|Photos courtesy of Toyota Press|
Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) placed another feather on its cap by launching a minor refresh of its superb Alphard luxury minivan amidst the busy holiday shopping season at the Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City.
Already deemed the best Premium Van and MPV of the Year at the 2010-2011 Car of the Year – Philippines (CoTY – P), the new Alphard does not mess with the tried and tested formula of blending luxury and spaciousness. Instead, it now gains more style with a new front grille with four prominent chrome slats, projector-type headlamps with washers, alloy wheel design and re-shaped bumpers.
Named after a star in the constellation Hydra, the Alphard has been a bright and shining star within the Toyota line-up, selling more than 280 units since its launch. Following the design motif of “majestic flagship”, the Alphard boasts of a choice between two powerful yet fuel-efficient engines: the 2AZ-FE 2.4-liter 4-cylinder 16-valve and the 2GR-FE 3.5-liter 6-cylinder 24-valve. Equipped with Toyota’s VVT-i technology, these engines push out 167 PS and 275 PS respectively while meeting strict Euro 4 emission standards. The 4-cylinder variant is mated to a 4-speed automatic while the 6-cylinder version has a 6-speed automatic.
Inside, the Alphard comfortably seats 7 people thanks to its generous dimensions (LxWxH: 4,850 mm x 1,830 mm x 1,905 mm) and wheelbase (2,950 mm). The front and second-row seats feature powered actuation with a luxurious ottoman configuration for those sitting on the second row. Natural leather covers all rows while generous wood paneling gives a spacious and homey feel. Dual moon roofs that span the entire length of the cabin also come as standard as do powered opening/closing sliding doors and tailgate and tri-zone climate control. For long drives, the Alphard serves high-fidelity entertainment through its 10-speaker system. The 4-cylinder variant has a 6-disc in-dash CD/MP3 changer with an auxiliary audio jack and Bluetooth hands-free call functions. Meanwhile, the 6-cylinder has a more sophisticated audio system featuring a NXT navigation system along with DVD and USB playback.
In the safety front, the all Alphard variants come with an array of both active and passive safety features. The projector-type headlamps feature active swiveling High-Intensity Discharge (HID) low beams with automatic light control. The wipers also feature rain-sensing technology. The Alphard also has 7 airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electric brake force distribution (EBD). And to maneuver through tight spaces, clearance and reversing sensors on both front and back.
As of press time, the Alphard’s list price remains unchanged: P 2.790-million for the 2.4-liter A/T and P 2.980-million for the 3.5-liter A/T (additional P 15,000 for the White Pearl color for both variants).
The Toyota Alphard, like its namesake, is a constant reminder of Toyota Motor Philippines’s strong presence in the automotive market. So appropriately, TMP has also announced some milestones from their 2011 operations.
Despite having its supply chain hampered because of the Great East Japan Earthquake in March and the recent floods in Thailand, operations at the Sta. Rosa plant has now been normalized. In fact, production has resumed its two-shift operation since November 28. TMP has also achieved several milestones during the second semester. They have achieved 700,000 units of accumulated sales last September, its largest single-month sales of 5,895 units last October and record-breaking commercial vehicle sales of 4,293 units last November. All in all, they are on track to net yet another Triple Crown achievement—the tenth consecutive year it has done so.
As Toyota Motor Philippines winded down a challenging 2011, it is looking at 2012 with bold ambitions. Starting with the refreshed Alphard, TMP will be offering a slew of new and refreshed vehicles within the year. Indeed, something to look forward to in the Year of the Dragon.