It’s a mid-sized mover with a badge that has a reputation for reliability and durability second to none. And the Crew version gives you the option of carrying three extra passengers.
What Stands Out
The HiAce is the last forward control van left on the Australian market. It’s available as a super long wheelbase, as a mini-bus and as a mid-wheelbase van with a choice of a 3.0-litre turbo diesel or the less popular 2.7-litre petrol donk. The 3.0-litre may sound familiar to some Toyota diehards; it’s the same engine that was used in the last gen HiLux and Prado. It’s a pretty agricultural unit.
The most popular engine by far is the diesel and it makes 100kW of power and 300Nm of torque. Gear changing duties are taken care of by either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed auto. While the gearbox may seem old school it does need to be pointed out that this is a proper auto with a torque converter rather than an automated manual. And power gets to the ground via the rear wheels.
There’s nearly six cubic metres of load space in the back of this van, though less with the rear seat unfolded. Payload is just under a tonne and it will tow 1.4 tonnes as long as you don’t have a load in the back.
There aren’t a lot of creature comforts happening inside this Toyota. There’s a little storage, a couple of cup holders and acres of drab plastic and vinyl. A very basic Bluetooth enabled stereo and air-conditioning are as luxurious as it gets. I should also mention that it does indeed have power steering.
The rear bench seat folds and rolls to make room for a load if need be. Ventilation is provided by windows in the glazed sliding doors. The forward seating position of the HiAce means that you are sitting on top of the front wheels which makes negotiating speed humps a thoughtful endeavor. It does mean however that it has a pretty good turning circle.
If you want a basic box on wheels with a reputation for bulletproof reliability, here’s your van. If you want comfort and up to the minute features, look elsewhere. The Toyota HiAce is a solid dependable workhorse that will cop virtually everything you throw at it.
But it does feel very dated both to sit in and drive. The 3.0-litre diesel engine is a tough engine and both gearbox options are as well. The petrol version lends itself to gas conversions and is popular with the taxi crowd. The diesel though is the choice of couriers and tradies everywhere.
The HiAce gets a three year 100,000km warranty and service intervals are at 10,000km intervals.
In the mid–size van market virtually all of the opposition is superior in terms of performance, refinement and comfort. But the business case for HiAce just keeps on selling it. It doesn’t break, stuff fits in it and it’s drive layout means that it’s pretty nimble in the back streets.
Small businesses continue to buy HiAces based on Toyota’s reputation for not breaking or falling to bits. It’s a rough and tumble workhorse and this Crew version only expands its appeal to those who need a versatile business appliance on wheels.