By Steve & Tamami Laser
We’ve seen the future of the minivan and we like what we see. Toyota has just introduced the next generation of the Alphard and Vellfire vans in Japan. Toyota says both vehicles were developed to incorporate “the idea of a roomy and luxurious saloon space with a new and unprecedented sense of refinement.” The new Alphard (sold at Toyopet dealers) and Vellfire (available at Netz dealers) promote ride comfort, stability, and a roomy interior.
A new double-wishbone rear suspension was adopted for a smooth ride and improved handling. The new models feature “world-first” equipment such as the Panoramic View Monitor with new See-through View, which gives a driver’s-perspective view of the vehicle’s surroundings as if the vehicle itself were transparent, and Intelligent Parking Assist with new multi-point turn support that controls steering in tight parking spaces which require repeated back and forth movement.
A new 2AR-FE 2.5-liter engine is used with a seven-speed Sports Sequential Shiftmatic and Super CVT-i and the optional Stop & Start System to provide fuel efficiency of 12.8 km/L6 under Japan’s MLIT JC08 Japanese test cycle. The 2GR-FE V6, 3.5-liter engine is combined with six-speed Sequential Shiftmatic with 6 Super ECT to provide fuel efficiency of 9.5 km/L7 under Japan’s MLIT JC08 test cycle. Except for models with the 3.5-liter engine (four-wheel-drive models weighing 2,100 kg or less), all models exceed MLIT’s 2015 fuel economy standards.
The new Executive Lounge grade, which places emphasis on the rear seats, is available in both the Alphard and Vellfire series. Exclusive tuning of the suspension provides a more luxurious ride suitable for a luxury-class grade. The second row seats are approximately 100 mm wider, providing roomy comfort on exclusive executive lounge seats. In addition to comfort rivaling that of a sofa, a power ottoman (with extension function) extends about 140 mm, while heated seats, ventilated seats, a stowable table, and other amenities enhance convenience and comfort.
Olive ash burl wood grain is combined with a metallic reflective base layer and the “world-first” three-dimensional shading created using 3D printing technology to produce previously unseen ornamentation designs with a high quality feel. The 12.1-inch rear seat entertainment system features a high-definition wide video graphics array (WVGA) display that electrically opens and closes using a remote control. The JBL premium sound system with a high-performance 12-channel amp and 17 speakers is designed to deliver optimal sound quality.
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) © 2015 CarNichiWa.com