When you think Quantum, what’s the first thing that jumps to mind? Berserk taxi drivers with 16 passengers crammed into the vehicle? Four-four masihlalisane? Racing to or from work? Cramped? Uncomfortable?
Now think Quantum VX Premium and you’re in a different universe. Luxury, safety, beastly good looks and a panoramic view of the road ahead of you.
The brand has outdone itself with this model. The first thing that greets you is the aggressive chrome grill. The 2.8 litre engine doesn’t growl or snarl as it shifts effortlessly through its gears. It is also a head-turner. But that’s only the start.
The height of the vehicle might seem intimidating but, with an assistance step and a handhold, I could easily — in heels — climb into the off-white, leather driver’s seat.
At 5.2m the people carrier isn’t small, but the reverse-view camera made parking much easier — including into that tiny parking spot, the only one left at the mall.
The VX comes with a host of driver support, including the safety system that beeps loudly when detecting pedestrians, walls, vehicles or other obstacles to avoid scratching the paintwork or writing off the vehicle.
The VX has all the benefits of a high-end vehicle such as the smart entry and start — you can stow your key (and a whole lot more) in the large faux mahogany armrest between the driver and the passenger. The steering wheel is adjustable and the driver’s seat is electrically controlled to get the best position for the driver. But the front passenger seat is the same old drag.
With a 4.2-inch multi-information display, power windows and a Bluetooth-enabled touch screen, the front passenger will have a lot more to do besides worrying about dragging that front seat.
The VX has a nine-seat capacity, but depending on what you want to use this vehicle for — ferrying guests, road trips, a mommy van — there are pros and cons.
For hauling the kids around, the back seats need to be folded or removed to provide the boot space required for the pram, soccer boots, kit bags, swimming noodle and a lot more (children don’t travel light).
For professional use, it is better, as long as your guests don’t have large suitcases and can carry their luggage on their laps. There is minimal space between the first and back row of seats, which gives the impression that there is one row too many. Space was given away to accommodate more luxury. And it is luxurious. The first row of seats are as good as La-Z-Boys — you can recline, have a leg rest and wrap yourself in a blanket for a proper nap. The second row has a semi-recline ability.
As long as I have been a driver, no one has ever asked me whether they can look inside my vehicle. The VX, on the other had, had everyone from taxi to Merc drivers peering inside and asking how the beast drives and whether it was affordable.
“Toyota, has outdone themselves,” said one admirer.
It sure has.
Now that you know some of the specs, let’s get to the driving. The VX is not marketed as an off-road vehicle, but we (the husband, the child, and the sister) decided to take it for a drive. We took the highway out of Johannesburg to Mountain Sanctuary Park in the Magaliesberg.
So smooth, so effortless. Smart. In cruise control, the car does all the thinking. Its radar notes the speed limit and adjusts accordingly. It notes cars in front and adjusts accordingly. Pull out into the fast lane and it adjusts accordingly. You feel like you could sit back and let the car drive itself.
Driving on dust roads is a breeze. The suspension is tight and absorbs most of the rattle. The back wheel drive is perfect with no fishtailing in the sand. Comfort.
The boy child loved the space and the reclining seats. “Do you like it?” “Yes,” he says with all the enthusiasm his 19-month-old mind can muster — and it’s a lot. Big smiles.
The sister settled right into recline mode, streaming music through the Bluetooth, living the best life.
The husband was instantly sold — except for the extra row of seats that he said ate up too much space.
He wants one even at the not so affordable price of about R800 000. He wants one now.