Toyota Quantum VX joins the business-class league
Toyota’s bus takes on segment leaders with premium comfort and a smooth ride
The brand that almost single-handedly rules the local minibus taxi market with its Sesfikile has ventured into the premium people-carrier league with the new Quantum VX.
The imported Quantum range was launched in SA earlier this year as a more modern and upmarket vehicle than its predecessor, with a line-up that includes vans, crew cabs and buses offering up to 14 seats.
The VX is the newly-launched flagship of the range and it’s new territory for Toyota as it is directly pitched against the VW Caravelle and Mercedes V-Class in the business-class bus league.
Appealing to high-end family, hospitality and corporate buyers, it comes fully loaded with executive features including wide and comfortable quilted-leather seats.
It has nine seats arranged in four rows, with the second and third rows consisting of comfortable reclining captain’s chairs with armrests and fold-out legrests, while the fourth row is a three-seater bench with a 60/40 split.
It’s sufficiently roomy when filled to near-capacity. I piled myself and seven adult passengers aboard for a road trip and everyone enjoyed decent leg and elbow room in the plush seats, although a third person in the back row might have perhaps been a bit of a squeeze.
There’s almost no boot space with all nine seats in place. To carry any reasonable amount of luggage the vehicle can be turned into a six-seater by folding down the back row.
Wood trim and ambient lighting further glamorise a cabin that radiates all-round elegance and sophistication.
Rear passengers are well catered for with their own independent climate controls, and there are multiple USB ports to keep devices charged.
Quantum 2.8 LWB VX 9-seater
WE LIKE: Space, luxury, comfortable ride
DISLIKE: Fuel consumption
VERDICT: Business-class people carrier
Access to the rear is through an electrically operated sliding door on each side, which are opened and closed by buttons inside the car or — as a neat party trick that always delighted the passengers — from the key fob.
From the outside the Quantum VX also avoids looking like a mass-market taxi and its LED lights, tinted windows and large chrome grille radiate upmarket vibes. Nobody’s going to mistake this for a Sesfikile and make “take me to Soweto” hand signals as it drives past.
If you’re not used to large cars the Quantum can feel intimidating to drive at first. It is a sizeable vehicle at 5,265mm which is quite a bit longer than even a large SUV.
It takes some careful manoeuvring to guide it through car parks or narrow entrances, but the reverse parking camera and the proximity alerts are very welcome features that help prevent costly scrapes.
Out on the road the size is less of an issue and the Quantum feels more like a regular car to drive, just with an elevated seating position. The steering is light and visibility is good out of those extra-large windows.
Turbo diesel is the ideal type of power for schlepping heavy passenger loads, and that 2.8l engine distinguished itself with its plucky performance even with the Quantum filled nearly to capacity.
TO CARRY LUGGAGE THE VEHICLE CAN BE TURNED INTO A SIX-SEATER BY FOLDING DOWN THE BACK ROW
Ignore that average-looking 115kW power figure; it’s the gutsy 420Nm of torque from just above idling speed at 1,600rpm that counts here and it makes this hefalump responsive off the line without succumbing to major turbo lag.
It’s also a relaxed open-road cruiser, comfortably able to hold the speed limit up gradients, even when packed with passengers.
The Quantum is thirsty when hauling eight people though, and our test vehicle quaffed 16.2l /100km on the urban cycle.
Toyota’s claimed 8.7l might be attainable with no passengers on board, but it’s unlikely in a vehicle weighing a hefty 2.7 tons.
The big Toyota delivers an impressively cushy ride, wafting over the rough stuff without transferring judders into the cabin.
Cornering isn’t a primary function of a people-carrying bus but the Quantum gets through medium-paced curves in a safe and predictable manner, without feeling excessively top-heavy.
Along with ABS brakes and stability control, an array of driver assistance features helps keep this road ship sailing safely. These include a pre-collision safety system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, a lane-keeping aid, and automatic high beams.
In summary, the range-topping Quantum VX has about as much to do with a Sesfikile taxi as Duck a l’orange has to do with shisa nyama.
Toyota’s move into the business-class bus league is a commendable effort, and it undercuts the opposition with its relatively keen price too.
Type: Four-cylinder diesel turbo
Type: Six-speed auto
Type: Rear-wheel drive
Top speed: N/A
Fuel Consumption: 8.7l/100km (claimed); 16.2l/100km (as tested)
Adaptive cruise control, LED daytime running lights, leather upholstery, tow hook, Captain’s chair second- and third-row seats, fold-up fourth row seats, climate control for front and rear, electric front windows, electric sliding doors with remote control, trip computer, electric mirrors, remote central locking, power-operated front seats, touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, seven airbags, ABS brakes, stability control, park distance control, blind spot monitor, brake assist, hill start assist, lane keeping assist, 235/60 R17 tyres
Warranty: Three years/100,000km
Service plan: Nine services/90,000km
Lease*: R18,018 per month
*at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit
Mercedes-Benz V220d, 120kW/380Nm — R955,518
VW Caravelle 2.0 BiTDI Highline — R995,200
Motor News star rating
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