Saturday, November 7, 2009

After The Fact - Learn More Before You Buy Your Toyota Alphard

It is always disheartening to meet a fellow AOC member in a TT then to find out that he has been kind of short-changed by the dealer. Last night I met a fellow AOC member who recently gotten his 2006 NFL AX-L. However his unit comes with only single power door without the original head unit and the front camera.

I don’t know if this is the latest trend but just this week I found also a few units of NFL AXs in my regular dealer come without original head unit. I know many owners have purchase their car with aftermarket head unit but in this case the car was not fitted with one at all. I consider myself lucky as my AX-L come loaded with all the features that normally not available in an AX-L. At least in all the TTs so far I have not seen another AX-L has the same spec as mine.

So what do the new owner losses when he bought the car?

Without the original head unit, he can’t make use of all the buttons on the steering wheel. He loses the hands-free function and the Bluetooth function. He loses the default reverse camera guide lines. He misses out the function to have the 30GB hard disk. He can’t play CD/DVD with the built in DVD function on the head unit. He doesn’t have the roof-mounted LCD monitor. At the end of the day he has to spent a few thousand dollars to retrofit an aftermarket head unit and other accessories just to be able to play DVD and to have the reverse camera view (but without the original guidelines). Since his unit doesn’t have the front camera, he will have to buy one if he wants the front camera view. If he wants to retrofit the other power door, that will cost him another few grand.

Therefore when I show this owner all the functions in my car that he could have gotten if he has opted for a different unit or one with the original head unit I can only imagine how unhappy for him to find out what he has missed.

I guess the new owner doesn’t know much about Toyota Alphard and probably hasn’t done much research on this subject. At least in the AOC forum I read that there are owners whose has done a lot of research and have scouted at many dealers before they commit to the unit that suits them. I think this is the way to go as there is no point in rushing to get something less at a higher price. In this case this particular owner is relying on the trustworthiness of the dealer who happened to be his friend to advise him on the best option to take. However like any dealer they just wanted to sell their car so they will take the easy way out by convincing the buyers that those features doesn't comes with the car. If the owner has done their homework then he would have not taken this car. I know this is after the fact and that the buyer should know what they are getting when they commit to buy a car. It would be nice to know that they gotten a better deal rather than to point it out to them the hard way.

I put up this blog with the hope it will help more potential buyers to learn more about this car so that they always get the best deal. If it is convenient I don’t mind meeting up with potential buyer to view the car with them so that they can make a better judgment before they commit their purchase. Send me a comment and I'll contact you if you need help.



  1. Thanks for sharing. Many good info here in your blog. Kudos to you.

  2. Thanks Shahrul,

    I wish more potential buyer will check out the info in this blog before they go out and buy one.


  3. Hi,
    This is not question per se. I'm currently studying in UK and now looking for either alphard and estima. Unfortunately, alphard isn't very popular relatively. Your blog is extremely informative, for lost of better word..
    Being a student, the budget is not that great. I found one a Nov02 manufactured (based on one of your link). However, it doesn't have power door, though it is an AS model. Interestingly enough, it's 8seater. I remember you wrote somewhere that AS does not have 8 seater?
    Ps: I email the trader showing my alphardic newfound knowledge... so that he couldnt mess me around....
    Btw, why no more entry? Keep on coming bro.

  4. HI azo,

    I have checked the original Toyota brochure again and there is no mentioned of AS having 8 seaters. But I do know it is possible to change the seats from 7 to 8 on an Alphard. In fact one of the AOC member bought his '03 AS with the condition that it must be an 8 seaters and the dealer gave in. I also know there is an accessories shop that specialize in this conversion.

    Take you time to source for one that suit your budget. 2010 is coming soon so try to look for a newer unit with the same budget.

    Yes I have already looked at a few ideas to work on and will posts more entry once I have the complete information.

  5. What is your opinion on getting AAM to check/assess a Giant that one is interested to purchase? Are they really good? I am currently on the hunt for one and do not have the knowledge to do this on my own nor do I have a mechanic buddy to help me out. Thanks, you have a great blog here.

  6. Hi Kenny,

    I heard that some owners do get AAM to assist them to check the Giant they are interested to purchase. If you are a member of AAM why not take advantage of their services. They probably can't help you with the model and specifications but they can certainly help to check if the car are in good running conditions.