The King vs The Newcomer: Toyota Innova vs Geely Okavango
By: Selina Tan, for Automart.PH
Filipinos looking for mid-sized multi-purpose vehicles (MPV) with seven or with seats have had little choice for decades. Collectively known internationally as the Toyota Kijang, an MPV/AUV reigned supreme. This same Kijang is what FIlipinos grew up to know as the Toyota Tamaraw FX, Tamaraw FX Revo, and since the mid-2000s, the Toyota Innova.
Times have changed, however, and many other manufacturers, including the Chinese have started to challenge the reign of the Toyota Innova with their versions of the MPV. One said Chinese manufacturer is Geely, offering unprecedented tech and value with its seven seater offering, the Geely Okavango.
Will the newcomer Geely Okavango usurp the Toyota Innova’s crown as the king of the MPVs?
The current generation of the Toyota Innova has been around in the country since early 2016. Since then, minor facelifts have been given to it, but all around, it still retains the familiar looks and features of its initial release model.
Styling is basic, and follows the typical shape of most MPV, meaning minimal use of lines, angles, plus ground clearance just slightly below most body-on-frame SUVs at 178mm.
All but one of the six trims of the Toyota Innova, for example, come standard with halogens headlights. The inclusion of LED headlights, Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), and LED fog lights are only to be found on the top V trim. Alloy rims are not standard, and only start with the E M/T variant, being 16” in size, while only the top V trim gets 17”. Ventilated disc brakes adorn the front wheels, but the rear wheels have to be content with a set of drum brakes.
The Geely Okavango brings style into the picture. The Okavango looks much more modern, sleeker, and more SUV-like despite still being made of a unibody construction compared to the Innova. Ground clearance is slightly higher at 194mm making it about adequate for Manila’s unforgiving roads, and expected floods. Disc brakes are standard front and rear, with the front being ventilated, and the rear solid.
Geely has made use of their ownership of Volvo to bring in some styling cues commonly found only in European vehicles. Case in point would be the top trim Okavango Urban Plus’ half Thor’s Hammer looking LED lights. Speaking of LEDs, all trims of the Okavango feature LED DRLs, headlights, fog lights, and tail lights, and the top trim even features Adaptive Drive Beam (ADB) Matrix LED headlights.
Alloy rims come as standard and start at 17”, going up to 18” for the top two Urban and Urban Plus trims.
Exterior wise, it is an uncontested win for the Geely Okavango.
The Toyota Innova’s interior is comfortable, no fuss, and dare we say, minimalist. You get a choice of Noble Brown or Black fabric, with no options for leather. Conventional instrument dials flank a 4.2” TFT multi-information screen for the top three trims, a DOT type screen for the two succeeding trims, and just dials for the base trim. Steering wheel leather and wood are optional depending on trims, as does a push-button start system (V only), and automatic climate control. Drivers and passengers alike, no matter the trim will have to manually slide and recline their seats as power seat adjustments are unavailable. Cruise control is, likewise unavailable.
The latest update to the Toyota Innova introduces a revamped 7” touchscreen (all but the base trim with a standard 2 DIN setup) for the infotainment system, now with Apple Carplay, Android Auto, and Smart Device Link (SDL). G variants and higher receive a reverse camera displayed on this same screen, and rear parking sensors are also included. Six speakers are available throughout the range, but base model owners will have to enjoy a quad speaker auditory experience.
Second row passengers get an armrest, and tray tables similar to airplanes on some trims. Total seating capacity is at eight, but getting the top V trim brings it down to seven with the deletion of the second row’s middle seat, and is instead replaced with captain seats.
Should you need to carry around cargo at the expense of some passengers, the Toyota Innova can still accommodate your needs. Both the second and third row can be stowed to increase cargo capacity, but it is worth noting that the third row seats suffer from the outdated style of folding seats up and over to the side, thereby limiting the shapes of cargo you can carry. Nonetheless the Innova features a respectable 1128L of space with all seats stowed, 758L with the third row seats stowed, and 300L without any seats stowed.
The Geely Okavango’s interior is premium, and modern. Cruise control and push-button start (alongside a smart remote-start function) is standard, together with a digital instrument cluster, but top trim owners get the benefit of a much crisper fully digital instrument cluster. An electronic gear shifter is present together with drive modes Eco, Comfort, and Sport which can be configured via a rotary knob on the center console. The presence of an electronic parking brake with Auto Brake Hold further clears up the center console.
A 12.3” touchscreen with QDLink (compared to the previous 10”) is a new update for the 2022 model year, and is available no matter the trim, but Apple Carplay and Android Auto remain absent. This same screen gives base model owners a reverse camera, while higher trim owners enjoy a 360 degree view camera with 3D mode. Eight speakers provide a surround sound experience on the top two trims, while, just like the Innova, base model owners only get four.
