Toyota Alphard vs. Nissan Serena – MPV Comparison Showdown

Toyota Alphard vs. Nissan Serena – MPV Comparison Showdown

Finding a solid used MPV that fits your needs can be tricky in a market flooded with choices, but the Toyota Alphard and Nissan Serena are two excellent contenders. What sets them apart from each other? Let’s dive right in with Toyota Alphard vs. Nissan Serena car comparison showdown.

The Toyota Alphard

The Toyota Alphard is a full-size luxury MPV minivan. It was first produced in 2002 with a seven or eight seating capacity, and is available in three model lines: Alphard V, Alphard G, and Alphard Hybrid.

The front of a used 2003 Toyota Alphard from used car dealer BE FORWARD.

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It has undergone three generational transformations:

  • 1st Generation: ANH10 (2002-2008)
  • 2nd Generation: ANH20 (2008-2015)
  • 3rd Generation: AGH30 (2005-present)

Despite slight aesthetic changes across each generation, the Alphard has consistently maintained an overall elegant and sophisticated design. Some of the technical specs of the car model are a width of 1850 mm, height of about 1895 mm, wheel base of 3000 mm, and front tread of around 1575 mm.

The Nissan Serena

The Nissan Serena is a five-door compact passenger minivan that was launched in 1991, and has grown larger and more sophisticated after several generations of improvements. The model’s earlier generations included a front engine and rear wheel drive layout with a line axle fitted on leaf springs.

The front of a used 2006 Nissan Serena from used car dealer BE FORWARD.

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The Nissan Serena has undergone five generational changes, with the most popular used model being the second generation.

  • 1st Generation: MkI C23 (1991-2000)
  • 2nd Generation: MkII C24 (1999-2012)
  • 3rd Generation: MkIII C25 (2005-2011)
  • 4th Generation: MkIV C26 (2010 – 2016)
  • 5th Generation: MkV C27 (2016-present)

It has a maximum capacity of 8 passengers, and an Xtronic CVT. It has a wheel base of 2860 mm and an engine of 2.0L MR20DD DI I4. The Nissan Serena has a fuel economy of around 15.2 km/l, which is approximately 35.8 mpg.

Pricing and Features Comparison

Used Toyota Alphard models can usually be found at quite affordable prices—BE FORWARD offers the vehicle between around $950 and $3,000. The car includes many features across the variants, making it highly competitive in the MPV market. The Alphard is extremely fuel efficient and superb in cities, offering an impressive figure ranging between 8.6 liters/100 km and 12.2 liters/100 km on highways.

Side of a used 2004 Toyota Alphard from used car dealer BE FORWARD.

Above: Used 2004 Toyota Alphard side

To ensure comfort, the Toyota Alphard is fitted with air conditioners, power front windows, power windows, power steering, rear A/C vents, glove box cooling, adjustable seats, an on-board computer, and other attractive high-end features. Many passenger safety features are included, like driver and passenger airbags, child safety locks, and an anti-lock braking system, among others. Entertainment is also enhanced with a radio system, touch screens, Bluetooth connectivity, CD and DVD player, front and rear speakers, and an integrated 2 DIN Audio system.

Side of a used 2006 Nissan Serena from used car dealer BE FORWARD.

Above: Used 2006 Nissan Serena side

Used Nissan Serena models on BE FORWARD range between around $570 to $2,555, which is slightly cheaper than a used Toyota Alphard but still keeping it within the same budget.

Make/Model: Toyota Alphard

Average Used BF Price*: ~$950 to ~$3,000

Make/Model: Nissan Serena

Average Used BF Price*: ~$570 to $2,555

*Based on average 2017 BE FORWARD pricing

Interior and Exterior Comparison

Toyota Alphard’s interior is fitted with a number of attractive features, like leather seats in particular models and a shiny trim. It can fit up to eight passengers and offers a large amount leg space as well as comfortable headrests.

Interior of a used 2007 Toyota Alphard from used car dealer BE FORWARD.

Above: Used 2007 Toyota Alphard interior

Adding to the interior elegance, the Alphard is fitted with mood lighting, featuring selectable colours, and a sunroof to allow for natural light. The car’s exterior is fitted with LED front lamps, power sliding doors, and a smart preset lock function, as well as front and rear sensors.

Nissan Serena’s interior features eight quality soft-touch seats, a central console with space to put cups or other small items, a stylish dashboard, and bright lights that make for easy interior visibility.

Interior of a used 2007 Nissan Serena from used car dealer BE FORWARD.

Above: Used 2007 Nissan Serena interior

The Serena also has a spacious cabin that’s great for large luggage. Its exterior is designed with a large front grille and four headlights, and gives off a sporty and streamlined look. The vehicle also has a large windscreen that helps reduce blind spots, and is designed with a large roof.

Make/Model: Toyota Alphard

Passengers: Maximum of 8

Notable Features: Mood lighting, sunroof, power sliding doors

Make/Model: Nissan Serena

Passengers: Maximum of 8

Notable Features: Wide console, spacious cabin, large windscreen

Engine and Fuel Efficiency Comparison

The Toyota Alphard has an engine displacement of 2494 cc with four cylinders, and an EFI fuel supply system. It yields a torque of about 178 hp, with its main fuel type being petrol, and has a fuel consumption rate of about 12l/100km.

Engine of a used 2003 Toyota Alphard from used car dealer BE FORWARD.

Above: Used 2003 Toyota Alphard engine

The Nissan Serena has a 1997cc engine displacement, giving a power capacity of roughly 145hp, and it operates on a CVT transmission system. Like the Alphard, it also has a 4-cylinder petrol engine. The auto generates a torque of 206 nm and has a fuel efficiency of approximately 8.3 liters per 100km. It is slightly more fuel efficient than the Alphard, which is also reflected in its low power generation.

Engine of a used 2000 Nissan Serena from used car dealer BE FORWARD.

Above: Used 2000 Nissan Serena engine


Make/Model: Toyota Alphard

Engine: ~2,360cc to ~2,990

Make/Model: Nissan Serena

Engine: ~1,990

Driveability and Handling Comparison

The Alphard is perfectly designed to give supreme comfort to its passengers and the car’s brakes are excellent, with a suspension that is tuned to absorb road imperfections as well. However, the complex nature of this car may make it a little more difficult to use at first for first-time drivers.

Rear of used 2002 Toyota Alphard from used car dealer BE FORWARD.

Above: Used 2002 Toyota Alphard rear

The Nissan Serena offers a well-balanced ride that handles exceptionally well under all driving conditions. In comparison with the Alphard, it does not contain as many complex features and systems that may seem daunting to new drivers as it instead offers a more simplified driving experience.

Toyota Alphard vs. Nissan Serena: Verdict

For drivers concerned about fuel efficiency, the Nissan Serena is a better choice between the two though it yields lower power and torque at the same time. Nonetheless, the Serena provides a solid driving experience overall. It also has stylish and convenient interior features, so it’s ideal for drivers looking for a touch of luxury without the price tag and overly complicated components.

Rear of used 2006 Nissan Serena from used car dealer BE FORWARD.

Above: Used 2006 Nissan Serena rear

In the case of more experienced drivers, the Alphard is also a great choice due to its more complex driving system that allows for higher personalisation in addition to its selection of standard features. In either case, both vehicles offer outstanding driveability and value, and are perfect for bigger families or small businesses looking to comfortably transport passengers and cargo on a daily basis.


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