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Driven: Toyota HiAce to remain segment leader

All-new Toyota HiAce to continue best-selling van status with major upgrades

28 May 2019

TOYOTA Australia believes its all-new HiAce van range will remain the best-selling offering in its segment, despite an increase in price across the range between $4000 and $6000 on all variants.
Prices now start from $38,640 plus on-roads for the long-wheelbase van with V6 petrol engine and manual gearbox – a $4000 increase – and top out at $70,140 for the Commuter GL minibus with a turbo-diesel and automatic transmission combination.
Speaking at launch of the sixth-generation HiAce in Melbourne, Toyota Australia vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said the increase in price was less relevant to buyers than the total cost of ownership.
“I’ll tell you what we look at,” he said. “When you look at the mix of sales on HiAce it’s traditionally very high level of business or fleet ownership.
“So rather than looking at a recommended retail price position, we look at the whole-of-life position. So that’s fuel efficiency, resale value, and in fact if you look at our calculations on whole-of-life cost over four years, I think the weekly payment increases by $4.
“So we think we have a very appealing whole-of-life cost that will appeal to fleet owners.”
While not being drawn on sales targets, Mr Hanley said the company is aiming for the HiAce to remain segment leader, where it has enjoyed around a 30 per cent segment share in recent times.
As the first all-new HiAce model in 15 years, the sixth generation brings some major changes to the range with greater safety, increased dimensions, new infotainment and more powerful engines across the range.
Powertrains have been overhauled in the new range, with the old 2.7-litre petrol and 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines making way for a more powerful 3.5-litre petrol V6 and 2.8-litre oil-burner.
Offered on long-wheelbase (LWB) and super-long-wheelbase (SLWB) van versions, the V6 punches out 207kW of power at 6000rpm and 351Nm of torque at 4600rpm, representing a considerable 89kW/108Nm increase over the previous 2.7-litre unit.
Mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, the V6 sips 12.4 litres per 100km and emits 283 grams of CO2 per kilometre in three-pedal guise, down to 12.0L/100km and 275g/km in automatic versions.
Meanwhile, the HiAce also borrows the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine from the HiLux ute, which in van models outputs an identical 130kW at 3400rpm and either 450Nm from 1600-2400rpm when mated to the six-speed auto or 420Nm from 1400-2600rpm with the six-speed manual.
Versions of the Commuter bus are offered with a slightly less powerful tune, with 120kW at 3600rpm and 420Nm from 1600-2200rpm.
Fuel consumption ranges between 7.5 and 8.4L/100km depending on the variant, while CO2 emissions come in at 197-219g/km.
Toyota says fuel efficiency has increased by as much as 8.7 per cent over the previous 3.0-litre unit, thanks to its smaller displacement and technology such as automatic engine idle-stop. Diesel models are also fitted with a particulate filter to reduce emissions.
There are no current plans for Toyota Australia to introduce a hybrid powertrain option, however head office in Japan is studying the implementation of electrified powertrains for the new platform.
A range of configurations will be offered on the HiAce, starting with the two-seat van in LWB and SLWB lengths, which thanks to the new architecture underpinning the HiAce are 570mm (to 5265mm) and 535mm longer (5915mm) than their predecessors respectively.
Wheelbases have also increased by 640mm for the LWB (3210mm) and 750mm for the SLWB (3860mm).
With a 215mm wider cargo area – to 1760mm, or 1268mm between the wheel housings – maximum load volumes for the two models stands at 6.2 and 9.3 cubic metres.
LWB versions are also offered in crew van guise, which adds a second row of seats to increase occupant capacity to five. The crew van is paired exclusively with the turbo-diesel/automatic combo.
Two versions of the SLWB 12-seat Commuter bus are available, a standard version and the top-spec Commuter GL which adds features such as body-coloured front and rear bumpers and doorhandles, LED daytime running lights, power sliding door, increased sound insulation and acoustic glass, and synthetic leather/fabric seats.
Toyota says it expects the LWB turbo-diesel auto van to be the best-selling model with around 30-35 per cent of overall sales, while the oil-burner will make up around 80 per cent of total sales volume – a number that is continuing to trend upwards.
With safety credentials a point of emphasis for commercial and fleet buyers, Toyota has gone all-out on the new HiAce with the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) suite of technologies made standard across the range.
TSS incorporates a pre-collision safety system with autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-departure alert, traffic-sign assist and automatic high beam.
A blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera with guide lines and cruise control are also standard.
Van models come with seven airbags, while crew vans score an extra two rear side curtain airbags. Commuter variants delete the front side and side curtain airbags.
Toyota says the redesigned engine bay, which now features a semi-protruding bonnet, also enhances safety with a substantially increased crumple zone.
As a result, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has awarded the HiAce a five-star safety rating, recording a 94 per cent adult occupant protection score.
Independent MacPherson front suspension and revised solid-axle, leaf-sprung rear suspension are said to aid ride comfort, while newly developed rack-and-pinion steering and a wider wheelbase and wheel track (1670mm front/rear) help improve on-road stability.
The turning circle has also been reduced from 12.8 metres in the SLWB to 11.0m, thanks to wheel articulation that has improved by seven degrees to 45 degrees.
Inside, the HiAce scores a 7.0-inch screen projecting Toyota’s latest infotainment system, which comes with DAB+ digital radio, USB, auxiliary and Bluetooth connectivity, satellite navigation with live traffic updates and voice recognition.
From the fourth quarter, the HiAce will become one of the first Toyota vehicles to be offered with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and will be able to be retrofitted on vehicles purchased before then at no extra cost.
Other interior features include a 4.2-inch multi-information display, two 12V sockets and a six-way adjustable driver’s seat.
Through the first four months of 2019, the outgoing HiAce has remained the best-selling model in the 2.5-to-3.5-tonne van segment with 1593 sales, despite a 22 per cent drop year-to-date.
Its 29.3 per cent market share leads the Hyundai iLoad with 24 per cent, and a host of other offerings around the five to 10 per cent mark.


2019 Toyota HiAce pricing*

LWB van V6 $38,640
LWB van V6 (a) $40,640
LWB van diesel $42,140
LWB van diesel (a) $44,140
LWB crew van diesel (a) $47,140
SLWB van V6 (a) $48,640
SLWB van diesel (a) $52,140
Commuter diesel (a) $67,140
Commuter GL diesel (a) $70,140

*Excludes on-road costs

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