Imitation leather is available on all except the base model Comfort. Front passengers of the Urban and Urban Plus trims will not need to break a sweat adjusting their seats as the driver gets six-way power adjustments, and the passenger gets four-way power adjustments.
Second row seats are split in a 33/33/33 configuration allowing passengers to have a sensation of having their own seats, thereby reducing claustrophobia. Second row passengers get dual USB ports and their own climate control capping of the third zone of the Okavango’s standard 3-zone climate control. Third row passengers are not forgotten and are provided with air vents too. A panoramic sunroof tops it off and livens up the cabin on the Urban Plus model.
Cargo space wise, the Okavango is very flexible. Second and third row seats can all be folded down, giving a completely flat floor. This setup brings about 2050L of space, while having only the third row folded, and none folded, brings space down to 1200L and 257L respectively.
Interior wise, the Geely Okavango is much more modern, tech-filled, and premium feeling. Cargo space is also almost double that of the Toyota Innova. While the Innova’s interior is still enough to get the job done, the Geely Okavango’s interior simply offers way more.
Safety features for the Toyota Innova include the basics namely three airbags (Driver + Passenger + Driver Knee) for all trims except the top trim which receives seven, anti-lock brakes (ABS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), and Hill Start Assist Control (HAC). Only G variants and up receive a vehicle immobilizer.
The Geely Okavango on the other hand receives the basics above, but also includes the availability for six airbags (except the base trim with only two), Hill Descent Control, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), and an immobilizer as standard.
For the 2022 model year, Toyota has dropped the gasoline variants of the Innova. All Innovas across the lineup are now powered by a 2.8L Diesel engine making 174PS, and 360 Nm mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. A 5-speed manual is also available with the same engine, but it is worth pointing out that manual versions have slightly reduced outputs at 170PS, and 343 Nm of torque.
Fuel economy stands at 9 Km/L in the city, and 16 Km/L on the highway, making it at par with most diesels of the same size and weight in the market.
The Geely Okavango, on the other hand, is only offered with a 1.5L turbocharged gasoline engine with three cylinders and a mild hybrid system called the 48V EMS. This engine coupled with the electric motor pumps out 190PS, and 300 Nm of torque, mated to a seven-speed wet clutch dual clutch transmission.
Thanks to the mild hybrid system, and use of a more modern small displacement engine, despite the Okavango’s size and gasoline power plant, it still manages to do around 7.5 Km/L in the city, and 13.5 Km/L on the highway.
Akin to the inherent nature of diesel engines, the Toyota Innova trumps the Geely Okavango in terms of fuel economy both in the city, and on the highway, but not by much. Once upon a time, diesel fuel was about half the price of gasoline per liter. Today, that is no longer the case. Should we have compared these two back then, the Toyota Innova would have stood a chance, but as of the writing, the Geely Okavango has to take the win without contest.
Price And Options
The Toyota Innova comes in six trims:
- Innova V DSL A/T - P1,764,000 (Add 15,000 for White Pearl Crystal Shine)
- Innova G DSL A/T - P1,617,000 (Add 15,000 for White Pearl Crystal Shine)
- Innova G DSL M/T - P1,547,000 (Add 15,000 for White Pearl Crystal Shine)
- Innova E DSL A/T - P1,370,000
- Innova E DSL M/T - P1,300,000
- Innova J DSL M/T - P1,191,000
The Geely Okavango, meanwhile, comes in three trims:
- Okavango Urban Plus - P1,765,000
- Okavango Urban - P1,633,000
- Okavango Comfort - P1,503,000
The Geely Okavango is generally slightly more expensive when compared to the Toyota Innova, should you not take into consideration the amount of standard features included. The Toyota Innova, does however, benefit from the availability of lower trim options at significantly less prices should features and options not be a priority for you
The Toyota Innova may still be the safe choice due to being tested and proven. The abundance of parts and service technicians available also impart peace of mind for any buyer. As a vehicle bearing the Toyota badge, it also benefits from uncontested resale value.
Despite this, The Okavango is the clear winner in terms of almost all aspects from the exterior and interior styling, safety, technology, as well as value. Should you be part of the adventurous cohort who does not mind owning a vehicle from an unproven, but potential-filled brand, and also has no need for an eighth seat, then the Geely Okavango might be the MPV that, at least in your mind, dethrones the Toyota Innova from being the King of MPVs here in the Philippines.
Are you one to still believe in the supremacy of the Toyota Innova and would love to have one in your garage? Automart.PH is here to cater to your needs. We have multiple used units of the Toyota Innova for sale in various trims and year models on our website, guaranteeing that you will find the right Innova for you. We also offer installments that will make every Innova we have enjoyable, and light on the bank account.
Content Editor Kyle Liong contributed to this story.