What is ‘Innova Spotting’ and why is it trending?

Published May 7, 2021, 11:29 AM

by Inigo Roces

A Nissan 370Z Nismo with an Innova in the background.

There are a lot car enthusiasts out there and easily one of the simplest joys is snapping a photo of an exotic car when out on the road. There’s no shortage of photos of Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens out there.

Yet while trying to get a snap of the latest sports car, many of these enthusiasts have also caught something else photobombing in frame, the Toyota Innova.

The current Toyota Innova

The Toyota Innova is the country’s No. 1 selling multi-passenger vehicle (MPV) for several years in a row now. Because of its reliability, flexibility for family and business use, as well as agreeable price, it’s no surprise there are so many on the road. It’s one of the few vehicles that is still assembled in the Philippines and has been key to Toyota securing the No. 1 slots among brands for many decades now.

Suzuki V-Strom 1050 XT

As such, it has unintentionally become the latest meme among Pinoy car enthusiasts. The Facebook group, Innova Spotting PH, was recently put up and is steadily gaining a large following. The objective is to post a photo of an exotic or interesting car with an Innova also somewhere in the background. It has become a sort of game, similar to the old Punchbuggy car game, where kids entertain themselves in the car by calling out every Volkswagen Beetle they spot.

Peugeot 208 GTI

In many cases, the Innova is easy to spot in the background. Other photos pose more of a challenge. Rather than showing the Innova’s distinctive headlights or tail lights, only its roofline or windows are visible.

Besides photos, members have also submitted memes comparing the Innova to one of the Impostors in the popular mobile game, Among Us. Another has posted a capcha (a test to determine if a user is a human or robot to access a secure part of a website), which naturally contains multiple Innovas.

Nissan GT-R

On the surface, it may seem like the group is making fun of the venerable Toyota Innova. However, the comments and posts actually celebrate the ubiquity of the vehicle, highlighting how it is an essential part of Filipino automotive culture.

BMW X4 M Sport

If you enjoy taking photos of exotic cars you see on the road, take a closer look at a few of them. You might be surprised to find an Innova lurking in the background. Can you spot the Innova yourself in some of these?