Friday, March 19, 2010

A Trip Up The Hill With Toyota Alphard

For a long time I wanted to take my giant (Toyota Alphard) up to Genting Highland but never get a chance to do that.

Some AOC members have been sharing their experiences of driving their giant up the hill and some of them are not too happy with their giant capability. Some say the suspension is too soft to handle those corners and slopes while other said they felt the 2AZ-FE engine is too sluggish.

I wanted to test out these two areas with my own giant so I took a trip up the "hill".

The stretch from the Gombak toll to the foothill is an easy drive as there was not much traffic. The last stretch of the road before reaching the foothill is an uphill slope followed by S curve before entering the slip road toward hill. I didn't have any problem with this stretch as I just hang on to the throttle and let the gearbox do it job. There is no kick-down at all so there is plenty of torque from the 2AZ-FE engine to handle that stretch.

As I start the ascent, there were some light traffic so I just let off the throttle and follow the queue. Once I passed the police hut I start to tackle the corners going up the hill. I decided leave the gear in 4th and continue to use the aircon and see how the giant perform.

As I ascent I continue to lightly hold on to the pedal and let the gearbox to it job. At several places after I come out from the corner it slight upshift on it own momentarily to maintain the speed. From the first police hut until the second police beat I didn't have to kick-down manually once. I felt that there is sufficient torque to pull the car up the hill so I continue to drive at a leisure pace.

After the second police hut right at the small roundabout next to the entrance to Awana Genting Resort, I decided to switch off the aircon. With the aircon switch off, the giant now feel much lighter and I continue to drive at an leisure pace up the next stretch of road. I didn't switch to 3rd gear as I want to see how the giant perform at 4th gear. Even though this stretch of road is steeper, the giant can easily pull itself up the slope without any problem.

Even at the steepest corner, all I need is to let off the gas pedal, turn the corner and then lightly tap on the pedal to continue the journey. I didn't felt any drama at all as far as negotiating the corners are concerned.

I stop at the car park just right below the Ria Apartment to take a snapshot of the giant.
The giant might look big but against the backdrop of the car park the building behind it, it looks a bit small!

When I reached the peak, I decided not to park in any of the covered car park as I am not sure of their height. I choose to park at the open car park next to the Genting Resort Hotel just behind the theme park.

I saw a lot of Alphard and Estima at the open car park as well so these people have no problem getting their giant up the hill as well. I spend some time up on the peak looking at surrounding before I start my journey home.

The decent is very smooth as there were not much traffic at that hour. I shift the gear to the 3rd throughout the journey except the flat section in front of Gotong Jaya. I kept the speed of the giant below 60km/h on most of the stretch. With this speed, there is ample time to brake before each of those road humps and take the corners. The brake of our giant is sufficient to slowdown the car before each hump and also when you go a bit too fast, the gearbox will also momentarily upshift slightly to help to slow down the giant.

Overall I didn't find a lot of body roll when I negotiate any of the corners nor I felt there is any squatting from the suspension. I suppose it is because I am not using the stock absorbers. I have fitted a set of TRD Waydo Sportivo absorbers some time ago and it probably help to reduce the body roll. I don't know if this is the same with the stock absorbers set up. I think the wider 17-inch tyres I have also help a bit on the stability of the giant maneuvering those corners.

Even though I was driving it leisurely there is sufficient grunt from the engine to pull the giant up the hill without much drama. I believe if you have a full load of passengers, pressing the pedal harder would have no problem in taking your giant up the hill too.

Overall I don't feel any sluggishness from the 2AZ-FE engine if you can throttle the engine properly. If you are driving the 1MZ-FE then I would think it would be an no issue with your giant going up the hill.

I have driven up the hill many times with other smaller size cars and I must say the giant gave me a very comfortable ride going up the hill. As long as you are not in a rush to reach the peak, the giant can maintain it comfort level even going up the hill.

So, what is  your experience driving your giant up the hill?


  1. is yr engine noisy at first? i mean when the engine cool down...

  2. Hi,

    I think my engine is not noisy during idle. Most of the noise comes from the aircon compressor and the fan during idle. Otherwise it is pretty quiet.

    The key is to use the right viscosity oil for your engine. Toyota recommends 5w-30 for our engine.