Comfort Is King With The King-sized Alphard And Vellfire Duo

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Toyota’s two largest cars in their range possess the presence and luxury befitting the stature of a successful businessman.
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Introduction

If you were a family person with the need to transport many people around on a constant basis, you would buy an MPV. For that, you have no shortage of options, with almost every car manufacturer having such a model available. However, a dilemma presents itself if say, you are a businessman who desires a luxury car classy enough for your image, but also wants an immensely practical vehicle at the same time. Normal MPVs are just not going to cut it, since they don’t possess the presence and luxury befitting the stature of a successful businessman. 

Toyota’s solution to this are the two largest cars in their range, the Alphard and the Vellfire. Both sit six people in extreme comfort and luxury, while having the presence to match the needs of businessmen.

Exterior

As luxury cars to be targeted at businessmen, the Alphard and Vellfire have to look the part. In terms of sheer size, they certainly do. The Alphard measures a whopping 4954mm in length, 1850mm in width and 1890mm in height, while it’s younger twin, the Vellfire, is 10mm shorter. Nevertheless, given their enormous size, both these cars look extremely imposing. 

Styling-wise, both the Alphard and Vellfire follow the trend of most traditional MPVs, with their recognisable boxy shape. This styling can be divisive, but if you are a fan of it, the Alphard and Vellfire are the most definitive of the bunch.

Toyota-Alphard-Exterior.jpg
The Alphard has the more aggressive look with the criss-cross front grilles

To spice up the design, Toyota has equipped both cars with massive chrome front grilles and large headlamps to add to the imposing presence. Arguably, the Alphard has the more aggressive look, with the criss-cross front grilles, while the Vellfire looks slightly more conservative with horizontal grilles. Around the rear, the large tail lamp clusters are again surrounded by chrome strips to add more flair to the design.

Toyota-Vellfire-Exterior.jpg
The Vellfire’s horizontal grilles are slightly more conservative

Given their massive size, the wheelbase of these cars are 3000mm long, meaning that there is a lot more cabin space for passengers. Both these cars are also front-engined, front-wheel drive vehicles, in an effort to lighten them and to improve fuel economy. 

Interior

Luxury and space are the key selling points for these cars and the interior clearly reflects this. Given the extra-long wheelbase and tall roof, there is plenty of cabin space in both vehicles to seat 6 adults. The second row of seats are designated the captain’s chairs, as they can be fully reclined and come with footrests, ideal for two businessmen to relax and chat on their way to a meeting. While space in the third row is less plentiful than in the second, there is still enough space for two average-sized adults to sit comfortably. Up front, the driver’s seat is equally comfortable and the driving position is extremely commanding given the height of the cars, allowing for better visibility. 

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The captain’s chairs in the Alphard
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The Vellfire’s luxurious seats

Not only are the interior spacious, the vehicles are immensely clever too in providing lots of flexibility. Need more space? Fold down the third row for a larger boot. Need more legroom? The second row seats easily slide back and forth. Also sprinkled around the cabin are multiple compartments for storing items, including one on the armrest of the captain’s seats for your phone. 

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A larger boot is available as needed, as seen here in the Vellfire

Toyota has also improved the interior to add to the luxury feel of the cabin. Leather is found all around the cabin, with a splash of wood on the dashboard. The switches are also of good quality and better built than before. Soundproofing inside the cabin is magnificent as well, with little wind and engine noise, even during acceleration. Finally, power sliding doors allow for much easier access in and out of the vehicle, and is a plus to have especially in tight parking spaces. 

Performance

Both the Alphard and Vellfire are driven by 2.5L, 4-cylinder engines that produce 170bhp and 235Nm of torque. Coupled with a CVT gearbox, it allows both cars to hit a top speed of 170k/h and 0-100km/h in 11.3 seconds. Given that both cars weigh around 2.6 tons, these figures are decent. However, both cars will struggle a little to get off the line due to their massive weight. 

Despite slow initial acceleration, these figures are all slight improvements over the previous models, which used a 2.4L engine with less power. Another plus is that acceleration, while not rapid, is extremely smooth and refined in both cars, thanks to the CVT gearbox.

Slight improvements are found on the handling front too. Rear suspension has been upgraded to a double wishbone setup, leading to an improvement in handling over the old models, especially for such tall cars. However, the suspension is still comfort-biased, owing to the fact that these cars prioritise luxury over performance. Thus, there is still a decent amount of body roll during hard cornering. The pedal feel on brakes can be an issue as well, giving the driver less confidence under braking.

