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Toyota HiAce ups its game

HiFive: The new long-wheelbase crew van variant gives the option of having a HiAce with seating space for up to five adults.

More powerful petrol engine, increased safety and new auto box for Toyota HiAce

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Toyota logo16 Mar 2015

By TUNG NGUYEN

TOYOTA has refreshed its top-selling HiAce van range by dropping in a more powerful and efficient petrol engine, boosting standard equipment, and introducing two new variants.

The Japanese car-maker has tweaked the 2.7-litre naturally aspirated petrol four-cylinder engine for a power increase of 7kW – from 111kW to 118kW – as well as bumping peak torque figures by 2Nm to 243Nm.

The slight power increase is also accompanied by the introduction of a new six-speed automatic transmission – replacing the old four-speed self-shifter – which is available on petrol variants only.

The new transmission also brings with it a new price tag, with the petrol automatic option increasing by $500 to $3000, while the diesel automatic option remains at $2500.

Toyota says the upgraded engine matched with the new automatic transmission has helped reduce fuel consumption figures by up to 16.7 per cent, while the petrol engine paired with the manual gearbox has seen fuel use drop by “as much as 12.9 per cent”.

The most fuel-efficient petrol-powered HiAce – the long-wheelbase (LWB) van – now returns 9.8 litres per 100 kilometres, while the 3.0-litre diesel-engined variants offer figures as low as 8.0L/100km.

Range-wide tweaks include a new Eco driving lamp to inform drivers of efficient driving and slide adjustment for the front passenger seat, while LWB variants also get a new window in the left-hand sliding door to aid visibility.

New safety features introduced as standard include stability control, brake assist, hill-start assist and an emergency stopping signal.

Standard features retained on all HiAce variants include a reversing camera, power mirrors and windows, anti-skid brakes, cruise control and hands-free phone controls.

New to the diesel HiAce range is the five-seat LWB crew van variant, featuring folding seats in the rear which is available in a new exclusive colour – black.

The new diesel variant is priced at $37,990, plus on-road costs, slotting it above the entry level diesel LWB van ($35,990) which receives a $1000 price cut, but below the super long-wheelbase (SLWB) van ($44,990) and range-topping commuter bus ($57,490).

Petrol variant pricing remains unchanged, with the LWB van costing $32,990, SLWB van priced at $40,990 and commuter bus starting at $53,490.

Toyota now offers the petrol commuter bus with a no-cost, 12-seat option, as opposed to the standard 14-seat configuration, making it drivable on a standard license.

Toyota Australia sales and marketing director Tony Cramb said the new and improved HiAce will continue to sell strongly in the Australian market.

“Simultaneous increases in output and fuel economy for the petrol engine, standard fitment of vehicle stability control and other safety features, plus other addition features will ensure the ongoing popularity of HiAce as Australia's best-selling van and top-selling bus,” he said.

Toyota sold 6432 HiAce light vans in 2014, claiming 40.5 per cent of the market segment, while also selling 2615 HiAce buses, for a 93.7 per cent share of the light bus market.

The Japanese car-making giant has continued to dominate both segments in 2015, with 1123 HiAce vans and 428 HiAce buses sold already, representing an 18.3 and 96.3 per cent increase respectively in sales over the same period last year.

Toyota HiAce pricing*
Petrol
LWB van$32,990
SLWB van$40,990
Commuter bus$53,490
Diesel
LWB van$35,990
LWB crew van$37,990
SLWB van$44,990
Commuter bus$57,490
*Excludes on-road costs.

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