Posts Tagged ‘minivan’

New Toyota Alphard & Vellfire MPVs Debut in Japan

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Toyota Alphard

Today we finally get to take a break from motor shows to look at two newly redesigned minivans that Toyota has just released for the Japanese market. They are the Toyota Alphard (above) and Toyota Vellfire (below), and they’re Toyota’s way of making a statement in the MPV segment.

Toyota Vellfire

As you can see, these minivans certainly stand out from the crowd. They each serve a unique purpose, but they share an incredibly comfortable and spacious interior paired with “exceptional handling stability”. That’s because both minivans will use a new double-wishbone suspension (pictured below) that Toyota has just developed specifically for these models.

As for their unique purposes, the Alphard is intended for more luxury-seeking drivers, while the Vellfire is designed for a bolder, younger appeal.

Toyota Alphard Vellfire Suspension

Along with the new suspension, both refreshed minivans are being offered with a choice of three powertrains.

Option one is an upgraded version of the old Alphard Hybrid’s system that pairs a 2.5L Atkinson cycle engine outputting 150 hp with an upgraded E-Four AWD system that utilizes a 141hp front motor with a 67hp rear motor. All told, the hybrid option offers Alphard and Vellfire drivers an impressive 45.6 mpg, according to the JC08 test cycle.

Then, Toyota will offer two petrol powertrains in the minivans. The first is a standard 2.5 L engine that can output 180 hp, paired with a seven-speed Super CVT-i and Start-Stop as an available option, which gets your fuel economy up to 30.1 mpg. The second petrol – third total – engine option is a relatively massive 3.5L V6 that sacrifices fuel economy for raw power with 276hp. But, you can only expect 22.3 mpg from the V6.

Finally, you’ve got to see an image of that interior we mentioned above:

Toyota Vellfire interior

As you can see, the front and middle seats all sit on a movable track system. This allows these passengers enough space to each have their own dedicated recliner, complete with a tray table!

Toyota Alphard tray table

Clearly, these are some really cool minivans, but for those of you wanting a more economical model than the roughly 3.2 million yen Toyota’s asking for a new model, we have a great Japanese car auction find for you below:

Japanese car auction find – 2012 Toyota Alphard Hybrid

2012 Toyota Alphard Hybrid

Here we’re looking at a well-kept 2012 Toyota Alphard Hybrid with an older version of the new model’s hybrid powertrain. It’s a 2.4L petrol with an extremely high-expansion ratio cycle, and it uses the same E-Four AWD motor system that’s in the newer model. This allows the car to achieve 42 mpg on Japan’s JC08, making this an official Ultralow Emissions Vehicle (ULEV).

2012 Toyota Alphard Hybrid rear

Although it doesn’t boast quite the same interior as the new minivans we saw in Japan today, you can see that the exterior is still quite bold and surprisingly eye-catching for a minivan. It’s got plenty of space; just don’t be expecting personal recliners for all of your passengers. You will enjoy the sun roof though.

To learn more about this 2012 Toyota Alphard Hybrid, keep reading below the auction sheet:

2012 Toyota Alphard Hybrid auction sheet

“Grade 4, interior B, exterior C, first registered February 2012, DAA emissions code, Hybrid model, 4WD, in-dash AT, dual AC, first time in auction, AM HDD navigation system with digital TV, AM flip-down monitor screen, front power seats, 2 x smart key, combination steering wheel, ABS airbag, original AWs, power steering, power windows, navigation system model is VIE-X088V, 1 x headrest missing, seats scratches, ceiling lining scratches, exterior paintwork has minor scratches, scratches under bumpers, front windscreen stone scratches, marks as per map.”

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2013 Toyota Sienna SE

Posted by Stephen On Friday, October 31st, 2014

Earlier this week we talked about the various concepts that Toyota will bring to the SEMA motor show next week. Among them were two different aftermarket variations of the Sienna minivan. So, we thought we’d check in our Integrity Exports auction database to see what kind of Sienna MPVs were up for sale.

Even though the Sienna is not sold in Japan, it turns out that some have been imported from the US in LHD format. I have no idea why Japanese people would go to this expense when there are perfectly good Toyota Estimas and Alphards in the local market. It just goes to show that there is a nice sub-niche of LHD US cars available at auction here. In fact, I found there are several really well-kept Siennas available, and this one first registered in 2013 in particular stood out as a spectacular auction find:

2013 Toyota Sienna SE front

Let’s start with the basics.

As we already said, this is a 2013 Toyota Sienna minivan with an immaculate white exterior. There are only a handful of minor blemishes across the entire body of the MPV, and it has an overall rating of 4.5. Inside, you’ll find a quiet, spacious A-grade cabin that can seat up to eight passengers comfortably. The interior has a lovely black-and-white color scheme to match the outside paint job, and you’ll find white-stitched black leather seating in this particular model.

As you’ll see on the auction sheet, this is a Toyota Sienna SE trim, which is a new package made available for the third generation model introduced in 2010. From the outside, the SE trim level offers revised bodywork for a sportier design, new clear tail lamps and unique 19-inch alloy wheels. You’ll also enjoy a firmer suspension paired with more responsive steering for an all-around more vigorous ride.

2013 Toyota Sienna SE rear

Believe it or not, the SE trim was originally deemed “too sporty” by many of Toyota’s chief executives, and Chief Engineer Kazuo Mori had to overcome substantial opposition to get the trim in the lineup. We’d say it was worth the effort!

