Last week we took a long awaited road trip to the Lowveld, for some business, as well as some vacation as well. And our carrier for this trip was the Toyota Quantum 2.8L D VX. I must admit to a bit of trepidation, namely due to the fact that the Quantum makes up the majority of taxi’s in this country, and I thought it might be a hi-jack magnet. Well, my fears were put to rest, as this bus is far away from the general people carrier that the taxi is.
It’s a superb traveling companion, offering high levels of luxury, from the soft leather seats, in the front & rear, which have the ability to recline and move backwards and forwards. This is due to the Quantum being a 9 seater, so the rear passengers need to be able to get in, and exit without trouble. We were two adults and two teenagers, albeit, with luggage for 5 days as well as food and supplies, due to the nature of our accommodation.
The rear seats move forward to give you quite a bit of space for luggage, this was not sufficient for us, so we used the next row of seats to pack other items as well. We did look at possibly removing the last row of seats, but it did not lend itself to an easy job. They do not seem to have populated the roads yet and we attracted quite a lot of attention.
Looking at the exterior styling, I personally did not find it that appealing, as with most buses or vans, they are very square looking. It has a very aggressive grille, which you will either love or hate. It has LED headlamps, with a thin chrome strip that bridges the opposing LED fog lamps in the lower front apron. The wheel and tyre package comprises 17” alloy wheels shod with 235-60-R17 tyres.
Chrome exterior door handles and mirrors tie in with the front chromed elements. The mirrors additionally feature power adjustment, auto-retracting and blind spot monitoring functions. Moving to the rear, a prominent chrome garnish, VX-badging and LED light elements distinguish the up-market VX variant from the rest of the range. I did have some concerns about having a flat tyre, mainly because I would not have the faintest idea how to change it.
In the Cabin.
Loved the large captain’s chairs, which have reclining ability, and fold out ‘’ottoman’’ leg rests, in the second and third row, of which we only used the second row. As discussed, it has room for 8 passengers comfortably, adding a ninth if he squashes in the middle of the last row. The kids loved the independent rear climate control and multiple USB ports and storage compartments, satisfied all. Elegant wood trim and soft blue lighting create a premium atmosphere.
Driver and passengers are well catered for with smart entry and start, dual power-operated sliding doors and Toyota’s Audio Visual Navigation (AVN) touchscreen infotainment system. The doors in particular open on each side, and can be done so by the driver as well, and they operate hydraulically. I used the cruise control for most of the drive, and this limited unnecessary fuel use. There is a fair amount of room between each seat row, but less so for third and fourth.
Along with the high level of comfort and convenience features, the Quantum VX features an array of driver assistance features as part of the Toyota Safety Sense suite, which includes pre-collision safety system (PCS) with pedestrian detection (day and night) and cyclist detection (day only)3; high-speed active cruise control; lane departure alert; road sign assist; and automatic high beam.
Using camera and radar sensors, the PCS is designed to detect vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists and assists the driver with visual and audible warnings, braking assistance or autonomous emergency braking if the driver fails to heed the warning.
The lane departure alert3 function will warn the driver if the system detects that the car has deviated from its lane with visual and audible alerts and if necessary, provide steering assistance via the braking system.
The system also incorporates a road sign assist3 system that is able to recognise certain speed limit signs and display them on the multi information display (MID) in the instrument cluster. Other advanced safety features include blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera with guide lines and nine airbags.
Along with the aforementioned comfort and safety features, the luxury people carrier boasts a raft of specification items such as 4.2” multi-information display, rain-sensing wipers, LED room lamps, power-adjustable driver’s seat, high-definition Optitron instrumentation, auto-door lock, steering switches, tilt and telescopic steering adjustment, power windows and rear sunshade.
Engine and Transmission
Powering the Quantum VX is Toyota’s proven four-cylinder 2.8 GD-6 turbodiesel engine, with outputs of 115kW @ 3600 rpm and 420 Nm (1600 – 2200 rpm). This torquey powerplant is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. The engine drives great with the auto gearbox seemless as well. The cruise control contributes to good fuel economy, and it more than powerful enough to overtake on some of the narrow Mpumalanga roads. We travelled into the Kruger Park over two days, and it is an awesome game viewing vehicle, with high drive view, and large windows, with roll up blinds for sun glare. The windows were tinted as well.
Model line-up and Pricing
Quantum 2.8 LWB VX 9-seater – R 843 600, personally I don’t think this is a bad price for a 9-seater people carrier, with the levels of luxury and spec offered.
Warranty and Maintenance
A 9-services/90 000 km service plan is provided as standard with the warranty terms pegged at 3-year/100 000 km.
To sum up, a thoroughly enjoyable trip in the Quantum 9-seater VX, levels of comfort were at a premium, great drive, and good handling despite the shape and size involved. We used an average of 10.3L/100km on the trip, which for a big square shape is excellent.