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sábado, septiembre 30, 2023
HomeSports-CarsNew Toyota Alphard, Vellfire people movers unveiled for Japan, not confirmed for...

New Toyota Alphard, Vellfire people movers unveiled for Japan, not confirmed for Australia

The new Toyota Alphard and Vellfire luxury people movers have been debuted for Japan, but they could remain the preserve of private importers in Australia.

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Toyota Vellfire.

The new 2024 Toyota Alphard and Vellfire people movers have been revealed for Japan – but it is unclear if there are plans to sell them in Australia through Toyota dealerships.

The Alphard and its sportier Vellfire twin are Toyota’s flagship people movers in Japan and South-East Asia, where «minivans» remain popular both as family transport and VIP shuttles.

They have never been sold in Australia, but have developed a cult following locally as private «grey imports» – vehicles imported as used cars that are not sold as new in Australia.

But despite plans to sell the the luxury Lexus version of the new Alphard and Vellfire in Australia for the first time this year – the Lexus LM – Toyota Australia is yet to confirm its models for local showrooms.

The introduction of a Lexus version – which is believed to share much of the Toyota’s structure, and some key panels – means much of the work to make the vehicle’s chassis comply with Australian safety standards may have already been completed, streamlining the path to entry.

«Toyota is always considering exciting new models as they become available for our market, but we have no announcements to make today,» a Toyota Australia spokesperson said in a statement to Drive.

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The people mover twins – the Alphard focused on luxury, and the Vellfire pitched as a sportier twin – adopt Toyota’s latest engines and technology for their fourth and third generations respectively.

Buyers in Japan can choose between two petrol engines and one hybrid – with the option of plug-in hybrid power to follow at a later date.

The new models are larger than their predecessors for improved interior space, but remain less than 5000mm long and 1850mm wide to remain within the limits of Japan’s automated, machine-operated car-park stackers in its major cities.

Changes to liberate more interior space include moving the driving position, redesigning the second-row seats, and creating thinner trim for the doors and third row of seats.

All Alphards and Vellfires at launch appear to be seven-seaters, with two front seats, two individual business class flight-style middle seats, and three seating positions in the rear.

«In previous generations, the lighting, assorted switches, and air conditioning vents were located along both sides of the ceiling; now, the team has developed the Super-Long Overhead Console and concentrated these fixtures in the centre of the ceiling,» Toyota says in its media release.

Highlights include retractable side steps to ease entry and exit, a panoramic sunroof, window sunshades, and redesigned second-row seats claimed to deliver improved comfort.

Up front there appears to be a large, circa-14-inch touchscreen borrowed from Lexus models, plus a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and elements from the new Toyota Crown range of flagship sedans and SUVs sold in Japan.

The second-row seats are power adjustable, with heating and cooling functions visible in Toyota’s images.

The Alphard and Vellfire are underpinned by the same TNGA-K front-wheel-drive platform as the Toyota RAV4 and Kluger family SUVs, among other Toyota and Lexus models.

Toyota claims the new models are 50 per cent stiffer than their predecessors, with redesigned suspension said to be quieter and more comfortable than before, reduced vibration inside the cabin, and «low-noise» tyres.

There is also more sound deadening material, and increased use of structural adhesives throughout the cars.

Power in most models comes from a hybrid system from the Toyota Kluger, combining a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with electric motors for 184kW combined, and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.

Front-wheel-drive models claim fuel economy in mixed driving of 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres – less than a diesel Kia Carnival people mover in Australia (6.5L/100km).

An entry-level 2.5-litre four-cylinder without hybrid technology is available in some Alphard models, developing 134kW and 235Nm.

Meanwhile, the Vellfire is available with a 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine developing 205kW and 430Nm – 16kW less but 69Nm more than the old 3.5-litre V6 – with front- or all-wheel drive, and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Toyota says the 2.4-litre turbo engine has been «tuned to deliver a sporty sound», and the «accelerator pedal stroke has been shortened». Exclusive to the Vellfire is a front chassis brace connecting the radiator support and side members for «added body rigidity».

Exclusive to the Vellfire is a new ‘Z Premier’ model, which adds black exterior trim in conjunction with the 2.4-litre engine.

Available advanced safety features include the Toyota Teammate semi-autonomous driving system, which allows the driver to take their hands off the steering wheel and let the car accelerate, steer and brake the car within its lane, as long as the vehicle is in heavy traffic, travelling at less than 40km/h, and their eyes remain on the road.

The 2024 Toyota Alphard and Vellfire are available to order now in Japan. Australian launches are yet to be confirmed.

MORE:Search Used Toyota Cars for Sale
MORE:Search Used Toyota Cars for Sale

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

Read more about Alex MisoyannisLinkIcon

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