Toyota has launched the new Alphard and Vellfire luxury MPVs in Japan. The Alphard and its sportier Vellfire twin are Toyota’s top-of-the-line people movers in Japan and South-East Asia, where “minivans” are still widely used for family transportation and VIP shuttles.
The Alphard, a luxury-focused people mover, and the Vellfire marketed as a sportier twin, both feature the newest engines and technologies from Toyota for its fourth and third generation, respectively. Both MPVs are built on the GA-K version of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA).
The new models have more internal room than their predecessors, but they are still less than 5,000mm long and 1,850mm wide to fit within the parameters of Japan’s automated, machine-operated car-park stackers in its major cities. Inside, the driving position has been relocated, the second-row seats have been redesigned, and the trim around the doors and third-row seats has been made slimmer in order to create greater interior space.
All Alphard and Vellfire variants appear to be 7-seaters, with two front seats, two individual business class flight-style middle seats, and three seating positions in the last row. In previous generations, the lighting, various switches, and air conditioning vents were distributed along both sides of the ceiling; however, Toyota has now created the Super-Long Overhead Console and centralized these components in the ceiling’s middle.
Depending on the trim, the interior comes in either black, camel brown, or beige color. Highlights include a panoramic sunroof, window sunshades, retractable side steps to make getting in and out easier, and second-row seats that were rebuilt to be more comfortable. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a large 14-inch touchscreen, and components from the new Toyota Crown line of luxury sedans and SUVs offered in Japan are all visible upfront. Power-adjustable seats with heating and cooling features are available in the second row.
Under the hood, the Alphard gets 2AR-FE 2.5L naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine with 180 hp and 235 Nm coupled with either front- or all-wheel drive and a Super CVT-i gearbox. The Alphard’s second engine option is a series-parallel hybrid powered by a Dynamic Force A25A-FXS 2.5L NA four-cylinder engine with 188 hp and 236 Nm. The engine is augmented by a 5Nm electric motor with 180 hp and 270 Nm for a total system output of 247 hp. An electronic E-CVT gearbox is used for the hybrid system, which can be with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (E-four), which adds a 4Nm electric motor at the rear, rated at 54 hp and 121 Nm. The hybrid’s electric motors are connected to a 5Ah nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery.
The base variants of the sporty Vellfire get the same hybrid setup but the Vellfire is also available with a 2.4L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine developing 275hp and 430Nm with front- or all-wheel drive, and an 8-speed automatic transmission. Toyota says the 2.4L turbo engine has been “tuned to deliver a sporty sound”, and the “accelerator pedal stroke has been shortened”. Exclusive to the Vellfire is a front chassis brace connecting the radiator support and side members for “added body rigidity”.
Both the MPVs get driver assistance in the form of the Toyota Safety Sense suite includes things like autonomous emergency braking and some features highlighted by the carmaker. These are Proactive Driving Assist which predicts driver inputs and adjusts the steering counterforce to provide support for smoother driving (Intra-Lane Steering Assist) as well as providing assistance for early vehicle deceleration, enabling the driver to turn left or right with greater ease (Deceleration Assist when Turning at Intersections).
Also available is the advanced safety feature called the Toyota Teammate semi-autonomous driving system, which allows the driver to take their hands off the steering wheel and let the car accelerate, steer and brake the car within its lane, as long as their eyes remain on the road, the vehicle is in heavy traffic, traveling at less than 40km/h.
Prices for the Toyota Alphard variants range from 5.4 million to 8.72 million yen (PKR 1 crore 9.47 lac to PKR 1 crore 76.78 lac), while the Vellfire is between 6.55 million and 8.92 million yen (PKR 1 crore 32.7 lac and PKR 1 crore 80.83 lac).
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com