Posts Tagged ‘vellfire’

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.”


Return of the Alphard / Vellfire Hybrid – Back By Popular Demand

Posted by Stephen On Friday, September 30th, 2011

It’s back.

3 and a half years since the Alphard Hybrid was canceled the new Alphard Hybrid will be going on sale in Japan on November 21st. (It’s sister model, the Vellfire, was never available in hybrid format before, but will be available from the same time.)

2011 Toyota Alphard Hybrid (also known as Toyota Vellfire Hybrid)

The Alphard / Vellfire Hybrid will join the Prius Alpha and the Estima hybrids bringing Toyota’s hybrid minivan model count to 3 in Japan. Toyota will then have 9 hybrid models on sale in Japan.

The new model uses the same E-Four system as the Estima Hybrid that uses an electric motor to power the rear wheels in conjunction with a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine resulting in all four wheels being driven. Also as per the Estima Hybrid, the Ni-MH battery is mounted in the console between the front seats. The battery pack has 21 cells each with a 6.5Ah storage capacity. The Alphard / Vellfire Hybrid has a 105KW 2JM electric motor to drive the front wheels, and a 50KW 2FM electric motor to power the wheels at the rear.

The new Alphard / Vellfire Hyrbid achieves fuel economy of 19 KM per liter (44.7 MPG) in Japan’s 10 – 15 mode test cycle, and 17 KM per liter (40 MPG) under the JC08 testing regime. That is a little less than the Estima Hybrid, which lends its drive train to this new model, but on the other hand, the Alphard is a larger and heavier luxury minivan. In any case, these figures still put it top of the class in the luxury minivan segment, and the 10 – 15 results beat the old Alphard Hybrid by 1.8 KM per liter.

The Alphard Hybrid and Vellfire Hybrids will both have the chassis designation ATH20W.

So why is the Alphard Hybrid being resurrected after all this time? According to Toyota, it is a simple matter of customer demand. The EcoCar program in Japan has helped the Prius achieve mainstream status as the consistent number one best seller. The Prius is the poster child for hybrid cars everywhere, and Toyotas in particular, so I suspect that this general public acceptance of hybrid cars has generated demand for hybrid options across the model range.

[In case you are wondering what the difference between an Alphard and a Vellfire is, it is simply a different name, different badges and microscopically different looks. The cars themselves are the same.

The Alphard is sold at the Toyopet dealerships, and the Vellfire at the Netz dealerships. As to why Toyota allows this internal competition and division of marketing resources to continue, I have no idea.

To me it is just as mysterious as the perennial question of why the electric grid in western Japan runs on a different frequency to that in the east, making the sharing of electric power resources so difficult. Both are historical anomalies which for whatever reason – politics, I assume – are not being addressed.]

Sources: MSN, Nikkei BP, Toyota press release (all Japanese)