Published on October 27th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Toyota Alphard Used MPV Buy Review
Probably the most sought after family vehicle in the country
For most car buyers looking for the ‘right’ MPV to buy, they seek the advice of current MPV owners and the odd motoring write-up. In this article we hope to have a guide in helping you make the right decision without much worry or regret.
So which MPV should you buy? The reconditioned ‘USED’ luxury MPV buyers do not need our advice as they buy their vehicles based on emotional needs or the need to show their neighbors and friends their asset value. Point, how many Alphard drivers have just 1 toddler or child and a maid inside? They drive around most of the day alone in their large MPV and the are just moving a large van/bus around in tight city traffic when all they need is a sedan or a compact MPV at the most. Now for the free advice.
There are a number of options available in the used car market and we offer some advice to you. Let us start with what you need. Engine size should be less than 3,000cc for sensible yearly road tax (this is why the better equipped Nissan ELGrand 3.5 is often ignored). Fuel efficiency should be good and it would be great if there was a loan available (which means not too old and a popular brand).
The Toyota Alphard is a luxury MPV produced by the Japanese automaker Toyota since 2002. It was sold as a seven or eight-seater with 2.4-liter engine (initially) and then a 3.0-litre petrol engine in 2 different versions, the Alphard G, and the Alphard V arrived to get Malaysians excited.
The Toyota Alphard is the brand’s luxury 8-seater Multi-Purpose Vehicle or MPV. This MPV challenges the Nissan Elgrand and Honda Elysion which have better quality interiors but have big, thirsty and expensive to maintain engines. In this Toyota Alphard review we are going to focus on the first generation model which was produced between the year 2002 and 2008.
What We Suggest
The 3-litre version that uses a V6 1MZ-FE engine which is also featured inside the Lexus RX300 SUV which means wear and tear parts and maintenance is easy and inexpensive for its segment. The instrument cluster is black with white backlighting. The infotainment system is mostly in Japanese and until recently you will be able to get local radio stations. Most first owner would have changed the head-unit by now. However, there are some who invested in technical modifications to get our local radio stations and so it looks nice and flushed with the rest of the dashboard. The middle row of seats comes with 2 ISOFIX points and on some models the seats can rotate to face the third row seats.
Looking at a year 2003 2.4-liter Alphard that comes with a 4-cylinder 16-valve VVT-I engine that is good for 160bhp and just 195Nm of torque might be a little lethargic with a full load when driving interstate or climbing a steep hill with a full load. So do not expect a fast smooth revving MPV. In city traffic it is good to transport 7 adults and on a long weekend holiday it will do the job but will need time to get up to illegal speeds on the highway. The asking price for a year 2002-2004 used registered Alphard is around RM40,000 or so today.
We suggest you look at the 2006-2007 model 3.0-liter Alphard that comes with V6 24-valve engine that produces a decent 220bhp and 310Nm of torque. This might be a little thirstier and the yearly road tax is higher, however in the long run you get family vehicle with better highway running and actually, on long distance drives you get lower fuel usage.
What To Look For
This is the tricky part. Now, we suggest strongly you look for a one owner (in Malaysia) unit as in the past 4-5 years we have seen many used 2002-2009 Alphard’s being used as transport vehicles for long distance travel, high end taxis for airport arrivals, hotel guest’s pickup and also overland travel and tour vehicles for wealthy foreign tourists. This are the units that have been abused, not well looked after with worn interiors and re-wound mileage to persuade you to part with your money.
Cheap does not mean a bargain when buying used Alphard. First, buy a one or two owner unit with at least 2-3 years of maintenance records provided. No records, walk away. Second, used car dealers can easily change or re-upholster interiors to fool you. Third, check for worn door panels, foot pedals, buttons on the dashboard and sun-visors. Fourth, take it for a slow test drive and listen for noises in the cabin (creaks and groans) and from the utter reliable engine.
It is best to get a trusted mechanic to check the used Alphard for you. Pictured here is an example of an Alphard that we would want to visit for a buyer. Looks genuinely like a single owner vehicle from the pictures as the interior matches the door panels and its age. The price seems reasonable if all mentioned facts are true and you will enjoy an easy 5-8 years of family friendly motoring.