Look beyond the gigantic grilles and you might just notice a pair of minivans. Jokes aside, Toyota has unveiled the fourth-generation Alphard alongside the Vellfire. These follow the recently introduced posh Lexus LM, a mechanically related vehicle based on the same TNGA-K platform. We're dealing with the first Toyota models to have steps on both left and right sliding doors, with a step emerging about 220 millimeters (8.6 inches) above ground.

The boxy minivans are 4995 mm (196.6 in) long and share a massive wheelbase stretching at 3000 mm (118.1 in). Both are 1850 mm (72.8 in) wide while height depends on the model and trim level, either 1935 mm (76.2 in) or 1945 mm (76.5 in). The Alphard and Vellfire can seat up to six people in a 2+2+2 layout with second-row captain's chairs. There's now an extra 5 mm (0.2 in) between the first two rows and an additional 10 mm (0.4 in) between the second and third rows.

2024 Toyota Alphard and Vellfire

Toyota's new boldly styled people movers are touted as being "luxury saloons" and share a massive overhead console stretching from front to rear. It incorporates ventilation, side lighting, and an assortment of controls. The Alphard and Vellfire use the company’s first pull-down sunshades and newly developed seats that promise to be more comfortable by reducing vibrations.

Rigidity is up by 50 percent thanks to the new architecture, while the extra sound-deadening material and specific tires reduce the noise that enters the cabin. Toyota installs a MacPherson strut front suspension and a revised double wishbone rear. Owners will be able to park the vehicle remotely by using a smartphone app.

Both can be had with front- or all-wheel drive as well as a hybrid powertrain, with a plug-in hybrid setup to be added later. The most powerful of the bunch is a turbocharged 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine available in the Vellfire. "Tuned to deliver a sporty sound," it makes 275 hp (205 kilowatts) and 316 pound-feet (430 Newton-meters) of torque.

Customers can also pick a hybrid based on a 2.5-liter gasoline engine with a combined output of 250 hp (184 kW). Lesser Alphard models have a non-electrified, naturally aspirated 2.5-liter, four-cylinder unit with 180 hp (134 kW) and 173 lb-ft (235 Nm). Depending on the engine, the minivans come with a CVT, an e-CVT, or an eight-speed automatic.

2024 Toyota Vellfire
2024 Toyota Vellfire

Toyota projects it'll sell 8,500 units per month, with the Alphard accounting for 70 percent and Vellfire the other 30 percent. Pricing varies from 5,400,000 yen to 8,720,000 yen (about $38,000 to $61,400) for the Alphard and from 6,550,000 yen to 8,920,000 yen ($46,100 to $62,800) for the Vellfire.

The minivans can not only be purchased outright but also temporarily owned through the KINTO subscription service, from 50,490 yen ($355) a month for the Alphard and 63,800 yen ($449) for the Vellfire. The models are already available to order in Japan.

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