The Toyota Alphard is a minivan produced by the Japanese automaker Toyota since 2002. It is available in 7 Seater and 8 seater with petrol and hybrid engine options. Hybrid variants have been available since 2003 and it incorporates Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. The vehicle was named after Alphard, the brightest star in the constellation Hydra.
The Alphard is marketed as a luxury van and is primarily made for the Japanese market, but is also sold in Bangladesh, Belarus, Russia, The Middle East, Greater China and Southeast Asia.
The full-size Alphard Hybrid MPV qualifies as an Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV), achieving emission levels 75% lower than the Japanese government’s year 2000 benchmark. The 2.4-litre petrol engine has been developed specifically for use in Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology and features a high-expansion ratio cycle that raises efficiency and reduces friction.
The Alphard Hybrid uses “by-wire” technology that monitors brake pedal pressure and vehicle speed in order to calculate the optimum hydraulic pressure. By-wire works with the E-Four AWD system to maximize the collection of kinetic energy from braking for conversion into electric power. The Alphard Hybrid can generate up to 1,500 watts and is equipped with 100-volt AC power outlets, to power external appliances such as laptops and emergency lights.
First generation (AH10; 2002–2008)
The Alphard was launched by Toyota in May 2002 to compete against the Nissan Elgrand and Honda Elysion. The Alphard is Toyota’s best selling MPV in Japan. The Alphard was face-lifted in 2005 with new design of rear lamp and use of 16″ and 17″ alumunium alloy wheels. A hybrid version was also added to the lineup. For model year 2007, on Japanese models only, G-BOOK, a subscription telematics service, was offered as an option. The Alphard is also the first Japanese market minivan to feature a laser-guided Adaptive Cruise Control, although only as an option on V6 variants. Actor Jean Reno appeared on Japanese TV commercials for the Toyota Alphard.
In 2006, a Royal Lounge Alphard was introduced. It is a super luxurious, four-seat version of the Alphard and exclusive to Japanese dealerships only. Its traditional competitor from Nissan is the Elgrand.
Second generation (AH20; 2008–2015)
In May 2008, the Alphard was redesigned with a more modern exterior and a more luxurious interior. For this generation, the Alphard line-up was expanded into two different design variants – Alphard and Vellfire. According to Toyota’s press release, the Alphard is described as having an “elegant and sophisticated” design while the Vellfire emphasizes on “strength and strong individuality.” Both models are sold via separate distribution channels, with the Alphard sold by Toyota’s Toyopet dealership chain while the Vellfire is sold at Toyota’s youth oriented Netz dealership chain.
Variants of the Alphard/Vellfire include:
- 240/350X (8 Seater)
- 240 Hybrid
- 350S “C Package”
- 350G “L Package”
- 350G “Premium Seat Package” (Since September 2011)
- Royal Lounge
The second generation Alphard was launched in the Philippines on 3 August 2010.
Since the second generation was introduced, Toyota also makes a sportier version of the Alphard, called the Toyota Vellfire, which was exclusive to “NETZ Store” Japanese dealerships.
The 240/350X variants of the Alphard are the lowest trim levels of the Alphard. It is only offered with eight seats. Standard equipment includes 16-inch steel rims, Xenon projector headlights, 2-DIN stereo, passenger-side power sliding door (driver’s side optional) and fabric bench seats for the middle row.
Only comes with seven seats with second row individual seats with ottomans. Leather seats are optional. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy rims, dual power sliding doors, cruise control, LED soft ambient lighting, dual front parking sensors, rear power sliding sunroof, Tri-zone automatic climate control (individual controls for the rear), 7-inch display with satellite navigation (G-BOOK optional), eight speakers and a rear-seat entertainment system with roof-mounted 10-inch Blu-ray player.
Alphard 240 Hybrid
Same equipment and options list with the 240S. Comes with Toyota’s E-four AWD system. Additional options are power tailgate and a cool box (located between driver’s seat and front passenger seat).
The highest available trim level for the 2.4 engine. Standard equipment includes leather seats, power tailgate, G-BOOK telematics system, Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), NANOE-G air purifier, 8-way powered driver’s seat (with three-person memory) and 6-way powered passenger’s seat with ottoman.
Alphard 350G “L Package”
A more luxurious version of the Alphard 350G. Adds on second row “captain’s” seats with powered reclinable ottomans, 18-speaker home theater surround sound system, 360 degree surround view camera, automatic parking, and an optional Pre-crash active safety system, consisting of dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and autonomous emergency braking.
Alphard 350G “Premium Seat Package”
Same level of equipment with the 350G “L Package”, but adds on its optional equipment as standard. The only change is the second row, which adds on four-way powered heated and ventilated seats, two-person memory, picnic tables and curtains for extra privacy.
Alphard Royal Lounge
This is the top-of-the-line variant. It has no third row seats, only seating four, and the rear seats have a massage function. It features a small divider between the rear passengers and the front seats, like in a limousine. It has larger and plusher seats compared to the Executive Lounge and they are positioned all the way back into where the third row previously was for more legroom. Instead of a roof-mounted Blu-ray player, the Royal Lounge has a 23-inch television mounted on the divider between the front and rear passengers. The television retracts into the divider when not in use.
JNCAP has rated the Alphard a full six stars for occupant crash safety and outstanding safety features. Safety features such as Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake force Distribution, Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control and seven airbags (Dual front, Driver & passenger side airbags, Driver’s knee and curtain airbags) are standard across all variants. Higher end variants offer a first-in-class Pre-Crash system as an option (Only for Japanese models). Features include a radar-guided Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist and Pre-collision Warning with Autonomous Emergency Braking.
A facelift model was announced by Toyota on 27 September 2011, with sales in Japan started from 1 November 2011. Also introduced a hybrid version of both the Alphard and Vellfire.