Toyota’s fourth-generation Alphard (and its Vellfire sister) has made its long-awaited official debut in Malaysia. UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) will offer two options for the country’s most popular luxury van: the Alphard and the Vellfire. The bigger selling Alphard 2.4T Executive Lounge, costs RM538,000 on the road.
Sitting on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, the new model gets a new flagship powerplant—namely a 2.4-liter four-cylinder turbo engine that pumps out 278 ps and 430nm of torque. With economy hovering around 17.5km/litre and a top speed of 180 km/h, the Alphard also employs an 8-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters.
Dimensions-wise, the Alphard is a touch longer than before at 5,010 mm, but the 1,850 mm width and 3,000 mm wheelbase are unchanged. Height remains at 1,950 mm. Why did it stay the same size? That’s simple—it needs to be able to fit easily into Japan’s standard automated parking structures that will not take anything larger than a BMW X5.
Although the outgoing Alphard is a highly luxurious vehicle, this one moves to a whole new level. Let’s look at the cabin first, which has a very Lexus feel to it in terms of materials and design, before moving on to the rest of the rear passenger space. Smooth and silky material covers every contact point, and the “Premium Nappa Leather” is noticeably more supple than the outgoing model.
A 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and head-up display are visible, but the dashboard’s focal point is the 14-inch touchscreen that merges the controls for the air-con and seat ventilation/heating. This manufacturing unit is far superior to the UMWT double-DIN of the previous generation in terms of both functionality and design. Wireless charging, a 15-speaker JBL sound system, and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included.
The seats at Alphard EL are a real treat. In addition to the ottoman seats, with their protruding footrests, this minivan also gets personal tables with vanity mirrors that stow in the armrest, a detachable smartphone-like remote control (audio, climate, 64-color roof lighting, seats), and a relaxing power recline with a massaging function. Adding greatly to the airplane-style sense of occasion are the glass roof panels, bisected by a panel that has a 14-inch screen, two flip-down sunglass bins, lights, controls, and air-con vents.
For sure, the new Alphard is more luxurious, more refined, and better equipped, but its ride quality and NVH have been improved significantly as well. The Alphard 2.4T Executive Lounge is not cheap at RM538,000 but you certainly get a lot for your money.