It’s ta-ta, Tarago; and a big hello to the Granvia. ‘Big’ being the operative word, for at more than five metres long, almost two metres tall, and tipping the scales at more than two-and-a-half tonnes, the new Toyota people-mover is no shrinking Violet.
While the Tarago paid its dues in the people mover market for 36 years, the Granvia takes the vehicle far beyond the friendly family transporter into the high-end hospitality and corporate buyers who appreciate style, cabin comfort and premium features.
The Granvia has six or eight seats, quality cabin and advanced safety systems that take the vehicle into modern minibus territory.
Available in two specification levels – Granvia and Granvia VX – the entry-level six-seater comes to market for $62,990, plus on-road costs, while the range-topping VX six and eight seaters share the $74,990 price tag.
All make us of the same engine, a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel, mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. The six-seater flagship VX was on test.
Forget the run-of-the-mill people movers such as the Carnival, Odyssey and assorted Mercs and VWs, Granvia has a style all of its own. The radiator sets the trend with a truck-like grille with chrome finish.
The slab sides enable sliding doors on either side to open and shut smoothly, under electric power in the VX, while large windows let in lots of light to highlight the light-coloured upholstery the test VX and give all six occupants an expansive view of the passing scenery.
A high-lift tailgate opens up to give access to the cargo area – but more of that later. Up-to-the-minute touches, including auto LED headlights, taillights, fog lamps and daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, and chrome garnishes add premium touches to proceedings.
Comfort and convenience take top billing in the Granvia VX cabin. The six-seater features a spacious rear cabin with four individual captain’s chairs with armrests, reclining backrests and a sliding seat base of more than 50 cm ensuring easy access and the ability to accommodate a variety of passengers in comfort.
The four captain’s chairs, along with the driver’s seat, are all power-operated with the rear seats incorporating a power ottoman leg rest, adjustable headrest and solid armrests with all seats finished in a luxe quilted leather-accent upholstery.
Further welcome additions include keyless smart entry and start, front and rear climate control, rear sun shade blinds, nanoe dehumidifier, leather-accented / woodgrain-look steering wheel, synthetic leather / woodgrain-look door trim, front and rear, 12-volt accessory sockets and six rear USB power points.
A 7-inch touchscreen display takes in satellite navigation with SUNA live traffic, Bluetooth connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus 12-speaker Pioneer audio with AM / FM / digital radio and CD player.
Voice recognition and Siri Eyes Free are available and Aux and one front and six rear USB ports make up the options.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
As befits a people moving limo, the Granvia is powered by a refined 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine that delivers 130 kW of power at 3400 rpm and 450 Nm between 1600 and 2400 rpm to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
Toyota says, thanks to stop / start engine system, fuel consumption is just 8 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined urban / highway cycle, while emitting 211 g/km carbon dioxide.
All Granvias tap into Toyota Safety Sense driver assistance features, which include pre-collision safety system with pedestrian detection (day and night) and cyclist detection (day only), high-speed active cruise control; lane departure alert; road sign assist; and automatic high beam.
Other advanced safety inclusions are blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera with guidelines, panoramic view monitor, auto-dimming digital rear-view mirror and nine airbags.
The beefy Granvia takes up a good ‘acreage’ on the road and has a wide 12 metre turning circle, so a clear view all round is important. Front and sides are okay but it runs into trouble behind, with the plush seats blocking the majority of the rear window.
And, while entry and exit through the two automatic sliding side doors is made easier by the up to 50 cm opening, while access to the rear luggage area is a different matter. The absence of power to the liftgate makes opening and closing a hefty task.
On the move, there’s little fault to the Granvia, apart from pedestrian take-off. Things look up as the minibus stretches its legs. Wind noise intrudes at higher speeds and watch the speed on tight bends – understeer and body roll are twin traps for the unwary.
Pulling up is safely taken care of large ventilated discs on each wheel, with twin-pot callipers up front and single calliper brakes on the rear. Braking system is backed up by a range of technologies including anti-lock brakes, vehicle stability control, traction control, hill-start assist and trailer sway control.
Also on board is an electronically-controlled limited-slip diff that applies the brakes to individual wheels to ensure drive torque is delivered to the rear wheel with the most grip.
I cannot see many Granvias parked in the average suburban driveway, let alone tucked away in garages. They are more likely to be on duty on premium hotel forecourts. However, for those who are loath to leave the comfort of the lounge, the VX ticks the majority of boxes.
AT A GLANCE
Granvia 6-seat $62,990
Granvia 8-seat $64,990
Granvia VX 6-seat $74,990
Granvia VX 8-seat $74,990
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota Granvia VX 2.8L turbocharged, 4-cylinder diesel, 6sp automatic, RWD, people mover)
Capacity: 2.755 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 130 kW @ 3400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 450 Nm @ 1600-2400 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.0 L/100km
CO2 emissions 211 g / km
DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5300 mm
Wheelbase: 3210 mm
Width: 1970 mm
Height: 1990 mm
Turning Circle: 12.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 2605 kg (6 seat)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 70 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres