Click above for a gallery of the new Toyota Alphard and Vellfire
Six years after Toyota's luxury minivan, the Alphard, hit Japanese (and a few SE Asian) showrooms, the company has given its flagship people mover a facelift, and a twin brother. Noting that one in four family cars in Japan are minivans but that the outgoing Alphard appealed more to grandfathers than fathers, the second-gen model remains conservatively styled, while a meaner, more aggressive-looking stablemate, the Vellfire (above), is hoped to grab the attention of Japanese family men in their 30s who have erstwhile bought Nissan Elgrands and Honda Elysions.
The new Alphard (shown at right) is longer, wider and roomier than the outgoing version. Its slightly lower roofline (by 45mm) is offset by a cabin floor that's been lowered 55 mm, so the new van actually boasts more cabin height even though it's not quite as tall as its predecessor. Power comes from either a 170 PS (167 hp) 2.4L four or a 280 PS (276 hp) 3.5L V6 driving the front wheels. In August, a 4WD variant will join the lineup.
While Toyota's press release acknowledges that the new models are a bit spacier and safer than the old one, it neatly ignores the fact that the Alphard Hybrid has been quietly dropped. This could well be the first such occurrence for the company and given the number of eggs Toyota currently has in the hybrid basket, its no surprise that its PR department is doing its best to gloss over the retirement.
So, how long until Modellista cooks up an ultra-snazzy Royal Lounge package for the new vans?
Hit the jump for a video of the Alphard in action. Thanks for the tip, Paul!