Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has unveiled the new Alphard and Vellfire in Japan, with new tech that goes underneath the boxy silhouette. Being their flagship minivans (“mini” is an understatement), they offer the ultimate luxury on wheels that would put a few European limos to shame.
|Name||Toyota Alphard / Vellfire 2.5||Toyota Alphard / Vellfire 3.5||Toyota Alphard / Vellfire 2.5 Hybrid|
|Engine||2,493 cc 4-cylinder||3,456 cc V6||2,493 cc 4-cylinder + electric motors|
|Transmission||7-speed Sports Sequential Shiftmatic and Super CVT-i||6 -speed Sequential Shiftmatic with 6 Super ECT||6-speed Sequential Shiftmatic|
|Max Power||180 hp @ 6,000 rpm||276 hp @ 6,200 rpm||150 hp @ 5,700 rpm (194 hp combined)|
|Max Torque||235 Nm @ 4,100 rpm||344 Nm @ 4,700 rpm||205 Nm @ 4,400 – 4,800 rpm|
Looking like a mean pair of robot twins out of a Manga, both the Alphard and Vellfire share the same boxy body but with their own individual faces. Toyota says that the Alphard exterior emphasizes luxury, while the Vellfire exterior emphasizes boldness. Either one, both should have no problems scaring little kids with their over-sized chrome grille.
Even in their basic guise, both of them wear a more prominent nose than before. On the Alphard the grille stretches all the way down to the bumper, while the Vellfire dons a unique horizontal multi-bar grille with split headlamps up front.
Some surfacing work has been done on the side to add a bit of depth to the otherwise flat side profile, and there’s a floating B-pillar as seen on the Citroen DS3.
A strip of chrome runs on top of the side windows from the B-pillar rearwards to the integrated rear spoiler. In the typical Japanese style, the styling customisation with the optional styling packages are endless, you can add more chrome and LEDs to your heart’s content and the TRD styling package offers up to six chrome-tipped rectangular tailpipes. Yes, six.
The Smart Entry & Push Start System with the new Welcome Power Slide Door & Reservation Lock function is really smart, it can detect the a person and automatically open the sliding door without any physical contact at all. That certainly beats waving your foot at the back bumper to open the boot!
The interior can be specified with either seven or eight seats, depending on which variant. Opt for the seven-seat variant and you’ll get two individual thrones on the second row as opposed to the normal bench if you choose the eight-seat variant. The third row seats can be folded up against the side for more cargo area, and the front passenger seat called the “super-long-slide passenger seat” (seriously) can even slide all the way back to the second row to create a legroom fit for Shaquille O’Neal.
Toyota claimed that the 1,400 mm interior height is maintained from the predecessor so head room shouldn’t be an issue here. Below the third row seat sliding mechanism is a lidded 148 liter cargo space, which is said to be the world’s first under floor storage with such capacity.
Creature comforts aplenty inside, buyers can specify with leather upholstery, JBL premium sound system, pop-down 12.1-inch screen for the rear passengers, and ambient LED roof lighting with up to 16 colour variations so you can create your own party inside the vehicle.
The Alphard and Vellfire can be had in three engine options: a 2.5-litre, a 3.5-litre V6, or a 2.5-litre Hybrid. The 2.5-litre engine develops 180 hp and 235 Nm of torque, while the 3.5-litre V6 produces 276 hp and 344 Nm of torque. In the Hybrid, the 2.5-litre internal combustion engine delivers 150 hp and 205 Nm of torque, but there’s the additional 105 kW electric motor at the front and another 50 kW electric motor at the back. Combined together they deliver a total of 194 hp.
The 2.5-litre is mated to a seven-speed Sports Sequential Shiftmatic and Super CVT-i with optional Stop/Start System, the 2.5-litre Hybrid is paired with a six-speed Sequential Shiftmatic and E-Four (electric four-wheel drive system), and the 3.5-litre V6 uses a six-speed Sequential Shiftmatic with 6 Super ECT.
Piloting a huge vehicle can be quite challenging, but the Alphard and Vellfire feature a Panoramic View Monitor, allowing the driver to see what’s going on around the vehicle. Intelligent Parking Assist will take care of the parking tasks, and it can even reverse-park into a parking bay.
The Alphard and Vellfire can be fitted with the Intelligent Clearance Sonar. It utilises eight sensors and helps to avoid low-speed collision against walls or objects. There’s also the Pre-collision System that uses millimeter wave radar to detect vehicles and obstacles ahead that works with the automatic pre-collision brake assist and pre-collision brakes to prevent an imminent crash.
Both the Alphard and Vellfire are now sale in Japan with prices starting from ¥ 3,197,782 for the 2.5-litre X variant, all the way up to ¥ 7,036,691 for the 2.5-litre Hybrid Executive Lounge variant. TMC is targeting a monthly sales of 3,000 units for the Alphard, and 4,000 units for the Vellfire.
Here in Malaysia, we have the Alphard officially brought in from Japan by UMW Toyota Motor and it retails from RM 338,000. While there’s no doubting that we’ll be seeing the new Alphard and Vellfire pretty soon on Malaysian roads brought in by the grey importers, will UMW Toyota Motor bring them officially as well? Only time will tell.