By Steve Laser
Toyota has introduced the next generation of its popular Alphard and Vellfire in Japan. The minivan duo gain more distinctive styling, new high-tech features, increased comfort, greater luxury, a smoother ride, and improved driving dynamics.
Vans of all shapes and sizes continue to be popular with customers in Japan. The Alphard was originally launched in 2002, followed by a second-generation in 2008, when it was joined by the Vellfire. Both were remodeled again and went on the market for 2015. And now the fourth generation has arrived.
Alphard and Vellfire receive new exterior styling that goes beyond the bold themes of the previous generations. While the exterior dimensions are designed to accommodate Japan’s automated parking systems, the vans appear to be larger than before.
Designed with the theme of “Forceful x Impact Luxury,” the styling creates a powerful feeling, with oversized front grilles, a cutting-edge reverse slant that runs from the front to the back, plus wave-like side profiles. (Vellfire front “final sketch” is shown above)
Alphard Z and Executive Lounge models offer a fuel-efficient Series Parallel Hybrid System, with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, and E-Four or 2WD, teamed with an e-CVT. A 2.5-liter gas version (non-hybrid) is also available. The new models ride on the TNGA (GA-K) platform optimized for minivan use. Toyota says it also plans to offer a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) model in the future.
The new Vellfire receives even more aggressive styling cues, catering to those seeking sporty luxury. There’s a customized look for the new Z Premier model, with “jet-black plating.” A new 2.4-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine replaces the previous 3.5-liter V6. The turbo teams with a Direct Shift 8-speed transmission and choice of 2WD or 4WD. Also available is the Z Premier Hybrid, and Executive Lounge Hybrid.
In the spirit of “omotenashi,” or hospitality, the interiors are crafted with attention to comfort, user-friendliness, and detail, for the driver and passengers.
The driver is treated to the “ultimate cockpit” concept, including a 14-inch center display, 12.3-inch instrumentation, plus an available head-up display.
Models equipped with second-row luxury seating (Alphard Executive Lounge shown above) cater to those who may be seeking a mobile office. Passengers can ride in comfort, while the seats offer heating, ventilation, and power reclining features.
The above view highlights several newly available features, including pull-down sunshades on the side windows, and a moonroof with independent left- and right-side shades. With its available luxury accommodations and conveniences, the Alphard and Vellfire can even be chauffeur driven to transport VIPs, or simply deliver relaxing journeys for families and friends.
For increased comfort and convenience, the new Super-Long Overhead Console (Alphard Executive Lounge shown above) features lighting, switches, and air conditioning vents located in the center, instead of along the sides, of the ceiling.
Alphard and Vellfire feature the latest safety and driving support features. Toyota Teammate driver-assistance technologies include Advanced Park with a “Remote Park” smartphone app (above). While Toyota Safety Sense includes Proactive Driving Assist with Intra-Lane Steering Assist and Deceleration Assist when Turning at Intersections.
Toyota projects sales of the new models at approximately 8,500 units per month, with 70 percent of those for the Alphard and 30 percent for the Vellfire. Both are built at the Inabe Plant in Japan by Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd.
News source and photos courtesy of Toyota Motor Corp. Features and specifications apply to Japanese market models and are subject to change without notice.
Story (commentary) © 2023 CarNichiwa.com