The Toyota Alphard and its immediate sibling Vellfire has amassed some 3,000 units since UMW Toyota Motor started distributing it, from 2016. For the 2018 model year, both models have received upgrades and improvements, including a new engine and transmission.

2018 Toyota Alphard: A MPV you can’t miss on the road

As before, the Alphard is available in two variants: the Alphard 3.5 Executive Lounge and the Alphard 3.5. Both variants now come with the new 2GR-FKS 3.5-liter V6 engine and advanced 8-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission. On an interesting note, the Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide (VVT-iW) system provides high torque from low to high rpm ranges. It uses the Atkinson cycle to enhance fuel economy and the Otto cycle for power. Other highlights comprise an Auto Stop & Start system and a new exterior element such as center of the grille now projects forward more and has a stepped cross-section.

When viewed from side, the horizontal projector headlights give a distinctive look, while the lower light units feature dual linear light-guiding illumination, as do the signal lights with sequential lighting. From the rear, there’re a three-dimensional L-shaped lights and new combination lights with sequential turn signal. Lastly, new 18-inchers are fitted on the Alphard.

There are five Colors available for the Alphard, including a new paint Graphite Metallic.

Inside, all you’ve come to expect from the ‘aircraft’ cabin are included, such as new soft touch materials, armrest upholstery (synthetic leather with stitching), Semi-aniline leather upholstery (Executive Lounge variant), seat air conditioner (Executive Lounge only), and the familiar woodgrain patterns. VIP and Captain Ottoman seats are fitted on the Alphard and Alphard Exec. Lounge, respectively.

Other new features for the 2018 models include a wireless charger pad for devices with the Qi system and a Digital Full Display Mirror. Instead of using a conventional reflector surface, the high-tech mirror displays images from a camera at the rear of the vehicle on the in-mirror display.

Safety new additions are a Blind Spot Monitor System, Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and a Panoramic View Monitor (PVM).

Vellfiring all the right cylinders

The 2018 Vellfire is endowed with upper and lower parts of the three-dimensional two-part structure at the front, a single ingot-shaped grille, 18-inch aluminium wheels, updated fog light bezels and upper headlights with two square projectors,

Upgrades to the interior are similar to those for the 2018 Alphard, including new ornamentation. The seating has also been upgraded for more comfort and convenience, with power adjustments for the front passenger’s seat as well, plus an ottoman for stretching out on long journeys. A seat air-conditioner provides cooling air that blows up from the cushion as well as through the backrest.

A Wireless Charging Pad is added for good measures in the latest Vellfire, as do a Digital Full Display Mirror and all your essential driver’s assistance systems (Blind Spot Monitor System, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Panoramic View Monitor (PVM).

The 2018 Alphard goes for a starting price of RM429,800, with the Exec Lounge version at RM540,000.