Author – Ritin Paul
Intro: At first glance, it will remind you of the Innova Crysta, but make no mistake, the dimensions say otherwise, at 5m in length and 1.85m wide, it does command attention and has a serious amount of road presence. It does look like the glam-vans often being used by celebs. Speaking of vans and MPV’s, one cannot forget the Innova which has proved its mettle and has been the champion in the MPV segment, but things are getting hotter in this spectrum of the industry with the Innova Crysta and Kia’s brand new entrant the Carnival. So it was imminent for brand Toyota to deploy some new schemes to rake in required volumes in this segment. Well, they have, the Vellfire does just that, it is uber-luxurious and will be a serious contender to the Mercedes V-class.
Exterior: When it comes to MPV’s, all cars carry a similar character. The Vellfire, on account of its imposing size and futuristic looks, does stand out and has serious road presence. First impressions then, it is a boxy panel van, the front does have a bold outlook, there is a lot of chrome in use but that might not appeal to everybody, the overdose of chrome, however, does give the Vellfire a lot of road presence. The overall poise and angles give the Vellfire a cool look, the edgy treatment goes well with the overall silhouette of the car. The badges and the door handles also have chrome, and so does the roofline. There is also a chrome strip running across the tailgate. The taillights have a triangular design, the overall appearance of the Vellfire inclines to being a car that scores high on style.
Interior: Enter the cabin and you will be taken aback by the vast amount of space on offer. To be honest, it feels palatial, sturdy grab handles ensure getting into the car is easy, you get grab handles at the back of the front seats which ensure exit is fuss-free. The seats are more like recliners and that ensures the Vellfire scores high on comfort. The large cushiony seats are wrapped in leather and offer great lumbar support. The interior does appear like a Lexus primarily because of top-notch materials. The middle row captain seats are the talking point about the Vellfire, the cabin creates the perfect experience for business meetings. The armrest flips open to reveal a control panel through which you can choose the perfect seat setting. The backrest angle and the length of the powered leg rests can be altered conveniently. The seats offer heating and cooling, that coupled with trays, cup holders and a screen compatible with your smartphone, all which call for a leisurely experience. Chances are you will be chauffeur-driven, and the back is where you would wish to indulge in the Vellfire’s ecstatic luxury. The last row of seats is not uncomfortable, the mid-row seats can be pushed in front for decent legroom, you will also find dedicated air vents at the rear. There is no compromise on the front row seats either, they too come with heating and cooling functions. The driver can control the navigator seat to ensure maximum space to the captain seat behind. However, there are a few pitfalls when it comes to fit and finish of materials around the center console.
Features: High on technology the Vellfire will not disappoint on the feature list, for starters – ambient lighting, smartphone connectivity, and reading lights call for a sublime cabin experience. The middle seats missing on the massage function is a letdown. Other features include – LED headlamps with cornering function, two sunroofs, and a 17 speaker JBL system. The Vellfire is equipped with seven airbags and comes with ABS and EBD. On offer is a panoramic view monitor and parking assist as well.
Drive – On offer is a 2.5-liter petrol engine churning out 87bhp @ 4700 rpm. The Vellfire has a peak torque output of 198Nm between 3,000-4,000 rpm mark. Don’t go just by that as the Toyota Vellfire hybrid electric is also equipped with two electric motors, both at the front and rear. They account for making 105 kW and 50 kW respectively. The total output then comes out to be around 200 bhp, not bad, isn’t it? The front wheels are driven via an e-CVT gearbox but available also is the electronic 4WD system. This is ideal when you are at higher speeds. The Vellfire is quick to build speed, incredible for a two-tonne MPV. Even when fully laden, the Vellfire does not struggle and gracefully builds up speed. Cabin noise is minimal, mainly on account of the super-refined engines. On short distances, you can also run completely on the EV system, provided you are gentle on throttle. The ride is on the stiffer side, and might not feel as agile as a German SUV or sedan.
Should you have one: So the question is, is it better than the V-class? Well to nitpick, you don’t get charging point at the back and miss out on massage function. The Vellfire will be completely imported which means it will be pricey too. If you are willing to spend Rupees 80-90 lakh on a car that won’t disappoint you on style and comfort, the Vellfire for sure won’t disappoint. The question remains is it worth the money? Well, the brand name might not justify, but remember this, when it comes to reliability, nothing feels as reassuring as a Toyota.