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Luxury MPVs are increasingly popular in Malaysia as limos for the rich, a role that was the exclusive domain of traditional large saloons like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. The Toyota Alphard and Vellfire duo are by far the most popular of its kind, and the Nissan Elgrand is an alternative.

These Japanese boxes typically come with three rows of seats; however, if the MPV is not used as a family car but purely as a business machine, wouldn’t it be better if the last row is deleted for extra space and comfort for two rear occupants?

Such configurations exist; we recently gave you a 360-degree look at the Nissan Elgrand VIP by Autech, but the new Toyota Alphard/Vellfire Royal Lounge listed on Modellista’s page raises the bar.

Based on the latest-generation Alphard/Vellfire unveiled a year ago in Japan, the Royal Lounge series is a step up from the Executive Lounge version of the latest Alphard/Vellfire. The biggest difference is that the Royal Lounge has just two seats at the back, like the Elgrand VIP, while the Executive Lounge retains a third row at the back.

As expected, the two rear occupants have levels of legroom that a booted limo can’t match, but the Royal Lounge is more than just space – there are plenty of amenities for airplane business class-style travel on the road. Just look at those seats! They’re obviously plusher than the Executive Lounge’s mid-row chairs and have heads that look like the Sphinx!

The seats are fully reclinable into a flat bed and come with LED reading lights, table and massage function by top Japanese massage chair brand Fujiiryoki, all accessible via a touch screen panel that rises out from the centre armrest. Also in are roof mounted air con controls (single-zone for the whole rear cabin) and a classic-look analogue clock with ‘Royal Lounge’ branding. A Grand Seiko would have been fitting.

Cockpit and cabin are divided by a 24-inch TV and JBL “sound bar”, plus a mini fridge below the latter. There’s a Royal Lounge SP version that adds privacy via a screen that can be transparent, tinted or blocked, controlled by buttons on the armrest. For trim, one can choose from dark (black) or light (beige) themes, and there are also two tones of wood trim available. The carpets look thick, too.

Fit for a king, with prices to match. The Alphard and Vellfire Royal Lounge start from 13.8 million yen (RM510k) in Japan, while the Royal Lounge SP comes in at 15 million yen (RM550k). How much is that? Double the price of a top-spec Executive Lounge, which grey importers are selling for above RM550k in Malaysia. The Elgrand VIP by Autech is an eight million yen (RM300k) car.

Still want that German limo? Find out how life is like in the back seat of the W222 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and G11 BMW 7 Series here.


GALLERY: Toyota Alphard

GALLERY: Toyota Vellfire