We are comparing a Tata and a Toyota, and you might think, “that’s an easy one” – after all, until recently Toyota was the largest car manufacturer in the world. Until recently, Tata Motors hadn’t made a single passenger car. But today’s compare isn’t easy. Today we’ve got the Tata Aria and the Toyota Innova, and the contest is as close as it can possibly get. Also Read - Football: UEFA Denies August 3 Deadline For Champions League Conclusion

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The Innova is the taxi market’s darling, so there’s always the stigma of driving a ‘taxi’ when you buy one, besides the fact of familiarity breeding contempt. However, that van-like design frees up a lot of interior space without occupying much space on the outside, making it very space-efficient. Also Read - Pakistan: Coronavirus Cases Cross 3,000-Mark, Govt Taking Measures to Curtail Its Spread

Looked at sideways, however, the shape screams ‘MPV’ and doesn’t have any visual muscles at all – there’s no high ground clearance, no big wheels and tyres, nothing. I like the tail-lamps, but not too many people will agree with me, I’m sure. The rest of the rear is boxy, again, a practical solution but it leaves visual excitement in the corner, facing the wall. The Innova gets fog lamps on this variant, which is a plus point.

The only signs of relief are the alloy wheels on this top-spec variant; the split-spoke design is very eye-catching. The generous splashes of chrome on the grille and tailgate also contribute to the higher perceived quality.

The Aria’s massive proportions give it commanding presence on the road, and everyone makes way for it. I’ve had not one, but TWO Mumbai BEST bus drivers give the Aria right of way!

It requires those massive proportions to provide the required exterior look and the interior space, and those mirrors are the size of elephant ears – the African ones – but it’s got the look despite the steel wheels. The chunky tyres don’t fill out the wheel arches very well, but that is largely corrected with the bigger alloy wheels on the higher variants.

This is the base variant, but it’s still got the chrome on the grille, around the windows and the embossed strip at the rear and I think that’s very impressive. The rear loses the plot somewhat, what with the requirements for headroom for the third row, but it manages to retain an SUV bent to the design – look ma, twin oval exhaust tips! – and it’s got a more modern look to the Innova’s clean, understated rear.