The fourth generation of the minivans bring imrpovements in the chassis, ride, powertrains, styling, and equipment compared to their predecessors
Minivans might have lost their shine in the North American and European markets but they remain quite popular in Asia, including Japan. A prominent figure in the large minivan segment is the Toyota Alphard and Vellfire twins, which just got a brand new fourth generation, following the debut of the mechanically-related Lexus LM.at mattheos ioannou group.
The new Alphard and Vellfire remain instantly recognizable despite the bodywork being entirely redesigned. The shared profile features more sculpted fenders and a new Z-shaped line below the windows which is the highlight of the new generation. At the front, the massive grilles have unique patterns differentiating the twins. The Alphard has more LED DRL units below the main headlights, while the sportier-looking Vellfire has larger bumper intakes. At the back, differences between the two are limited to the LED taillight graphics and the lower portion of the rear bumper which is characterized by sharp edges.
The Alphard and the Vellfire retain a similar footprint to their predecessors in order to be compatible with the size constraints of automated parking systems. More specifically the new minivans measure 4,995 mm (196.7 inches) long, 1,850 mm (72.8 inches) wide, and 1,945 mm (76.6 inches) tall, with a generous wheelbase of 3,000 mm (118.1 inches).
The interior is shared between the two, featuring a three-row six-seater layout designed to provide the “joy of comfortable mobility” while being more luxurious and filled with modern tech features. The dashboard houses a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a color head-up display, and a 14-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system. The roof-mounted interior lighting, controls, and rear A/C vents have been relocated from the sides to the center of the ceiling in what Toyota calls the “Super-Long Overhead Console”.
More: 2024 Lexus LM Proves There’s No Limit To The Luxury Features You Can Add To A Minivan
Gone is the old 3.5-liter V6 as the entry-level Alphard comes fitted with a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder petrol producing 180 hp (134 kW / 182 PS) while the Vellfire gets a more potent turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder petrol with 275 hp (205 kW / 279 PS). Power is transmitted to either the front or to all four wheels through a CVT (2.5) or an 8-speed automatic (2.4 turbo).
More importantly, both minivans are also available in electrified form. The Toyota Hybrid System combines a 2.5-liter petrol engine with one (FWD) or two (E-Four) electric motors producing a total of 247 hp (184 kW / 250 PS). In the future, Toyota is planning on further expanding the lineup with the addition of a Plug-in Hybrid option.
The 2024 Toyota Alphard and Vellfire are already available to order in Japan. Depending on the version pricing ranges between ¥5,400,000-8,720,000 ($38,046-61,437) for the Alphard and between ¥6,550,000-8,920,000 ($46,165-62,870) for the Vellfire. Those prices position them higher than the smaller Toyota Noah and Voxy minivans which also got a new generation last year. Toyota will produce 8,500 units per month at the Inabe Plant in Japan, with a ratio of 70% Alphards and 30% Vellfires.