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2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid review: Loll-ing Green Giant

Derryn Wong
06/06/2022

Toyota’s titanic Alphard MPV finally gets hybrid tech – and that only makes its blend of space and comfort more relevant to Singapore


2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid

Launched: May 2022 – Price S$300,888 with COE & VES (May 2022) 
Five-door, extra-large MPV, seven seats
194hp, 2.5-litre, full hybrid, VES B, 6.4L/100km


PROS
Colossal amounts of room 
Second row is properly luxurious
Excellent hybrid system
Still manageable despite size

CONS
Ageing infotainment system and cockpit
More expensive than similar cars




SINGAPORE – The Toyota Alphard has never been small, uncomfortable, cheap, or efficient. Now one of those things has changed in a big way. 

May saw the introduction of the Alphard Hybrid in Singapore for the first time, officially, by dealer Borneo Motors. The petrol-electric model might not be news to some here – the Alphard and its sister model the Vellfire have both been produced as hybrids since the second-generation in 2008, and sold here as grey/parallel imports. 

2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore - front 3/4 low view
The Alphard is undeniably boxy from the front…

The third-gen model went on sale here (also officially) in 2015, and as far as we can tell the car is pretty much the same, looks-wise though the Hybrid model does add some significant features. The grille design is different with a sharper lower lip, and the self-levelling full LED headlamps also have updated styling that blend nicely the grille. 

2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore -rear 3/4 side view
…boxy from the rear…

There’s no difference in platform, and as a result the Alphard remains the same size. In case you’ve forgotten, yes, the Alphard is still a king-sized MPV. It’s five-metres long, 1.9-metres wide, and most importantly 1.85-metres tall, which is the ‘soft limit’ for a car here, so you’ll have to be wary when entering some HDB carparks and older shopping centres. 

2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore - front 3/4 side view
…boxy from the side…

Visually, the essence of the Alphard remains the same: This is a huge, square MPV with an imposing road presence and a grille that looks like a cow-catcher. You either like it or dislike it. If you’re in the latter camp, read on to find out what the fuss is all about.

2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore -top down frontal view
….and boxy from the top too.

New jolt: The Alphard’s hybrid system

2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore - grille close up
Blue badge = hybrid

Under the bonnet is a Toyota full hybrid system similar to that found in the RAV4 Hybrid, the main motivator being a familiar 2.5-litre inline four-cylinder engine. The difference here is that the Alphard is one of the first official Toyotas here to pack ‘E-Four’, which is the brand’s hybrid all-wheel drive (AWD) system.



2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore - E-Four Hybrid badge

An additional electric motor drives the rear axle when needed, giving the Alphard AWD capability. It’s not a major plus point on Singapore’s roads, but it could come in handy on trips up North, and it doesn’t add much to fuel consumption unlike a conventional AWD system.

The Alphard Hybrid offers no surprises from behind the wheel. While it’s a sizable car, the Toyota-ness (for lack of a better term) means it’s actually quite easy to drive. 

2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore - cockpit interior

You step up and into the seat, for an elevated, van-like seating position, and the Alphard’s tall windows, split A-pillars, and short nose deliver a straightforward driving experience. 

There’s the usual smattering of buttons (EV Mode, Eco mode) but you can safely ignore them and drive as normal. The hybrid system is Toyota-smooth, and still amongst the best on the market. Long highway runs move the need down towards 7.0L/100km, not quite the quoted 6.7L/100km, but close enough. Mixed town/highway driving for normal folk will probably see 8.0 to 9.0L/100km, which is excellent performance for a vehicle of this stature. 


Here’s a video CarBuyer produced with Toyota Singapore. It’s sponsored yes, but it does explain how hybrids work and why they’re common sensical in Singapore

The refinement is good though not excellent. It’s quiet unless you’re going too fast, and it does get a little crashy over small corrugations. Like many MPVs, the sheer acreage of glass and metal means it’s hard to control vibrations and noise, but the Alphard does a good job of it. 

2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore - electronic rear mirror

One novel addition is the electronic rear view mirror. As seen in the Land Rover Defender and Lexus NX, it’s a boon in a car this long and with a three-person third-row bench, and helps add a lot to the driver’s situational awareness. Adding to that is a bunch of new safety systems: blind spot monitoring, lane keeping/lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and autonomous emergency braking. 

