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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

South Africa missing out? Toyota debuts new Alphard and Vellfire

Certain markets outside Japan will get the Vellfire, but not South Africa as a result of not only MPV distain, but also due to the Quantum VX.

Effectively previewed in April by way of sister brand Lexus debuting the LM at the Shanghai Auto Show, Toyota has taken the covers off of the fourth generation Alphard and its sportier offshoot, the Vellfire.

Difference in looks

Vying in the hugely popular upscale MPV segment in Japan as well as the Middle East and certain other Asian markets, the arguably more dramatic looking pair differ from the LM, and also from each other, by way of restyled oversize grille and LED headlights.

ALSO READ: Dramatic new Lexus LM premiers as definition of luxury in a box

In the case of the Alphard, a chrome patterned grille has been opted for, along with chrome fog light surrounds and a split headlight design with the daytime running LEDs being integrated into the grille similar to the Parametric setup employed on the Hyundai Tucson.

New Toyota Alphard and Vellfire revealed
Alphard expected to account for the majority of sales in Japan. Image: Toyota.

The Vellfire meanwhile receives a conventional daytime running setup, but becomes the recipient of horizontal grille slats, a restyled bumper with a chrome lower surrounds and faux air inlets, a sportier rear bumper and unique taillight graphics.

New Toyota Alphard and Vellfire revealed
Vellfire’s rear has seen changes subtly from the Alphard. Image: Toyota.

Both retain the chrome Z-shaped line as part of the window surround though, and like the LM, the same dimensions of 4 995 mm long, 1 945 mm tall and 1 850 mm wide. The wheelbase stretches 3 000 mm, again similar to the Lexus.

Enter luxury

Additionally differing by the choice of alloy wheels, the Alphard and Vellfire conform to what Toyota calls “Forceful x Impact Luxury” philosophy inside as the design has been carried over from the LM, albeit without the option of the four-seat layout and 48-inch HD monitor.

Toyota officially reveals new Alphard and Vellfire
Interior carries over the same look and design as the related Lexus LM. Image: Toyota.

As standard, the three-row configuration offers six or seven seats, the middle row with a pair of captain’s style chairs that can recline in an ottoman fashion, and the third with two or three.

According to Toyota, legroom has been improved by five millimetres in the second row and by 10mm in the third, with design elements carried over from the LM consisting of the overhead climate control vents and outlets, window blinds, dual sliding electric doors, the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and the new 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Toyota officially reveals new Alphard and Vellfire
Seating comes in six or seven guises. Image: Toyota.

Also reserved for the second row in conjunction with the reclining seats are both heating and ventilation functions, massage settings, smartphone-type control console modules and in front, a pair of folding tables.

No more V6

Underpinned by the TNGA-K platform, and further fitted with retuned suspension, a new rear strut brace and in the case of the Vellfire, a so-called Front Performance Brace fitted as a way of improving rigidity, the newcomer will go on-sale in Japan powered by a choice of three engines and two unique trim levels; Z and Executive Lounge in the Alphard and Z Premier and Executive Lounge in the case of the Vellfire.

Starting the engine range off is the hybrid that combines an electric motor with a normally aspirated 2.5-litre petrol for a combined output 132kW/235Nm. A CVT is entrusted with sending the amount of grunt to the front axle.

Toyota officially reveals new Alphard and Vellfire
Second row reclines in ottoman fashion. Image: Toyota.

The secondary option sees the 2.5-litre engine continuing, albeit uprated to produce 140kW/236Nm in front-wheel-drive form.

Available though is a secondary electric motor mounted on the rear axle that bumps output to 184 kW, while also resulting in the Alphard/Vellfire becoming the recipient of the electronic four-wheel-drive or E-Four system.

Toyota officially reveals new Alphard and Vellfire
Besides reclining, the second row also offers heating, ventilation and massaging functions. Image: Toyota.

Replacing the previous 3.5-litre V6, the 2.4-litre turbocharged petrol from the Highlander and Grand Highlander has been allocated solely for the Vellfire with outputs of 205kW/430Nm. An eight-speed automatic gearbox delivers the amount of twist to all four wheels.

For now, the hybrid version of the above mentioned mill, which produces 273 kW, has not been confirmed for either model, although a plug-in hybrid has been approved at a later stage.

Not for us

Now available for ordering in Japan with prices from ¥5 400 000 (R698 374) to ¥8 720 000 (R1 127 746) for the Alphard and from ¥6 550 000 (R847 102) to ¥8 920 000 (R1 153 611) for the Vellfire, only the latter will be exported to select markets, though neither will make it to South Africa as a result of the Granvia known locally as the Quantum VX.

Additional information from carscoops.com and paultan.org.

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