Toyota Alphard

Used to be that if you wanted a luxury automobile – especially one to be chauffeured around in – your choices were basically limited to a sedan. It could be bigger or smaller, more or less expensive, depending on your needs and budget, but it was always going to have four doors and a trunk. But these days the rich and famous are looking elsewhere for their commodious forms of pampering transportation. There are, of course, the crossovers and SUVs, which only seem to be getting bigger and more expensive thanks to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Range Rover L and upcoming Bentley sport-ute. But luxury vans are becoming the new big thing.

That's the point that one dealer in Japan is trying to make to Toyota. The dealership owner himself reasons that if he's going out on the town, he's likely to take his chauffeured Lexus LS. But if he's taking a few friends along, even the biggest sedan isn't going to cut it. So he takes a Toyota Alphard (pictured above, also known as the Vellfire), a JDM van that's even bigger than a Voxy/Noah or Sienna but hardly a high-end affair. That's why he's asking Lexus to make a luxury van.

The idea may seem a little far-fetched, but isn't without precedent. It didn't take much for Lexus to transform the Land Cruiser into the LX and thus create its first luxury SUV. And as Mercedes has shown with pimped-out versions of the Sprinter and now with the debut of the new V-Class in Geneva, there's clearly a market for it... in some countries, anyway. The only question in our minds is how long it's going to take other luxury automakers to catch on, because let's face it: the Chrysler Town & Country ain't gonna cut it for those used to be driven around in a Maybach.

Should Lexus make a luxury van?
Absolutely.3126 (38.4%)
No way.2679 (32.9%)
Maybe, but not for sale here.1334 (16.4%)
I'd have to see how it turned out to decide.995 (12.2%)