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Toyota’s updated HiAce loads up

Hi alert: The Toyota HiAce has received a number of tweaks since it was launched in 2005, with the latest adding seat-belt warnings and bucket seats.

Extra safety gear, more car-like cabin and refreshed front-end for Toyota HiAce

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Toyota logo27 Mar 2014

TOYOTA has tweaked its top-selling HiAce commercial van range by giving it a fresh new look and adding extra safety and comfort gear to ensure it maintains its title as the top pick among Australian small business operators.

The additions come at no extra cost for two of the three variants, with the Long Wheelbase (LWB) maintaining its $32,990 sticker price and the Super Long Wheelbase (SLWB) staying at $40,990, excluding on-road costs.

Toyota’s 14-seat HiAce Commuter bus cops a minor $500 increase for a new price of $53,490.

Pricing is for versions fitted with the standard 2.7-litre VVT-I petrol engine matched with a five-speed manual gearbox. Opting for the four-speed automatic adds $2500 and the 3.0-litre common-rail turbo-diesel powertrain pushes the price up by another $4000.

A HiAce LWB specified with a diesel engine and automatic transmission brings the price up to $39,490 before on-roads. Premium paint adds a further $550 and an automatic door for the commuter bus will set buyers back another $900.

Entry level petrol versions of its rivals include the Hyundai iLoad petrol manual from $30,990, the Renault Trafic LWB diesel from $34,990, The Fiat Scudo LWB diesel at $28,990 and the Volkswagen Transporter TDI250 LWB diesel from $38,490.

Changes to the front-end include redesigned headlights with daytime running lights, larger radiator grille openings with a trapezoidal shape and restyled front bumper with sharper edges “to emphasise the stronger front”.

There is also a new body colour – scarlet – that Toyota says reflects buyers’ preference for darker colours.

Toyota also says it has listened to customer feedback and made the cabin more car-like by including bucket seats which are now separated by a centre console box.

Other improvements to comfort levels include the addition of audio and cruise control switches on the HiAce’s new four-spoke steering wheel while a new LCD ‘Multi-Information Display’ shows the time as well as the outside temperature and odometer.

Vans matched with the automatic transmission also gain an ‘Eco’ driving indicator advising the driver of when the accelerator is being used efficiently to encourage low fuel use, while a shift position indicator is now included in the instrument cluster.

Safety wise, Toyota is now offering HiAce with seat-belt warning buzzers for both driver and passenger and a warning lamp for the passenger.

The LWB van has a 2570mm wheelbase and the SLWB and 14-seat Commuter bus feature the same 3110mm wheelbase.

Toyota has consistently upgraded the HiAce since it launched the fifth-generation version back in 2005, with mild tweaks in 2006, 2007 and 2010 before the Japanese car-maker added a reversing camera with a 3.3-inch camera display housed in the rear-view mirror across the range in 2012.

The HiAce continues to be the top choice for commercial vans buyers in Australia, with Toyota selling 6622 units of the LWB and SLWB in 2012, marking a slight 3.7 per cent increase over the 2012 result of 6387.

Hyundai was the closest rival on sales last year shifting 3974 iLoads, well ahead of the third-placed Volkswagen Transporter on 1724 sales.

In the light bus segment, HiAce is king, with 2193 sales last year for a whopping 95.3 per cent share of the market, easily beating Ford’s Transit bus with 84 sales for the year and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter bus with just 25 sales.

2014 Toyota HiAce pricing*
LWB van$32,990
LWB van (a)$35,490
LWB van diesel$36,990
LWB van diesel (a)$39,490
SLWB van $40,990
SLWB van (a)$43,490
SLWB van diesel$44,990
SLWB van diesel (a)$47,490
Commuter bus$53,490
Commuter bus (a)$55,990
Commuter bus diesel$57,490
Commuter bus diesel (a)$59,990
*Excludes on-road costs.

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