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2020 Toyota Granvia VX: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A big box on wheels that has luxury inside. Toyota has taken the HiAce LCV that was updated in 2019, and given it a makeover on the inside, and a light tickle outside. In Granvia or Granvia VX specification, it can be fitted with either a six or eight seater configuration. We drove the VX with the six seats.

How Much Does It Cost?: Toyota’s website gives an area dependent costing. The Granvia in Ebony Pearl is circa $68,360, and with Crystal Pearl, Silver pearl, or Graphite is circa $68,990. Bump to VX spec and there’s $81,560 to $82,200.

Under The Bonnet Is: A 2.5L diesel, packing 130kW and a torque figure of 450Nm. That’s a peak available across a very narrow band of revs; 1,600rpm to 2,400rpm, to be precise. Powering the rear wheels via a six speed auto, economy is rated as 8.0L/100km on the combined cycle. Our final figure was 8.6L/100km. Given a dry mass of 2.6 tonnes, that’s an agreeable figure, and one that could be shaving a few bits here and there with a more modern eight or nine speed.On The Outside It’s: A box on wheels and there’s no disguising that fact. There are 5,300mm of length, 1,990mm, and 1,940mm of height and width that come into play, and with around 1,750mm from the leading edge to the beginning of the flat roof…well…it’s a box on wheels.

Up front there is a broad grin of chrome that replaces yet follows the lines of what is seen on the HiAce. Four horizontal chrome strips replace the two on the donor vehicle. The rear has a similar styling and broader taillights. In profile the Granvia has centre and rear glass, no panels as seen on the HiAce, and each side has a powered sliding door. The rear door is manually operated. Initially this seemed like an oversight however given the layout for the six seats….but, still…..Wheels are multi-spoked alloys and have Bridgestone Duravis rubber at 235/60/17.

On The Inside It’s: A curious mix of luxury and the basic structure of the donor van. There is gorgeous wood paneling in the door trims, passenger dash, and on the top of a truly dowdy looking centre console section, with plastic of that really basic look and feel. Yet it sits between and ahead of a total of six leather seats, with heating all round, and powered recliners in the middle. The second and third row seats slide, and this again raises a query about the non powered rear door, as it could allow entry and exit from that third row.The driver’s section has a seven inch touchscreen, piano black trim, and analogue dials in the VX. Again, it’s a missed opportunity where a LCD insert would have added just that little bit more of extra class. There are a few tabs for items such as the parking sensors and night light adjustment for the screen, and four that have no apparent use. The Drive selector is console mounted and there is manual shifting.The side powered doors have roll up/down window shades, and to activate the sliding mechanism it’s a soft touch push/pull on the door handles inside and out. Or there’s remote opening and closing from the key fob. Safety is covered with very audible beeping as the doors open or close.

Convenience is looked after by having USB ports for the rear rows, a separate air-conditioning system with controls on the roof behind the front seats, and cup holders for each seat. Each rear row seat also has its own map-light.On The Road It’s: Nice to drive up to freeway speeds. Above the legal limit it’s missing a key factor: confidence. There’s something about the way the Granvia VX is set up that has it feeling just fine until freeway velocities are called for. It’s simply doesn’t feel….right… it was the oddest sensation and one that couldn’t put our finger on. The speedo would indicate 110, 115, and it effectively then communicated “don’t go faster”. It was impossible to tell if it was a stability issue, the sensation of being seated at the height the driver is, the steering ratio that was fine at suburban velocities but not faster…..annoying? Mightily.

The steering is nicely weighted, and allows for easy three point turns. Navigating suburban roads, even with the near two metre width and 5.3 metre length, was also easy. helping matters was the relaxed attitude of the diesel, with that 450Nm peak torque barely above idle. The auto is typical Toyota with a swift and slick change, and holds gear for downhill runs. Manual changing makes no real difference in this part of the drive experience. The brakes are a touch grabby at times, meaning a gentler foot was required, and a softer press meant earlier braking. And here too a minor hiccup; retardation feedback wasn’t entirely forthcoming, with judgement of where the pedal needed to be pull the Granvia up not always corresponding to the rate the Granvia would pull up. Compounding the drive was the engine power reduction from the Active Yaw Control. This comes in when the Granvia VX would move across the road and cross white lines. This quickly became, in our eyes, a safety issue as the sudden power loss would slow the Granvia and gave rise to a potential impact from the rear. the other is that although thes eats would recline, in upright positions the rear view mirror was full of seats, not a clear rear glass.

What About Safety?: Safety is comprehensive. 9 airbags including both front seats, driver’s knee, front curtain shield x 2, rear curtain shield x 2, side airbag x 2. Blind Spot Alert, Lane Departure Alert, and Pre-collision alert with cyclist and pedestrian sensing make for a very good package.

What About Warranty And Service?: five years warranty and capped price servicing for the Granvia VX. Follow the service schedule and warranty goes out to seven years. Service intervals are six months or 10,000 kilometres with a cost (as of May, 2020) of $245.
At The End Of The Drive. It’s an absolutely ideal vehicle to be used as a courier of the well heeled from hotel to airport, from rock concert to hotel. The seats really are beautifully comfortable, and with a six seater configuration there’s room and flexibility aplenty. Around town it’s a doddle to drive. The downsides of the centre console and dash look and feel, plus the nervousness above 100kph hold the Granvia VX firmly in place as a suburban utility and a lovely one to be in. Check it out for yourself here.