Toyota Vellfire Elegance: Like a King

There are countless luxury sedans around in the market for as long as we can remember – from your ultra-luxurious S-Classes to the road-dominating Phantom. But as luxurious as these high-end rollers are, they are ultimately not your ideal choice as multi-purpose, multi-functional family movers. I mean, you probably wouldn’t drive a Phantom to the beach or the wet market, would you?

And this is exactly why the new Toyota Vellfire attracted our attention – it may just be an ordinary Japanese make in the market, but it rides well, feels superb, and is way much bigger than perhaps your Phantom with all compartments wide open.

Exterior

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The exterior of the Vellfire isn’t exactly the highlight of this MPV. We dare name it one of its kind, simply because the only few cars we felt worthy of comparing were the Nissan Elgrand or perhaps the new Mercedes-Benz V-Class.

Yes, we admit that the looks of the Vellfire does taking a bit of getting used to. It isn’t the nicest in the MPV niche, not to mention the motoring market, but we thought it looked way better than its Alphard brother.

For the uninformed, the Vellfire and the Alphard rides on the same chassis, has the same heart and houses the same comfortable seats and consoles. So what’s the difference? Its looks. The Alphard presents a bigger and wider mouth compared to the sleeker and sharper front façade of the Vellfire.

Toyota emphasizes on the “impactful” expressions of the Vellfire’s front grille, even though we felt that it was a little bit too huge. But putting that aside, the Japanese marque’s design of its enhanced daytime running lamps definitely strikes a sleek balance especially when you view it head-on at night.

While it resembles a van, you will appreciate the extension of the MPV’s wheelbase by 50 mm over its predecessor, even though the interior feels way too spacious for you to feel that significant 50 mm.

Interior

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While most MPVs emphasize on ferrying 7 full adults, the Vellfire provides first-class luxury by providing comfortable space for only six adults – two per row. Its second row seats come padded with Captain and Ottoman seats, offering that unprecedented luxury for your supposed VIPs.

In accordance with the mood that you wish to set, the Vellfire offers you 16 colour choices to select for the ambient LED lighting trailing the roof of this giant.

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And of course, should you choose to ride like a king, the Vellfire allows you to extend your seating position, from reclining backwards to lifting the foot rest – all made possible with just two simple switches by the side of the armrest.

From the driver’s point of view, the Vellfire does feel like a giant, and the uninitiated to such vehicle sizes will probably have issues maneuvering this 4.9 metres long luxury carrier, despite the fact that you have that visual advantage over everyone else.

Up front, Toyota presents you  their special capacitive touch panel switches on the air-conditioning panel, allowing you to sink into the world of futuristic technology and doing away with the older-fashioned click buttons or knobs.

In addition to Toyota’s new InTouch infotainment system offering navigation, audio, as well as reverse camera functions, the Vellfire gives you the option of playing DVD or movies for your rear passengers by means of a flip-down DVD screen. It unfortunately looks a little plasticky in our opinion, but hey, we ain’t going to complain when we’re fed with such luxuries.

For the huge boot space that Toyota promises, we have to highlight that for all three rows to stand upright, you don’t get more than 50 litres of space, insufficient for even a full-sized luggage, unless you stand them upright.

The Drive

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You would expect this 2.5 tonne car to experience some kind of lag on it, but surprisingly, we felt minimal of such drags when it came to the performance of this MPV.

Under the hood (or the lack thereof given its front anti-aerodynamic design) lies Toyota’s new 2.5 litre Dual VVT-I plant, putting out 179 horses and 235 Nm of torque. We must stress, though, that you should never put this car to the 0-100 km/h test, although the paper states that it can complete the century sprint in just 11.3 seconds, at the expense of your passengers’ comfort.

If driven gently, the Vellfire offers perhaps the best comfort any MPV can offer in its class, especially for the second row passengers. This giant cruises over the roughest of roads and conquers the usual potholes with such ease you think it just ran over an ant.

Similar to most luxury sedans, the Vellfire gives you top-notch insulation. You don’t hear much of the engine at all unless you push the needle up to perhaps the 7,000 rpm line. The smooth CVT runs seamlessly through the numbers on the speedometer, as per all other Toyota models.

Conclusion

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If you’re a chrome lover, you will love the Vellfire/Alphard design – it has sufficient chrome to act as your dressing mirror in the morning.

But if you don’t take a liking to the unique design of the Vellfire, perhaps you could try seeking comfort in its interior, which was what we felt was remarkable, impressive, and indeed top-notch luxury for a Japanese make.

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We like:

The comfort and luxury you get, especially in the second-row VIP seats.

We don’t like: 

It does feel a little too huge for comfort from the driver’s perspective.

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