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The 3.5-litre V6 produces 278 horses and 351Nm of torque and is mated to a six-speed auto. Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque

In an overwhelmingly image conscious market like ours, positioning a van as a family vehicle is an unenviably tough task. Honda with its Odyssey, Kia with the Carnival, and Mercedes-Benz with its V-Class have been trying to break free from the perception of being fleet limos but with limited success.

I have driven all these minivans, or MPVs as they’re called, and can say they are among some of the best family vehicles out there. However, none of them have managed to become a part of as many households as their utility and comfort would warrant.

Now, Toyota has made an even bigger gamble by bringing the Granvia, based on the commercial Hiace van, to the Middle East and positioning it as a luxury people mover ideal for limousine operators as well as large families. Do not let the Hiace underpinnings fool you into thinking the Granvia is some unrefined, agricultural van with a Spartan interior.

On the contrary, this new Toyota has one of the swankiest cabins in the people mover class. The Premium variant that we tested has three rows of captain’s chairs, with the second and third rows equipped with power-reclining function and power-folding ottoman footrests, helping them transform into near flatbeds like the airline business class seats...

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