By Sala Masindane
The history and lineage of the minibuses in South Africa will always include a Toyota model. Whether you are talking about the Hi-Ace or Siyaya, Toyota has always been the people’s carrier. This would include everyday commute to work, school, business shuttle and back home. With this in mind, it was only a matter of time before they made a play for the business-class segment with a vehicle befitting the prestige of that segment. The previous generation Quantum dabbled in that zone, but it was not five-star luxury prioritizing functionality instead. The Quantum VX comes with a totally different approach and we spent time with it to see if it has what it takes to compete with the likes of the Mercedes Benz V-Class or VW Caravelle at the premium scale of the segment.
The Quantum VX is not your typical love at first sight fairytale, but it is worth considering that Toyota has changed the shape of most of its vehicles, and this may take some time to get used too. The Quantum VX does set itself apart from the rest of the range with large chrome-finished radiator grille. These finishes are continued on the door handles, mirrors, and the rear prominent garnish. There are also LED fog lamps as well as headlights in the front with the rear also spotting LED light elements and VX-badging.
The driver gets a multifunctional steering wheel with audio control and the adaptive cruise control functionalities. Also included is the standard 4.2-inch TFT infotainment. This is not class-leading but it’s practical and easy to use.
Ready for take-off? That’s the feeling you get when the sliding doors at the rear open electronically for you to come aboard. Whilst taking that in, you are welcomed by four individual Captains’ chairs with armrests and that fold out ottoman style with leg-rests for those long drives. This is the place to be. There could be more legroom however.
The last row was a bit disappointing for us, as it limits luggage space since there’s no boot to speak of. The last row occupants will feel cramped if the third-row seats are reclined. Nonetheless, all the seats are quilted leather and both the second or third row can be electronically adjusted. Other comfort features that give the rear a more luxurious feel include dual-zone automatic control, individual light reading lamp, cup holder and USB charging port. The wooden finishes across the interior completes the first-class experience of the cabin.
Whilst the Quantum VX gets many rows of seats because it is meant for business, our suggestion would be that it loses the four row seat application as this comes at the cost of luggage space. Would be owners can then be given the option of choosing between a three row car with either four captain’s chairs at the back or two captain’s chairs and a solid bench at the back. The former car will seat 6 and the latter 7 but both will have space for luggage.
There is also a matter of space moving in between the seats. Whilst the car is wide, the generous captain’s chairs take up a lot of space. Their sides could be made smaller without sacrificing comfort. Toyota can look at the rival V-Class for this.
The executive Quantum VX shares the same engine as the rest of the range. This is a four-cylinder 2.8 GD-6 turbodiesel with 115kW of power and 420Nm of torque. Although the Quantum VX might be for transporting people around town, the engine also feels like it’s built for high speed and long-distance cruising. It felt at home driving to Durban on the N3 with seven passengers and their luggage in the car. Of course, there was body roll when taking on twisties enthusiastically but that is not what the car is for and this is not something owners will likely have to confront all the time. The engine is paired with a smooth a six-speed automatic gearbox and the shifting is smooth and generally precise. The ride quality does match its competitors and the seats are comfortable through most surfaces. The addition of the reverse camera makes maneuvering the Quantum easier. We managed a return of 9.0l/km in fuel consumption and that is good for a vehicle of this size.
All in all, the Quantum VX is good value for money, although it may not have the same refinement as the V-Class in terms of finishes, it does deserve its spot in those leagues. The price range of R966,300 may be a deterrence for some, but you get good value for your buck.
The price includes a 9-services/90,000 km service plan (come on, Toyota!) and a 3-year/100,000 km warranty.
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