The fact of the matter is, these cars are not meant to be driven round corners at racing speeds, or to accelerate down the road like the wind. Doing so would defeat the purpose of purchasing them, as it would cause discomfort to the passengers. These cars are meant to be comfortable cruisers for executives rather than speed monsters, with their smooth acceleration, great noise insulation and ride quality, the latter of which these cars excel in, thanks to the upgraded suspension.

Safety

Like all other Toyotas, both the Alphard and the Vellfire take the issue of safety extremely seriously. Both cars come with the standard 7 airbags that comes with all other Toyotas, which is substantially more than what their rivals provide. In addition, both cars also include driver aids for safety reasons, including anti-lock brakes, traction control, vehicular stability control, brake assist, as well as front and rear clearance sensors, which are extremely useful in these large vehicles. 

Features

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The Alphard and Vellfire’s impressive features

Since luxury is the main word associated with both these cars, it is of no surprise that they come fully loaded with lots of equipment for driver and passengers. Both come with automatic LED headlamps, tail lamps and cornering lights, sequential turn signals, a smart entry and start system, electronic parking brake, auto retractable wing mirrors, leather seats, a 12.1 inch touch screen with GPS and Air Gesture features, 17 speakers, NanoE Air Conditioning, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, a full digital rear mirror, power seats, LED ambient lighting, power sliding side and back doors, and 18-inch rims. 

Further options include programmable auto doors, park assist and a panoramic view monitor to further help visibility.

Summary

Prices start at $227,888 for the Alphard and $209,888 for the Vellfire. As such, these provide an extremely viable alternative for the businessmen from their executive usual saloons, with a couple of advantages. Firstly, with reasonable fuel consumption figures of 11.6km/L, you won’t find yourself spending as much on refuelling. But most importantly, thanks to the cars’ enormous and luxurious interiors as well as commanding presence, as well as their considerably lower price, Toyota’s twin luxury MPVs will give executive saloons a run for their money as the transport of choice for businessmen.

Verdict

What we like
- Spacious, plus first class comfort provided by the individual Captain & Ottoman seats
- Tri-zone air-conditioning
What we do not like
- Lack of USB charging ports for middle and last row seats
Editor’s recommendation
The Vellfire / Alphard is one of the largest passenger MPVs you can get to own in Singapore. If you need space and comfort, and money is not an issue for you, go for it!

Specifications

Measurements

Toyota Alphard (Elegance)

Toyota Vellfire (Elegance)

Dimensions

4945mm x 1850mm x 1890mm (L x W x H)

4935mm x 1850mm x 1890mm (L x W x H)

Wheelbase

3000mm

Turning Radius

5.8m

Weight

2600kg

2590kg

Specifications and Performance

Toyota Alphard (Elegance)

Toyota Vellfire (Elegance)

Engine

2.5L, 4-cylinder in-line 16 valve

Transmission

CVT

Drive Type

Front-wheel drive

Power

179bhp

Torque

235Nm

Top Speed

170km/h

0-100km/h

11.3

Fuel Consumption

11.6km/L

Suspension (Front/Rear)

McPherson Strut/Double Wishbone

Brakes (Front/Rear)

Ventilated Disc/Ventilated Disc

Safety

Toyota Alphard (Elegance)

Toyota Vellfire (Elegance)

Airbags 

7

Traction Control

Yes

Anti-lock Brakes

Yes

Vehicular Stability Control

Yes

Brake Assist

Yes

Front and Rear Clearance Sensors

Yes

Features

Toyota CH-R 1.2L Turbo (Active)

Toyota CH-R 1.2L Turbo (Luxury)

Automatic LED Headlamps

Yes

Automatic LED Taillamps

Yes

LED Daytime Running Lights

Yes

LED Cornering Lamps

Yes

LED Fog Lamps

Yes

Sequential Turn Signals

Yes

Smart Entry

Yes

Electronic Parking Brake

Yes

Auto-retractable Wing Mirrors

Yes

Anti-Theft System

Yes

Trim Colour

Flaxen

Black

Leather Seats

Yes

Captain’s Seats with Ottoman Footrests

Yes

Toyota Intouch System with Touch Screen

Yes

GPS Navigation

Yes

Bluetooth/USB/HDMI Connectivity

Yes

Air Gesture

Yes

Nano-E Air Conditioning

Yes

Rain-Sensing Wipers

Yes

Cruise Control

Yes

Smart Start

Yes

Full Digital Rear View Mirror

Yes

Power Seats

Yes

Monoroof

Yes

Wireless Charging

Yes

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