You’ve always placed a premium on comfort and safety when behind the wheels, and that’s just two of the reasons why Toyota’s highly successful Alphard and Vellfire have a special place in your heart. But wait – it gets better. This year the marque boasts some nifty upgrades in both these premium MPV models to make them even better value-for-money – including a new engine and transmission.
As before, the Alphard is available in two variants – the Alphard 3.5 Executive Lounge which offers Premium Luxury and the Alphard 3.5 which offers Advanced Luxury. Both variants now come with the new 2GR-FKS 3.5-litre V6 engine and advanced 8-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission.
The powerful new engine has a D-4S injection system for optimum fuel delivery in all driving conditions. The Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide (VVT-iW) system provides high torque from low to high rpm ranges, and uses the Atkinson cycle to enhance fuel economy and the Otto cycle for power. Its fuel economy is enhanced further with an Auto Stop & Start system, which can be activated by the driver at any time; it automatically switches off the engine in conditions when idling may be long. It remains active when the driver keeps a foot on the brake pedal; when the pedal is released, the engine restarts automatically and smoothly to continue driving.
The bold appearance of the Alphard employs the concept of ‘Bravely Magnificent’ and for the latest model, the dynamic and formal image gains a more commanding presence. The centre of the grille project forward more, emphasising the three-dimensional structure on a horizontal axis that runs through from the emblem to the lamps and shoulder line, expresses a dynamic impression. The grille has been given a stepped cross-section, expressing excellent workmanship.
At either side are horizontal projector headlamps which gives a distinctive and advanced new look. The lower lamp units feature dual linear light-guiding illumination while the signal lights show the driver’s intention with sequential lighting that points towards the direction the vehicle will be turning in. New 18-inch aluminium alloy wheels are fitted to the 2018 Alphard, giving it a sporty look as the wheels rotate.
There are four different exterior colours to choose from – Graphite Metallic (new 2018 addition), Luxury White Pearl CS, White Pearl CS and Black.
Inside, vibes of luxury runs across the cabin through the use of higher quality materials coupled with meticulous craftsmanship. For instance the armrest upholstery has been changed to synthetic leather with stitching for an excellent tactile feel, a major difference from the soft moulded plastic and simulated stitching used in the 2017 models.
For the Alphard 3.5 Executive Lounge variant, the area of quilting has been increased on the seatback main part, and the design has been changed to a vertical theme with a more sophisticated and modern image. Semi-aniline leather upholstery is provided in the Executive Lounge variant while the Alphard 3.5 has high-quality leather upholstery.
As would be expected of a premium MPV, the seats offer the ultimate in comfort and convenience with power operation for the first and second rows, as well as the introduction of a seat air conditioner (Alphard Executive Lounge) which provides cooling air from the cushion and backrest. The Alphard Executive Lounge offers generously-sized VIP seats while the Alphard 3.5 has Captain’s seats, both types with ottomans for extra comfort on long journeys.
New features for the 2018 models include a wireless charger pad for devices with the Qi system and a Digital Full Display Mirror which provides a wider field of view and greater clarity. Instead of using a conventional reflector surface, the high-tech mirror displays images from a camera at the rear of the vehicle on the in-mirror display. Excellent visibility is available as the image is unaffected by night time or rainy weather conditions.
In terms of safety, the 2018 model gets the Blind Spot Monitor System and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) which helps when reversing out of a parking bay with sensors scanning the areas to the left and right side as the vehicle is moving outwards, and if another vehicle is detected approaching, the driver will receive an audible warning as well as flashing icons in the door mirrors. An optional ‘parking assistance’ feature is the Panoramic View Monitor (PVM), which uses four cameras (located around the vehicle) to provide an overhead view that shows the surroundings on every side.
Like the new Alphard, the Vellfire has also received cosmetic changes which strengthen the distinctive cool and modern looks that give the model its unique identity. For the new model, the upper and lower parts of the three-dimensional two-part structure have a clearer expression at the front, strengthening the body’s overall sense of unity. It comes fitted with 18-inch aluminium alloy wheels with a dynamic new design.
From the bonnet to the bumper, the structure is integrated into a single ingot-shaped grille design, accentuating the pushed-outwards impression of the centre and expressing modern luxury in a solid form. The aggressively shaped triangular, low-positioned fog lamp bezels, together with the flared form of the corners, accentuate its wide and low stance and give the bumper corners a more dynamic impression.
To match the cubic form of the front end of the Vellfire, the upper headlamps incorporate two square projectors. Together with the blue accent of the extension, this creates a cool expression and an advanced tech image. When activated, the turn signals show the direction of the vehicle’s intended movement by sequential illumination.
At the rear, the upper and lower sections of the lamps sandwich the garnish extending across the horizontal axis. This creates a two-part structure that mirrors the design of the headlamps and also provides a more distinctive presence for the Vellfire to drivers following behind. Like the signal lights on the front, the LEDs also light up in a sequential manner.
On the inside, the seating has also been upgraded for more comfort and convenience, with power adjustments for the front passenger’s seat as well, plus an ottoman for stretching out on long journeys. A seat air-conditioner provides cooling air that blows up from the cushion as well as through the backrest. The seating for the second and third rows remain the same, with individual Captain’s seats for the second row. These seats, with leather upholstery, come with power recline as well as an ottoman for extra comfort.
Apart from USB ports to provide power, the improved Vellfire also comes with a Wireless Charging Pad, a feature that enables you to recharge any compatible mobile phone that is placed on the pad.
Other cool additions include the Digital Full Display Mirror which provides a wider field of view and greater clarity. Instead of using a conventional reflector surface, the high-tech mirror displays images from a camera at the rear of the vehicle on the in-mirror display. Excellent visibility is available as the image is unaffected by low light or rainy weather conditions. And those desiring additional “parking assistance” could opt for the Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) feature. Safety-wise, the Vellfire also comes with the Blind Spot Monitor System and RCTA – just like the new Alphard.
There are four different exterior colours to choose from – Graphite Metallic (new 2018 addition), White Pearl CS, Black and Burning Black CS.
Apart from being recognised as exceptionally good value for money with their extensive features and equipment, the 2018 Alphard and Vellfire sold by authorised Toyota dealers also come with a factory warranty of 5 years with unlimited mileage and full aftersales support from an extensive network of service centres as well as 10 years assurance on Toyota Genuine Parts availability for your peace of mind.
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