August 04, 2016 @ 07:02 PM

Business class on wheels

Toyota laps up the luxury with buttery MPV siblings' Alphard and Vellfire launch.

With their arrival announced earlier in the year and pricing confirmed in June, the only piece of the puzzle left was to actually launch the third-generation Toyota Alphard and the second-generation Toyota Vellfire, which UMW Toyota got around to on 4 August.

Pleasantly, there are no changes to the prices that were revealed in June so the Vellfire 2.5-litre is positioned as the entry model into Toyota luxury MPV ownership at RM355,000 while the two variants of the Alphard are priced at RM419,900 for the standard variant and the Alphard Executive Lounge will bump it up to RM519,900.

The sole Vellfire variant is powered by the 2.5-litre 2AR-FE Dual VVT-i four-cylinder petrol engine that sends a 180bhp and 235Nm of torque to the front wheels via a CVT transmission. Motivation for the Alphards however are courtesy of a larger 3.5-litre 2GR-FE V6 mill good for 271bhp with 340Nm of torque to twist the front wheels through a beefier six-speed torque converter automatic with manual override.

Undoubtedly, the influx of Alphards and Vellfires in the gray market is something that cannot be ignored as they singlehandedly dominate the luxury MPV segment and bringing them via official channels increases the price significantly but UMW Toyota are keen to point out that their units have been customised to cope with the local environment with tweaks to the suspension, ECU and engine among other reconfigurations. There is also the case of a five-year warranty with unlimited mileage to ponder on.

On the outside, these luxo-barges are not differentiated by much and lack the Aero styling found on grey imports. All three ride on 18-inch wheels wrapped in 235/50R18 tyres but the Alphard is set apart with its distinctive grille with the Vellfire receiving some tamer treatment up front.

The equipment list comprises LED headlamps and DRLs, front and rear moonroof as well a rear spoiler. Switch up to the Alphard and you will get the same on the outside.

Inside is where the magic really happens though. For the regular seven-seater Alphard and Vellfire, the seating configuration gets a 2-2-3 layout with captain chairs for the middle row and enough beige leather to put you to sleep, albeit from being cosseted in sublime luxury and not the colour scheme’s lack of excitement. Ottoman leg rests are standard for the middle row and front passenger as well, so your bodyguard will not suffer from sore feet.

The Vellfire’s interior is almost identical with no electric adjustability for the captain chairs and a black leather upholstery and black wood trim. Powered sliding doors are standard across the range.

No luxury MPV is complete without some proper entertainment and in the Alphard you will find a seven-inch touchscreen head unit with navigation and a rear 10.2-inch screen with wireless headphones for the occupants. Triple-zone air-conditioning with independent blowers and controls for the rear and a 16-colour ceiling illumination lighting completes the worthy mentionable kit. The Vellfire gets all these as well.

Step it up to the Alphard Executive Lounge and some niftier toys come into play. The middle row’s captain’s chairs are now powered with more Ottoman adjustment; telescopic length change and power lift up, and also includes ventilation.

A larger eight-inch touchscreen head unit sits centre stage in the dashboard and pumps out music through a 17-speaker JBL audio system and a nine-inch rear screen.

Last but not least, safety consists of seven airbags, ABS, hill-start assist, traction control, stability control and parking sensors all-around.

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