The majestic Toyota Alphard

Thursday June 28 2018

Although its fuel consumption is a bit high,

Although its fuel consumption is a bit high, the Alphard’s exterior is classy and elegant and will get you noticed on the road. NET Photo 

By Mustafa Ziraba

While many manufacturers champion the SUV as the luxury people mover of choice, Toyota elected the Alphard to deliver something that other SUVs will never be able to catch up on; space. The Alphard is primarily made for the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) but as with most cars, it is sold in Uganda as a second hand car. With model years 2002 through to 2008, the first generation Alphard was Toyota’s answer to the Nisan Elgrand, the Honda and eventually discontinued Honda Elysion.

The Alphard is rather good looking despite its boxy shape. It might not win any design award, but it is certainly prettier than most of the competition such as the Elgrand from the same generation. However, being a big car, finding suitable parking spaces might be a problem not mentioning maneuvering it in tight spaces.

The Alphard is the kind of car made for people who want to travel with their family in comfort. There is enough room for everyone to sit comfortably on both short and long trips. Most Alphards come with cloth upholstery or leather. All the buttons on the dash are set in true Toyota fashion and the driver’s seat is positioned in such a way that it offers good visibility. There are also several storage spaces, and in the back, there is room for two adults. However, if these seats are occupied, it leaves small boot space and the only way to get bigger space in the boot is to have these seats folded or push forward the third row seat which might be inconveniencing.

Driving dynamics
The Alphard’s suspension is tuned for comfort and shall swallow several kilometres at a hasty rate, but a slight turn of the steering shall alarmingly remind the driver of the high centre of gravity with the high levels of body roll in corners. This kind of suspension setting though provides a cushy ride. The brakes feels mushy and rather strong which could be an issue for some.
The Alphard is heavy and the centre of gravity is high so braking from high speed is rather scary. Alphard typically comes with a 2.4L inline 4 or 3L V6 engines. Both engines have good punch to them with good levels of torque and overall power for city driving though the 3L is better in every way save for the higher fuel consumption.

The Alphard is quite reliable. Both engine configurations are shared with other cars so most service parts are available. You may also find the non-service parts in used car parts markets such as Kisekka and Ndeeba though these may attract a premium due to the fact that the Alphard is considered a luxury car.

Price and resale value
The Alphard ranges between Shs27m and Shs32m. Its resale value is not bad though most buyers are very conscious about the number plate series. An Alphard with an old series depreciates faster and poor fuel consumption does not help matters. The Alphard’s resale values ranges between Shs17m and Shs22m.
The Alphard is primarily designed as a people mover. It shall make a lot of sense to people who have large families and are looking for a certain level of comfort while travelling. The acquisition price is not prohibitive for what you get. Being a Toyota you are promised years of reliability. The biggest downside is the high fuel consumption.

Safety features
The safety features are meant not only for those riding in the Alphard but also the pedestrians who might come across in the event of accident. Thus it is ultimate premium safety for everyone. The safety features include: special technology for reducing injury to pedestrians, clearance and back sonar, Omni directional compatibility body structure, vehicle stability control, adaptive front lightning system and multi-mode automatic transmission.