2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore - infotainment

The infotainment system makes the car easier to drive, though for the wrong reason. It’s the same touchscreen unit we remember from 2015 and best considered a relic – there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and it’s barely legible in sunlight so you’ll be inclined to ignore it, unlike modern systems with their fancy graphics and phone-like engagement. If you must have modern features, a good aftermarket unit would be an improvement. 

Jack Palance : The Alphard’s best feature

But the cockpit features and driving experience aren’t really what the Alphard is about. In fact, it’s not even about moving seven people – but two. 

Entry is easy, thanks to dual-sliding doors, and the Alphard’s height: Step up, stoop a little and sink into a surfeit of space. 

2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore - Captain chair second row seats recline ottoman
Luke is CarBuyer’s longest member at 1.83-metres tall and he still has a surfeit of room

The Alphard’s second row features dual captain-style chairs with electrically-adjustable backrests and footrests. This is nothing new, since competitors like the Kia Carnival and Hyundai Staria also have them, but the Alphard looks to have the largest, most plush thrones in the second row – they really do look, and behave, like business class aircraft seats. If you empty the third row and push them all the way back, they could easily fit the longest people you can find. 

2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore - sunroof, ambient lighting, air con controls

Great headrests, plush arm- and foorests, your own reading light, a side tray-table, aircon controls (and your own vent). Another new addition is a colour-selectable ambient lighting strip, which really adds to the business class vibe. 

Space race: The final word in this frontier?  

2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore - third row seat space

Despite the palatial second-row thrones, there’s still a large degree of modularity inside the Alphard.

The third row will fit two adults comfortably, but three is quite a squeeze, so while it’s conceptually a seven-seater, practically you should treat it as a 6+1. The seats positions are also adjustable, so if you have less cargo and more people, you can move them almost to the rear windshield to maximise space, or vice versa. If you fold them up and push the second-row forward, there’s space for almost anything – although the third-row bench take up some room. 

There are also a ridiculous number of cupholders – at least 18 – dotted through the whole cabin, and there are actually stowage spaces, drawers, and compartments too. 

The boot can be massive, and there’s still extra space under the floor to stow smaller items, plus there’s a space-saver spare wheel. We’re not sure how Toyota managed to package all that and still have an AWD hybrid system. 


Longer but not quite as tall as the Alphard, Kia’s huge Carnival is a party bus in its own right

Competition and conclusion

2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore - Wide shot front 3/4

The Koreans have made inroads into the segment recently with the Kia Carnival and Hyundai Staria. Both offer similar amounts of space, although the Carnival has the option of an eight-seat model for those who really need to move people. They have modern infotainment tech onboard, but more plastic-ky interiors – the Alphard’s leather-filled cabin feels more mature, despite its age. 

Neither can match the Alphard Hybrid when it comes to fuel-efficiency or ‘green’ optics, since the Carnival is a diesel (it’s close but still an oil-burner) and the Staria a thirsty, petrol 3.5-litre V6. The closest similarly-electrified alternative is Nissan’s Serena E-Power, which is a size down. 

2022 Toyota Alphard Hybrid - Review - CarBuyer Singapore - frontal shot

When it comes to an upscale passenger experience, the Alphard is still the best thing this side of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, or even a Rolls-Royce Ghost EWB. Its hybrid tech also makes it admirably frugal for such an otherwise extravagant car. It may not be the newest thing in town, but it now has electrification tech that delivers – and is spot on for 2022.

Toyota Alphard Hybrid 

Drivetrain type Petrol-electric full hybrid 
Engine 2,494cc, inline 4
Power159hp at 5700rpm
Torque206Nm at 4400-4800rpm 
GearboxCVT
Electric Motor Front140hp/270Nm
Electric Motor Rear 67hp/139Nm 
BatteryNiMh, unknown capacity 
System Power194hp
System Torque Not stated
0-100km/h10.5 seconds
Top Speed180km/h
Fuel Efficiency6.7 L/100km 
VES Band B / Neutral
AgentBorneo Motors
PriceS$300,888 with COE and VES
Availability Now
Verdict The Alphard ain’t cheap, small, nor like any other MPV – and hybrid tech only adds to its appeal in Singapore

Tags:

Alphard extra large family Hybrid MPV seven seat Toyota

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism, previously being the editor of Top Gear Singapore, a presenter for CNA, contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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