When my friends and relatives were enjoying their Innovas, I was owning a 2002 Chevy Zafira and 2008 Corolla. They both were uncomfortable cars!
The Zafira was a very, very quiet car, but let down by its harsh ride and heavy steering wheel.
Ironically the Corolla (called Corolla Altis here) is the other way around. The ride is too soft, so it will tend to have body roll at many times and the steering wheel is too light; not good. The cabin has terrible insulation; I mean here in Indonesia, people like to honk, and there are motorcycles passing by fast, so it's extremely important to have a car with a soundproof cabin. Then there's the ride. The Corolla's suspension might be jelly soft, but it's a sedan, so when you take it to suburban/rural areas with terrible roads (we have lots of it here), it will tend to swing in all directions.
Now, my first experience with the Innova was in 2004. At that time the Innova was still a brand new car. Everyone talked about it. It was spacious and it was a Toyota; here in Indonesia, Toyota is like the most popular car manufacturer. You can fix this car almost anywhere you want. Back at the time, I had to travel 2 hours just to fix my Zafira. Then there's the name. In other countries it's simply called Innova. But here, they use the Kijang Innova name, and Kijang is a special name here. The Kijang was the king of MPVs in Indonesia. It beats the sales of everything. To be honest, I didn't quite like it at first, probably because I hate being mainstream.
To sum things up, I've been riding in 6-7 Innovas; 2 of them belong to my relative. 1 of them is diesel (and I prefer the more quiet gasoline). After all these years I began to wonder, could this be the car I've been looking for?
And finally I bought it. It's my first mainstream car. The cars that I owned before: A 90s Mazda, Zafira, 2008 Corolla Altis (the tenth generation pre-facelift Altis was pretty rare, especially the 1.8 J trim without those chrome details). The great thing about owning a mainstream car is that you get more privacy. My previous cars attract a lot of attention and people just love sneaking through the window. With the Innova, I can just sit back and smile in the car without anyone staring at me. Running cost is wonderful! My previous cars were kind of expensive to run (since they're pretty rare), and it was a bit hard to find places to fix them.
As a big fan of classic cars, I find the steering position of the Innova to feel a bit like classic cars, and I love it! And I love how the car doesn't motivate me to drive fast, it tells me to cruise in a relaxing way. The engine is smooth and the gas is not sensitive like my Corolla. It's far, far from what you would call sporty, but yes, that's the kind of car I love to drive. It's like it's all made primarily for comfort. Oh yeah, and it's the only MPV left to use the SUV chassis. That means more comfort on the bad roads. Plus, since 2007, it's getting greener. It gets around 25-27 MPG, not what you call impressive, but it's a big, spacious car, so I guess it's okay.