Toyota Voxy & Esquire: Multi-purpose vehicles done right
The Toyota Esquire is a heavily specced up variant of the third generation Noah on offer since 2014. The Voxy is a sporty looking alternative to the Noah, offering nearly identical features
The Toyota Noah has been one of the best selling multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) in Bangladesh for over two decades now. This is because of Toyota's reliability, cheap maintenance and good resale value, which gives Toyota's MPVs an edge over others in the market, whether it be the gray market or brand new car dealerships.
Nonetheless, Toyota's reputation in the automobile market should not logically be enough to make its MPVs stand out to be the best sellers in this market, especially when taking into consideration that the market for MPVs is currently the second most competitive market after crossovers.
So what makes the Toyota MPVs a top choice for car buyers? For this week,Team Wheels decided to take a Toyota Esquire and Toyota Voxy for a test drive through Uttara to find out the answer. Both the vehicles have been provided to Team Wheels by AB Drive, a renowned reconditioned automobile dealership located in Baridhara.
The Toyota Esquire is a heavily specced up variant of the third generation Noah, on offer since 2014. Due to its more premium features, it has managed to make a name for itself among buyers looking to buy MPVs for household use.
On the other hand, the Voxy is a sporty looking alternative to the Noah, offering nearly identical features but which still somehow ended up being the least loved child in the local market.
At the front, the Esquire is completely covered with a large chrome grille, which makes the car look more bold and premium. The headlights, despite having a similar housing to the Noah, carry double Xenon LEDs. The sides and the rear taillights are very similar to the regular Noah, with minimal changes to the lights and bumper and more chrome bits— something which we aren't much of a fan of.
The Voxy on the other hand has been given a much sportier look. The headlights are separated from the DRLs and look similar to the Toyota's Vellfire, a premium MPV from Toyota. The front bumper is a mix of black with chrome linings and body-coloured paint which give it a more sophisticated look, albeit looking a little like Lexus– definitely the design choice we prefer!
Even the rear lights are uniquely transparent and smoked out with LED lights inside. The unit we reviewed came with larger 16 inch aftermarket wheels, which further reiterates why we believe the Voxy to be the best looking of the three models.
Interior: True to the 'multi-purpose' name
In terms of design, both the Voxy and Esquire are nearly identical. For the third generation Noah series, all models have a low floor, which ensures easy access when entering the cars from outside.
The base trim Voxy gets a single power door, while higher trims come with dual power sliding doors, a feature standard on all variants of the Esquire. The power doors can also be completely controlled using the remote keys of the cars.
Getting inside, users will be greeted with one of the largest cabin spaces in this segment. Both models make room for seven adult passengers, with every row of passengers getting adequate legroom and headroom, along with their individual AC vents, which supports dual climate control.
The Voxy however, comes with fabric seats, while the Esquire gets leather treatment, with soft touch finishes. Our Voxy had a red themed interior, which definitely looks flashy in pictures, but if we were to compare, the Esquire definitely feels a more premium place to be in.
Toyota has thoughtfully engineered the increased legroom to make enough space to move and incline all the seats as well. This allows second and third row passengers to turn the seats in front into their own leg rests— a feature only available in the most premium vehicles. It also allows both cars to completely turn the roomy cabin into a covered flatbed with the folded seats as somewhat of an uneven, but usable mattress.
The higher trim models of both cars come with a secondary display attached to the ceiling for second and third row passengers to consume preloaded media. The primary infotainment however is a 10 inch Alpine display which supports music playing through Bluetooth.
Finally, being a 'multi-purpose vehicle', there are cup holders, glove boxes on both sides . Second row passengers also get their own tray tables that are big enough to hold phones, small laptops and unfinished food which… can later be stored inside any of the many glove boxes to rot forever.
Powering both models is the same 1800cc hybrid engine mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). It produces a combined output of 134 horsepower and 142 Nm of torque. There are 2000cc non-hybrid variants of both the models as well. In real world tests, both models drive exactly the same.
There's an instant torque from the electric motors that helps with quick acceleration on demand. Reaching highway speed takes a while, but it's still manageable and good enough for overtaking on the highway. The disk-drum brake setup is good enough as well.
Despite having the same driving feel however, the Esquire with its better quality leather seats and heating options, turned out to be the more relaxing car to drive, compared to the Voxy. Besides, the soft touch materials and the armrest of the Esquire, can also make a huge difference when driving for long hours which for us was a game changer.
What impressed us the most, however, is the viewing angle of both the cars. The bulges in the hood help the driver have clear visibility of the front, while the large mirrors ensure a complete top to bottom visibility of the sides. Besides, Toyota also used glass in front of the side mirrors to where there could've been potential blindspots, and also used very narrow pillars in the front. The seating position is high as well, all of which ensures that the Voxy and the Esquire have some of the best visibilities of any Toyota models.
One common complaint with all the cars in the Noah series is the ride height. The low floor has significantly reduced the belly ride height and even the front bumper will scrape on many speed bumps in Bangladesh. Hence, our advice when buying either of these MPVs is to opt out from getting the models with aftermarket body kits.
Both the Voxy and the Esquire are well thought out vehicles. The engine, borrowed from the Prius, is the most efficient hybrid engine currently available in the world. The cabins are spacious and some of the best in class with some features which are truly unexceptional for cars in its class.
In AB Drive, prices for the Voxy starts at Tk 35 lakhs, while Esquires start at Tk 40 lakhs.
Although the sportier looking Voxy might cater to a wider range of customers, if I had to choose one for day-to-day drives, then paying the premium for the more luxurious Esquire would be the smarter choice.
Voxy and Esquire hybrid:
Engine: 1800cc 2ZR-FXE
Power: 134 bhp
Torque: 142 Nm
Toyota Voxy Hybrid: Tk 35 lakh
Toyota Esquire Hybrid: Tk 40 lakh