– Article/photos by Rod Fuller –
Toyota’s new Granvia VX people mover, based on the HiAce commercial van, is here and ready for business. It offers those needing to quickly (and comfortably) transport up to eight passengers between destinations in a premium vehicle that’s both large and luxurious.
Granvia VX from the outside is visually striking, transforming it’s HiAce roots with clever use of chrome accents/highlights, attractive LED headlamps/tail lamps and 17” alloys. On the inside however, is where the party really starts.
Dominating the premium interior of Granvia VX, as the power operated side doors slide open, are the ‘Ottoman Style’ quilted leather and power reclining Captain’s chairs. These 2nd row seats are incredibly comfortable, just like ‘gold class’ seating at the movies. They even have a side table between them!
There’s air vents in the rear for all passengers as well as separate air-conditioning controls for the rear compartment and dimmable reading lights for the 2nd and 3rd rows. Six USB outlets are provided in the rear plus one in the front, so no one misses out on charging their device; and if you’re thirsty, there are ten cup holders, two bottle holders provided, plus retractable sun blinds to control glare and increase privacy.
In the six seater Granvia, the 3rd row seats are the same as the 2nd row, except that both rows are heated. In the eight seater the 3rd row Captain’s chairs are manually operated and the 4th row is a foldable bench seat. Suffice to say, in the eight seater, it’s just like seating on a plane, First, Business and Economy, the further forward you are the better the seat and legroom.
All these luxury seats come at a price though and not just the $81K+ drive-away price tag. And the currency is luggage space. In the eight seater there’s no space for luggage at all; so if you want to carry anything along with eight people, you’d be best looking to fit the Toyota genuine towbar (1,500kg braked towing capacity).
Up front, the driver has a commanding view of the road ahead, with a range of view cameras on the seven inch touchscreen display including a ‘panoramic’ view monitor and front and rear sensors for parking. Other electronic driver aids include:-
- Blind Spot Monitoring
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Lane Departure Warning
- Traffic Sign Recognition
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Pre-collision Safety System with Pedestrian and cyclist detection
Granvia VX’s infotainment system has taken a great leap forward with Toyota now embracing Apple Car Play/Android Auto as standard. A 12 speaker Pioneer sound system, controlled through the touchscreen as well as the Sat Nav and Bluetooth connectivity also features.
For the driver, an eight way power adjustable seat is provided, but without lumbar support (a killer on long days at the wheel). Tilt and telescopic adjustable steering helps find a comfortable driving position.
Out on the road, Granvis VX’s ride is smooth, quiet and comfortable on 235/60R17 109/107T LT tyres. A full size spare is also provided. Power comes from the same 2.8lt turbo diesel (130kW/450Nm) that powers both HiAce and Hilux, through a six speed auto-transmission driving the rear wheels.
Engine responsiveness and power delivery is good, whilst (thanks to assistance of the engine stop/start system) maintaining fuel economy at a claimed 8.0lt/100km combined.
Granvia has a five star ANCAP safety rating, with Toyota offering a five year/unlimited km warranty for private buyers and five year/160,000km warranty for commercial/fleet customers. Capped price servicing for up to three years and 24hr/7 day s week roadside assistance is also available.
Toyota seems to have consciously geared the Granvia VX to the corporate business and fleet sectors for commercial use, rather than the retail market. Of course it will still take the family on outings and the kids to soccer practice, and do it in style. But Granvia is not a Tarago, nor does it attempt to be. Granvia VX is a stand out vehicle and a natural progression of the HiAce platform into the fleet market, in the corporate hospitality, hire-car/limousine and transport sectors.