By Steve & Tamami Laser; with Nahoko Osuka reporting from Japan
Since its launch in 1967, Toyota has sold more than 6.24 million units of the Hiace van in 150 countries. Today, Toyota revealed a new generation of the popular van designed for international markets with major changes to the vehicle’s character.
By adopting a revised platform with a new “semi-bonnet” design, the engine is no longer mounted atop the front axle. In addition to improving ride comfort and quietness, the new models are said to offer improved serviceability and safety.
Toyota plans to offer a wide range of Hiace vans to suit the needs of various markets. Body styles include standard and high roof models with passenger and cargo versions. Engine choices feature the 1GD 2.8-liter turbo-diesel or 7GR 3.5-liter gas teamed with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
Along with its all-new body that Toyota says is based on the design ideas of TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture), Hiace gains longer wheelbases, plus newly developed MacPherson strut front and leaf-spring rear suspensions.
“The Hiace was developed using the key words ‘Hiace Pride,’ and from the concept of being a faithful partner that makes people feel safe, satisfied and proud,” said Chief Engineer Takuo Ishikawa. “Owners, drivers, and passengers know they are in good hands when they own, drive and ride in a Hiace.”
Different seating layouts for Hiace Commuter models can transport up to 17 passengers while Tourism versions are said to offer specialized interiors and functionality. According to Toyota Australia, the new Hiace is targeted to achieve a maximum 5-star safety rating due to its highly rigid structure, and will offer advanced safety technologies, including a pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking.
“In addition to being highly capable right off the showroom floor, all-new Hiace has been designed to offer immense flexibility through conversions and customization to meet varied business and personal needs,” said Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing.
Toyota Australia says the SLWB two-seat van can accommodate Australian standard pallets (1165mm x 1165mm) through wider sliding side doors.
Toyota plans to put the new Hiace on sale starting next month in the Philippines with a mid-year intro in Australia. Other countries and regions are planned to follow during the rollout. Meanwhile, the automaker says that the current-generation Hiace (with its forward-control design), will continue to be sold in Japan due to the different local market environment.
News sources and photos courtesy Toyota Motor Corp., Toyota Motor Philippines, and Toyota Australia
Vehicle features, specifications, and launch timing for international models is subject to change without notice.
Story (text and commentary) © 2019 CarNichiWa.com