Alphard and Vellfire, Toyota’s large luxury minivans. The current model, which is the third generation, was developed under the theme of “Luxury sedan with large space”, and has established itself as a luxury minivan with a strong appearance, gorgeous interior, and a price of over 7 million yen for the highest grade. is doing. Let’s take a closer look at the appeal of these two machines, which are now popular not only in Japan but also overseas.
Luxury cars are now from sedans to large minivans
The definition of “luxury car” changes with the times. In the past, luxury cars were typically large sedans. In particular, I often saw scenes of politicians and business people riding in the back seats of large luxury sedans such as Toyota Century, Crown, Nissan Cima and Fuga on TV and movies. However, in the last decade or so, that role is about to change from large sedans to large minivans. Is it that the body color is “black” that does not change? Especially in the world of celebrities, it seems that large luxury minivans with a large interior space have become established as a means of transportation.
Turn over the market Elgrand pioneered overnight
Toyota Alphard/Vellfire is often used as such a luxury minivan. The original luxury minivan in Japan was the Nissan Elgrand, which appeared in 1997. The Toyota Alphard, which was introduced in 2002 to the market where Elgrand was gaining popularity, took over the market at once.
In fact, Nissan Elgrand underwent a full model change at almost the same time, evolving into the second generation. At that time, Elgrand, who was proud to be the “King of minivans”, limited the engine to be installed to one type of 3.5LV6. On the other hand, the Alphard has two types of engines, 3LV6 and 2.4L inline 4, like the Estima. The cheap price of the 2.4L engine, which was also a regular gasoline specification, led Alphard to victory.
Of course, the fact that the overwhelmingly spacious interior space is packed with equipment that creates a sense of luxury also won the hearts of users. Honda later introduced the Elysion into this market, but the low-floor chassis made the vehicle look low rather than improving handling performance due to Honda’s specialty low-floor chassis. dropped out. “Looking big” and “having a luxurious interior space” were required in this class.
High-class Alphard, slightly bad Vellfire
The current 3rd generation Alphard goes through the luxury route as symbolized by the huge front plated grille
It would be this Vellfire that legitimately inherited the “a little bad” route pioneered by Elgrand. Recently, not only minivans but also kei cars, models from other companies that are conscious of this face have been seen here and there.
In 2008, the Alphard underwent a full model change and evolved into the second generation. The topic at this time will be that the sibling car Vellfire was set. By dividing the exterior design into the luxury route = Alphard and the sporty or slightly bad route = Vellfire, both routes overwhelm the Elgrand.
In particular, the Vellfire, with its large body size and powerful front mask, gained tremendous support from the market and became a model at the top of the “minivan hierarchy.” I guess the times were looking for a bit of a badass. It was exhibited at the Beijing Motor Show in 2010 and announced its introduction to the Chinese market. After that, it was introduced in Taiwan and became popular as a luxury car like Japan.
The current model was developed as a “large space luxury sedan”
With the introduction of a low-floor chassis in the third generation, the overall height was slightly lowered. However, the design full of volume that does not make you feel it is supported by users
This is an aero grade Vellfire. Aero grade is also available for Alphard, but Vellfire is more comfortable
And in January 2015, the third generation Alphard/Vellfire will appear. The development theme is straight out “large space luxury sedan”. Toyota finally developed this car by defining it as a “big luxury car” instead of a “big minivan”.
Minivans have wide “openings” such as doors and rear hatches, so it takes time and money to achieve the quietness and comfort of a luxury sedan. For this reason, we actively adopted high-strength steel plates that are both lightweight and highly rigid for the body. Body rigidity has been improved by using structural adhesives to further increase strength.
The finally changed rear suspension is proof of a luxury car
Another big change is the rear suspension. The conventional simple and robust “axle type” was changed to the “double wishbone type”, which is often used in luxury sedans due to its superior ability to absorb shock from the road surface. People who know a lot about cars used to criticize (?) the old Alphard/Vellfire’s axle-type rear suspension as “cheap”, but it’s okay now! ?
In fact, these improvements have greatly improved not only ride comfort, but also steering stability, which was said to be a weak point. By the way, it is true that the axle type rear suspension does not cost much, and it is true that it is often used in relatively compact cars, but it is not bad at all. A well-designed axle system can provide better ride comfort and handling stability than lesser multi-link or double wishbone systems. Just in case!
Outstanding presence with a large face and high vehicle height
It is expected that luggage space is sufficiently secured despite the spacious three-row seat. The point that the golf bag can be stacked vertically is also a high point
By adopting a low floor, the current model does not change the interior height while lowering the overall height. A luggage room with a high height allows a golf bag to be loaded vertically. However, the fact that the overall height was not as low as rival Elgrand is also the reason why Alphard/Vellfire continues to win. The headlights, which have been enlarged to cover the lower vehicle height, and the area around the front grill still have a strong and intimidating feel.
The interior space that is more gorgeous than our house is the biggest selling point
The highest grade “Executive Lounge” has a gorgeous space surrounded by leather and wood panels. When you sit in this second row seat, it seems that it is difficult to suppress the desire to buy anymore
The interior is filled with another charm of Alphard/Vellfire. Semi-aniline genuine leather, which is a high-quality material, is used for the large and splendid seats of the highest grade of over 7 million yen. And armrests, of course, are equipped with ottomans reminiscent of the green car of the Shinkansen and the first class of international flights, and they make you feel really gorgeous.
Even mid-grade Vellfire “V” and Alphard “G” are gorgeous. Not only the second row seat, but also the front passenger seat slides greatly.
Not only the second row, but also the front passenger’s seat can be slid greatly, making it possible to use the spacious interior in a variety of ways. In addition, real wood grain panels such as olive and ash pearl are used in various places in the car. In addition, indirect lighting with LEDs creates an excessively luxurious interior space that resembles a moving living room. Well, with all due respect, it’s probably more gorgeous than most people’s living rooms. At least our living room is a complete failure. It doesn’t seem like an exaggeration to say that the salesman said, “If you can see the inside of the car at the showroom, you’ll win.”
Advanced safe driving support equipment is also not overlooked
Safety equipment that has been attracting attention recently is a word indeed. Including a panoramic view monitor that supports safety confirmation in parking lots and intersections, intelligent parking assist 2 that uses ultrasonic waves and cameras to make parking easier, radar cruise control with all-vehicle tracking function, and millimeter-wave radar collision. It boasts a full range of comfort and safety equipment suitable for a luxury car, such as a mitigation braking system and pre-crash safety.
The lineup also includes a 6-cylinder engine that has become valuable now
The engine to be installed is 3.5LV6, 2.5L straight 4. And there are 3 types of 2.5L straight 4 engine + motor hybrid system. The 3.5LV6 engine generates a maximum output of 280ps, and the JC08 mode fuel efficiency is 9.1-9.5km/L. The 6-cylinder engine, which has become valuable these days, has poor fuel efficiency, but the smoothness and power are the best in the world. The reasonably priced 2.5L in-line 4 engine produces a maximum output of 182ps. JC08 mode fuel efficiency is 11.4-12.4km/L. To be honest, there are times when it’s a bit difficult to run with a full capacity, but I have the impression that the CVT covers it well. The hybrid vehicle generates a maximum system output of 197ps, and JC08 mode fuel efficiency is 18.4-19.4km/L. In terms of power performance, it is just in the middle, and the strength in the low speed range is truly a hybrid. Of course the fuel consumption is the best.
Both the Alphard and Vellfire are available in two model systems: a luxury route and a sporty route equipped with aero parts. Aero models start with “S” for Alphard and “Z” for Vellfire.
You can also read : Toyota Vellfire interior in Kenya