Under the hood, you’ll find that this 2013 Toyota Sienna runs on the same engine that originally earned the minivan its on-road acclaim in 2003. However, the low-friction 3.5L V6 engine (code 2GR-FE) has been tuned up since the last generation, and Toyota has incorporated additional technologies to get even more economy out of the powertrain. Chief among them is Toyota’s own Electric Power Steering system, which replaced the previous generation’s hydraulic system.

2013 Toyota Sienna SE Interior

The auction sheet details all the basic amenities you’ll find in this 2013 Sienna. Automatic air conditioning, a sunroof, automatic wipers, power steering and power windows are all included. But, the auction sheet won’t tell you about the recliner-style Lounge Seating in the second row. Or about Toyota’s Smart Key keyless entry system with push-button ignition. Or the new Entune Display Navigation system which was first introduced for the 2012MY.

And we haven’t even mentioned the 180 degree panoramic backup camera, pre-collision braking, or the automatic highbeam dimmer!

All in all, this is a great Japanese car auction find with a boatload of features at a very reasonable starting price. If it’s not your cup of tea, you can find great deals just like this one inside our easy-to-use Integrity Exports auction database. Or, you can keep reading below the auction sheet for a full translation of this particular find:

2013 Toyota Sienna SE auction sheet

Here is the translation:

“Interior A, first registered August 2013, SE Preferred Package model, dashboard AT, AAC, no service book, odometer reading in miles, sunroof, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, airbag, power sliding doors on both sides, keyless entry, power assisted back gate, 19 inch alloy wheels, original reversing rearview camera, Carraozzeria navigation system and TV, cruise control, half-leather seats, curtain SRS, roof rails, area of scratches inside, minor scratches and minor dents, front windshield has stone scratches, other marks as per map”

2015 Toyota Sienna Unveiled w/ Quirky YouTube Videos

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

2015 Toyota Sienna front

Today Toyota pulled the curtains off of their new 2015 Toyota Sienna minivan. A little further down the page, we’ll go through all of the new updates and improvements drivers will enjoy in the next model year. But first, we owe it to you to start with these quirky “homemade” YouTube videos that Toyota’s using to promote their new Sienna. They’re actually pretty funny despite the cheesiness, so enjoy:

If you’re anything like us, the first thing you’ll notice about these two videos is that the majority of the filming takes place in the interior. Was it an accident or a deliberate marketing decision? That’s for you to decide. But there’s no denying that the majority of the updates to the 2015 Toyota Sienna are found inside the vehicle. All you’ll find outside are minor cosmetic tweaks, like a new mesh grille and slightly re-sculpted head- and taillights.

2015 Toyota Sienna white leather interior

To be fair, the not-so-competitive minivan segment has never been about outside looks, but inside convenience which the new Sienna has in spades. The entire interior has been overhauled for a more comfortable and upscale feel, a bunch of new technology options and better all-around handling. Furthermore, almost all of the new features are aimed directly at mom and dad.

Up front, you’ll find that the 2015 Sienna gets a new look with a modernized gauge cluster that better matches the revised white leather interior (although black leather with white stitching is now an option too, pictured below). Technology improvements include a new 4.2-inch multi-information display with built-in turn-by-turn navigation.

Other cool new features include an optional 7-inch touchscreen that lets the driver decide what’s important with swipe-friendly customization. You can set it to display multimedia controls, GPS navigation and Driver Easy Speak. Speaking of, Driver Easy Speak is a new feature which makes it easy for parents to talk to their kids in the back via a built-in microphone that’s wired to the van’s rear speakers. There’s even a pull-down conversation mirror so parents can look at their kids without turning around.

2015 Toyota Sienna black leather interior

Of course, Toyota also recognizes that safety is of utmost importance to every parent. That’s why every Sienna at each trim comes with eight airbags (the most in its class), panoramic backup camera, and four different LATCH locations for car seat convenience.

All in all, even Toyota can probably admit that this isn’t the most prolific refresh ever to grace their lineup. Still, we’re sure that parents everywhere will be grateful for the improvements, and they’ll pull more than a few drivers away from the Honda Odyssey. Want to learn more about the new 2015 Toyota Sienna? Visit

New Honda Freed Scores 20k Orders in 2 Weeks – 63% are Hybrids

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Honda’s new compact minivan Freed went on sale in Japan on October 28th but has already racked up more than 20,000 orders in the first two weeks – over twice as many as Honda’s sales target. Not only that, but 63% of these are for the hybrid version.

The overwhelming interest in the hybrid version could well be due to the fact that it is the only hybrid on offer in the  high roof compact class, and yet pricing starts from just 2.149 million Yen – a number comparable with the considerably less roomy Prius Alpha.

Honda Freed Hybrid Minivan

The Prius Alpha has a cabin length of 1.91 meters with an overall interior volume of 3.54 cubic meters, whereas the Freed has an interior that is not only 71.5 centimeters longer, but also has an overall interior volume that at  4.78 cubic meters is 35% bigger. The larger Honda gets a respectable 24 km/l (56.5 MPG), but it cannot compete with the Prius Alpha, which gets 31 km/l (72.9 MPG).

And let’s not forget the Freed’s sliding rear door. If you have ever parked in narrow Japanese parking spaces, you will know what a boon this is compared with the Prius Alpha’s standard hinged doors. Personally, this sliding door alone would swing it for me if I was looking for a compact hybrid minivan.

Of course, this is a case of horses for courses. The Honda may not have the extremely frugal economy of the Toyota, but at the same time it is considerably more car for the money. rapid uptake of both the Prius Alpha and now this Honda Freed is ample proof of market demand in Japan for hybrids of all kinds is very strong.

Source: Searchina