- Published: Friday, 12 June 2015 12:17
SINGAPORE - Those who like to go large, and perhaps live large, can rejoice. Toyota and dealer Borneo Motors are officially lanching the new Alphard and Vellfire MPVs today - although the cars have been on showroom display for some time.
This launch marks the first official sales for the Vellfire (pictured above in black) in Singapore, with the Alphard being offered by Borneo since 2012, pictured below in silver. Both models are essentially the same, mechanically, but differ in frontal appearance: The Alphard has the huge, cow-catcher style vertical grille with larger headlight clusters, as well as an obvious Toyota ‘spindle’ shape, with the wide, lower air intake. In contrast, the Vellfire’s face is much more horizontally-oriented, with thinner two-piece headlamp units.
The two big MPVs are part of a unique Japanese segment of huge, multi-seat people movers, and the competitors include the Nissan Elgrand and Mitsubishi Delica. These machines typically include a second row with dual reclining seats (‘Ottoman’ style) and a third row with room for three.
The third-gen Alphard and Vellfire have that exact seating configuration, with the middle row of seats featuring armrests, reclining seat backs and extendable foot rests.
The twins are also significantly updated, with revised chassis, suspension and a new engine. A new 178bhp 2.5-litre engine (as found in the face-lifted Camry 2.5) replaces the old, 170bhp 2.4-litre unit. It comes with variable length air intakes, cold air intakes (for better emissions performance) and a start-stop system too. The rear suspension is a newly designed double-wishbone unit.
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Such updates show the need for improved efficiency, especially in large, luxurious vehicles such as these. At 4,915mm long, 1,850mm wide and 1,895mm tall, both MPVs are amongst the largest around, and have kerb weights of 2,025kg (Alphard Standard), 2,075kg (Alphard Elegance) and 2,075kg (Vellfire Elegance).
Toyota says the wheelbase is 50mm longer, while the front and rear track are widened by 20mm and 35mm respectively for even more interior room.
Performance figures are identical, with 0-100km/h achieved in 11.3 seconds, top whack of 170km/h, fuel consumption of 8.6L/100km and CO2 emissions of 200g/km.
The Alphard comes in two trim levels, Standard and Elegance, while the Vellfire has one trim level, Elegance, which is identical to the Alphard Elegance’s spec. The Alphard only comes with a beige interior ‘Flaxen’, while the Vellfire’s is black.
The Standard model's interior in 'flaxen' with manual second row Ottoman seats.
The Standard model has keyless entry, LED head and taillamps, auto headlamps, auto fold mirrors, halogen fog lamps, leather seats, second row manual Ottoman
seats, a touch-screen infotainment system and a fold-down rear entertainment screen. There’s also an interior light-bar which has 16 different, selectable colours (see below).
Elegance models receive LED cornering lights/ fog lights/ daytime running lights, cruise control, auto dimming mirrors, powered front and second row seats, a moonroof, NanoE air purifier and automatic wipers.
The Vellfire Elegance with its black interior and electric second row thrones.
The Standard model retails for $221,888 with COE, while the Elegance Alphard and Vellfire go for the same price, $229,888 with COE.
There’s no direct European competition as yet, although size wise, passenger versions of the Mercedes-Benz Viano and Volkswagen Transporter are also possible contenders, along with the Hyundai Starex, although none of these play up the luxury angle as much.
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Toyota touts a high level of safety equipment including seven airbags, whiplash-lessening front seats and parking sensors. ABS, traction control, vehicle stability and electric power steering systems are integrated together in what Toyota calls Steering-assisted Vehicle Stability Control (S-VSC).