A Very Grand Van

If you ask a small child to draw a car chances are the result will be a rectangle with wheels. This may not be aesthetically pleasing, but what the child doesn’t realise is the advantage of the said rectangle is a very spacious interior. Here lies the beauty of the boxy Toyota Granvia VX.

The other thing about the Granvia and children is they will love it! In fact this is probably the first car you will buy for your children; only thing is you will be driving the van, not them. The Granvia is all about the passengers in the back, rather than the front.

The four rear seat passengers each get a Captain’s chair style seat with quilted accented leather that have power adjusted recline and foot rest, but only manual sliding along rails. There is enough room in the van for every seat in the back to have their foot rest extended at the same time. The four rear seats are also heated and the angle of the head rests can be adjusted for ultimate relaxation, but this is more for adults when they get to sit back here. There is also an eight seat version of the Granvia, but this still only gets four ISOFIX/four rear tether child seat restraint points like the six seater I drove. One thing to think about is if you are a parent with a small child or baby you will have to step up into the van in order to place them into their car seat.

The sliding rear doors have one touch open/close from inside and outside the van plus the driver can open and close the doors as well. The windows on the sliding doors have a manual blind and cannot be opened. There is enough room for my seven year old daughter to stand up in the van and one mum told me this is great for when you need to change your children out of their dirty sports clothes before you head off. With this in mind, you will also appreciate the removable carpet mats for easy cleaning and the hard plastic step where wet/dirty shoes can be stored while travelling.

You can walk between the two second row seats to access the third row or move the second row seats forward to step in. There is a tray table that can be locked into place between the two second row seats and this has two shallow drink holders plus there are large drink bottle storage cubbies in the doors and in the arm rest.

The rear passengers get three ambient lighting colours and the children can change these themselves in the back. They can also operate the climate control for the rear area for speed, temperature and mode when they are not in their seats. The driver can control the temperature of the rear climate from the front and can also turn it on/off. The air vents for second and third row passengers are in the roof and under the seats in front. Each rear passenger also gets an aircraft style reading light and speaker above their seat.

There are multiple USB ports available in the back to keep everyone’s device to be charged. Second row passengers can access the two USBs at the base of the centre console or behind the second row seats there are another two ports on each side of the van. These ports are for the third row passengers also and they also get a ledge on the wheel arch with two small drink holders.

The van chauffeur, that is mum or dad, have less of a luxury experience than the rear passengers. At least the Granvia has a comfortable ride, drives nicely for a small bus and has good sound deadening so you don’t hear the diesel engine in the cabin. The front seats are still quilted accented leather but without seat heating, something I missed on cold winter’s morn. The driver gets 8-way power seat adjustment and the passenger gets a 4-way manual seat adjustment. Neither seat can be adjustment for height though, so you really do feel like a bus driver sitting up there. You have such a high driving position that you actually look down on SUVs and thankfully there is a step to help you get up into the van.

There are big drink bottle storage areas in the front door cubbies plus a large storage cubby under the arm rest; I was surprised that this was not cooled as it would fit a number of drinks in it. The leather accented steering wheel did have a voice control button (with a man’s face on it like many other car marques), but it wasn’t working for me and would just display a message that it was initialising and not available at this point in time.

The seven inch touchscreen display has sat nav with SUNA live traffic and you also get Apple CarPlay/Android Auto as standard. Below the screen there is a digital graphic to indicate what seat is occupied, but I didn’t like that there wasn’t dual temperature control for front passengers, you don’t realise how much you miss this until you don’t have it.

The VX comes with a 12 speaker Pioneer audio system and your media options include AM/FM, DAB, CD, USB, Bluetooth, AUX and Miracast. There is one USB port, AUX inlet and 12V outlet below the gear selector on the dash. This would mean that your device would need to be placed on the hard plastic storage area below these and it would slide around. For the front seat passenger there is another 12V outlet on their side with a square storage cubby for a phone to sit.

The boot door is big, heavy and you can only open and close it manually. I found myself almost hitting my head when I was lifting the door up. With the third row seats back there is enough room in the boot for schools bags. For more room for a pram and a big weekly shop the seats would need to be moved forward. You also get a full-size spare tyre that is secured underneath the boot area.

To help you see behind the Granvia the VX has a camera in the rear view mirror and a 360o reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors that is displayed on the central screen. Other safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, Toyota Safety Sense that includes lane departure alert with steering assist, pre-collision safety with pedestrian and daylight cyclist detection and active cruise control.

Passive safety features include airbags for the driver’s seat, passenger seat, driver’s knee, front curtain shield, rear curtain shield and side airbags. All variants of the Granvia have a 5-star ANCAP (2019) safety rating and the Adult Occupant Protection rating is 35.8 out of 38 (94%) and a Child Occupant Protection rating of 43.3 out of 49 (88%).

The Granvia is powered by a 2.8 litre diesel engine with 130kW of power and 450Nm of torque and the engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. There is no official 0-100km/h time because this is van is a cruiser not a sprinter. The official combined fuel consumption is 8.0L/100km and for my week I used 11.1L/100km.

All new Toyota vehicles come with a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty and this can be extended for up to seven years with unlimited kilometres on Engine and Driveline if your vehicle is properly serviced and maintained as per the vehicle’s Warranty and Service book. Plus if a defect covered by the Toyota Warranty Advantage causes your vehicle to be undriveable, towing to the nearest Toyota Dealer and a loan car is covered. Capped price servicing is available for the first 3-5 years depending on your vehicle model.

The Granvia VX six seater starts at $74,990 and there were no optional extras fitted on the van I drove. If you option Premium paint in Pearl White, Graphite or Premium Silver it costs an additional $600. Visit your preferred Toyota dealer for more information on this big box of driving comfort.

ProsCons
Large interior with four Captain’s chairsNo heated front seats or dual front climate control
Up to seven year’s warrantyVoice control didn’t work
High driving positionIt’s not a good looking vehicle

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.