Make / Model Search

New models - Toyota - Hiace

First drive: Toyota’s HiAce - a new vintage van

Refreshed: New styling encloses a bigger, safer HiAce box.

Rather than risk the radical, Toyota chose steady evolution for its fifth generation HiAce

11 Mar 2005

Back in the 1960s Toyota chose ‘HiAce’ as the name for its new light commercial range. The ‘Hi’ represented High Performance, while ‘Ace’ signified a hard worker. Not all that much has changed in nearly half a century and the latest model retains the same essential character.

In developing the new HiAce, the term BEST was used – Beneficial, Efficient and economical, Safety and Tough Transport. “Increased passive safety was one of our most important targets,” says HiAce chief engineer Hideyuki Iwata.

“We set out to achieve this while maintaining the cargo floor length that HiAce customers require. Achieving that balance meant rethinking the whole crash absorption process and a major effort in advanced computer aided design.

"The result was a new chassis structure, with two-layered side members to disperse and absorb crash impact energy. I call this unique Y-frame structure the alligator chassis, but you might prefer crocodile.” And in the event of a frontal impact the brake booster is swivelled away from the brake pedal and steering column. Dual airbags are standard but anti-lock braking is optional.

Toyota claims the HiAce is competitive with any rivals on safety, although it has not yet undergone benchmark European NCAP testing.

Standard air conditioning probably belongs under B for Beneficial. And Toyota matches its latest rivals by providing a dash-mounted gearchange for both manual and automatic versions. A new wide-bodied Super Long Wheelbase (SWLB) variant has a 3110mm wheelbase to take HiAce into new territory and is expected to bring incremental sales.

Utility remains the key theme. The engine has been moved 20mm forward to the benefit of cargo floor length. Door openings are wider and SLWB models have higher sliding door openings. There are more storage areas, especially around the driver’s seat.

The standard long wheelbase (LWB) van has six cubic metres of cargo space with a floor length of 2930mm, while the SLWB has 9.8 cubic metres and floor length of 3470mm. Cargo heights and widths are 1335/1635mm and 1545/1730mm respectively. And big gains in fuel efficiency have been achieved thanks to two new engines.

The diesel is a 16-valve common-rail turbocharged unit of 2.5-litres capacity, delivering 75kW at 3600rpm and 260Nm of torque from 1600 to 2400rpm in its base form.

The diesel engine used in the SLWB van and Commuter bus is equipped with an intercooler which boosts peak power to 80kW at 3600rpm and offers a broader torque spread. Both variants feature electronic engine management and drive-by-wire throttle. The previous diesel engine had eight valves and no turbo.

The 2.7-litre dual overhead camshaft, multi-valve petrol engine makes 111kW of power at 4800rpm and 241Nm of torque at 3800rpm.

8 center imageAll models boast improved fuel efficiency. The LWB diesel manual van is said to deliver 20 per cent better fuel economy, averaging 8.1L/100km, while the manual SLWB diesel van and Commuter bus are claimed to be 18.5 per cent more efficient at 8.8.

The petrol LWB van is rated at 11.6L/100km for both manual and automatic versions.

All petrol models feature hardened valves and valve seats to allow for LPG operation. And a factory-backed LPG conversion is on offer for $3500 with the take-up rate expected to be between five and 10 per cent.

Transmission choices are five-speed manual and four-speed automatic, which doesn’t look very twenty-first century. European van buyers expect six-speed manuals and five-speed autos.

The LWB (2570mm) van is just 55mm longer than the superseded SWB (standard wheelbase) model but provides the same cargo length as the outgoing LWB model.

Hideyuki Iwato suggests that the fifth generation will be on sale for about 10 years.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

GoAuto can help you buy a new Hiace

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Toyota models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here