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Minivans may not be seen as the most glamorous way to get around on four wheels by most folks. With the advent of large SUVs and crossovers, most people believed that the days of the minivan were over. However, that notion may not really hold water anymore - as automakers aren’t ready to give up on these people movers as yet.
In countries like the UAE, minivans may not have been the best-selling type of personal transport, but the segment might be getting a boost with the introduction of two new cars - the 2020 Toyota Granvia and from China, the 2020 GAC GN8. Both of these two minivans are being positioned as luxurious offerings from their respective manufacturers in the region.
While these two minivans maybe brand-new and compete within the same space, they aren’t exactly the same. Assuming you want one of these, which showroom should you be making your way to?
There was a time when buyers who wanted to a minivan didn’t really care too much about its styling. As long as it performed its duties as a reliable companion for the whole family, all was good. However, buyers of today want the practicality part for sure, but not packaged in a way where they would have to wear a paper bag over their face. Thankfully, it seems like neither the Toyota Granvia nor the GAC GN8 would necessitate a move like from their owners.
Now obviously, design is more of a personal choice rather than an objective one when purchasing any type of a car - even if it is a practical people carrier. However, with that being said, there are some really apparent styling differences between these two vehicles. For instance, for those of you who know what a Hiace is will probably find the Toyota Granvia’s design familiar -- the Granvia is, after all, based on the Hiace.
Meanwhile, the GAC GN8’s design isn’t too much of a departure from that of the far more expensive Mercedes-Benz V-Class. So while the Toyota Granvia sports a design that features a lot of chrome, an imposing front end and fancy alloy wheels - its overall styling isn’t as sophisticated as that of the V-Class’s doppelganger, the GAC GN8.
One of the primary objectives for any automaker when it comes designing a minivan, has to do with its interior space. At the end of the day, this bit really counts. Moreover, the Toyota Granvia is longer (5.300 meters), wider (1.970 meters) and taller (1.990 meters) than the GAC GN8. Add to that the Granvia’s 3.210-meter wheelbase (compared to the GN8’s 3.000 meters) and you end up with a cabin that looks and feels more spacious than that of the GAC.
However, the GN8’s cabin isn‘t really tight or claustrophobic either - seating 7 instead of the Toyota’s maximum capacity of 6 people. Its beige interior along with the twin-sunroof setup and ambient mood lighting means that occupants can relax quite nicely inside this GAC without cribbing. The seats on both of these minivans feel super comfortable and supportive, though the extra room inside the Granvia makes the overall experience that much more comfortable.
As far as forward thrust is concerned, the 2020 Toyota Granvia wields more firepower than the GAC. The Granvia’s normally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 outputs 277 hp and 351 Nm through a 6-speed automatic and onto the rear wheels, all of which converts to a sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in less than 9 seconds - in a two-plus ton luxury minivan!
And while the Toyota’s V6 motor is rated at 10.9 L/100 km, the 2020 GAC GN8 posts a figure of 8.9 L/100 km. This is mostly thanks to its more efficient and smaller 2.0-liter turbocharged four-popper, which also makes a healthy 198 hp and 320 Nm - all of which loads the front wheels, only.
Now, the price, and this is a huge one! Where the 2020 GAC GN8 starts from AED 118,000 in the UAE, the 2020 Toyota Granvia range lunges at your wallet for anywhere between AED 177,000 to just under 200,000 dirhams.
If you want a practical, 6-seater which is not only luxurious but can also make you grin every once in a while and you have that kind of money - head towards your local Toyota showroom. However, if you need the flexibility of carrying 7 people along with an efficient engine, well-appointed interior, and would like more features for the money displaced - give the GAC GN8 a test drive.