforms can attest to. The former, meanwhile, is more suited for family-oriented vehicles like the Innova which will mainly be used in the city.

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The downside is that ladder-on-frame models tend to have the upper hand when it comes to off-road situations. But who’s taking their Innova off the beaten path anyway? And while ladder-on-frame vehicles have a reputation for better ground clearance, the all-new Innova’s 185mm is actually slightly higher than the current generation’s.

Anything else?

While we have yet to get a clear picture of what safety features will be rolled out in the Philippines, the shift to a unibody chassis should already be a major consideration for buyers who put a premium on passenger wellbeing.

Unibody models are more rigid than their ladder-on-frame counterparts. Not only that, but they also have better crumple zone integration in their designs. In a unibody vehicle, the entire frame is able to help absorb the impact in a crash, resulting in better passenger protection.

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That said, owners of the all-new Innova can expect higher repair costs following collisions that damage the chassis.

Looking good. I think I’m excited.

It gets better. Unibody builds are usually lighter than their ladder-on-frame counterparts. This means the all-new Toyota Innova may see improved fuel economy figures and better hauling capability as well.

Of course, all this is speculative until we get our hands on the thing. So far, though, we think this is a step in the right direction. Do you agree?

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PHOTO: Toyota
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