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Toyota reveals redesigned HiAce

Toyota’s new HiAce mid-size van and bus range emerges ahead of mid-2019 launch here

Toyota logo19 Feb 2019

TOYOTA has revealed its fully revamped HiAce light-commercial vehicle ahead of its Australian launch mid-year, when the top-selling mid-size van and bus range will enter a new generation for the first time in 15 years.

 

The Japanese auto giant says it expects the sixth-generation model to achieve a maximum five-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) – up from the four stars it managed when last tested in 2011 – based on the use of a more rigid structure and the inclusion of advanced driver-assist safety features including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection.

 

As many as nine airbags – up from two – will also be fitted to the new HiAce, as well as the option of a digital rearview mirror. A reversing camera will continue as standard.

 

Two revised powertrains will be offered – a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel and a 3.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, both with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

 

Full specifications remain under wraps, but count on output and economy being superior to the current 100kW/300Nm 3.0-litre diesel and 118kW/243Nm 2.7-litre petrol.

 

At launch, the new HiAce will continue to be available as a two-seater van in long-wheelbase (LWB) and super-long-wheelbase (SLWB) configurations, a five-seater LWB crew van and a 12-seater SLWB Commuter bus.

 

Van cargo capacity is listed at 6.2 cubic metres for the LWB and 9.3 for the SLWB, while maximum braked towing capacity increases to 1900kg on certain models, up 500kg.

 

Toyota says longer wheelbases and revised packaging increase internal width by 215mm and height by 5mm without altering overall exterior width, while the cargo area of the two-seater van is accessed via wider sliding side doors and can hold Australian-standard pallets.

 

Other advantages brought with the redesign are claims of improved cabin access via a wider step and a lower bottom edge for the front doors, while larger front door glass and a lower beltline is said to improve visibility.

 

The front suspension switches from a double-wishbone design to MacPherson struts, with the rear end continuing with leaf springs, albeit with modifications that aim to improve ride and handling. 

 

Toyota says it has also shifted to a semi-bonneted design, however the current HiAce already uses this configuration, so claims that this subsequently “enabled the development team to implement significant changes with a stiffer frame, stronger straight-line performance, greater stability and manoeuvrability and more pliant suspensions” need clarification.

 

Toyota Australia vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said the company anticipates improved “whole-of-life costs with excellent reliability and resale value along with minimal downtime and affordable maintenance”.

 

The HiAce is the market-leading mid-size LCV van/bus, commanding a third of all 2.5t-3.5t van sales in Australia last year with 6852 registered – down 8.3 per cent on 2017 but still 2500 units clear of its nearest competitor, Hyundai’s iLoad.

 

HiAce is also the light bus of choice in Australia, owning an 86 per cent share of the category (20 seats or less) last year. Toyota shifted 2641 HiAce buses in 2018, up 17.6 per cent on the previous year.

 

Expect pricing to increase in line with the extra equipment brought with the new generation. The current LWB petrol manual van starts at $34,470 plus on-road costs, with auto and diesel each adding $3060.

 

The LWB Crew five-seat diesel is priced from $39,570 and the SLWB van starts at $45,690 for the auto-only petrol and $46,710 for the manual diesel.

 

Bus pricing ranges from $59,460 plus on-roads for the auto-only petrol, rising to $60,480 for the manual diesel and topping out at $63,030 for the auto-shifting oil-burner.


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