Since its release in the 1970s, the HiAce has undergone five separate generational overhauls. The HiAce comes in panel van format, offering great functionality at a far lower price than equivalent vehicles from competitor car marques such as Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz. The fifth-generation Toyota HiAce rolled out in 2005 and was based on the design of the Toyota Granvia. Under the bonnet is a 2.5l common rail diesel engine delivering far more torque than older models thanks to efficiency improvements, enabling the HiAce to handle heavy loads with little to no strain. Engine power outputs come in two tiers - a basic 95PS and a 120PS option with even more pulling power.
Two wheelbase lengths are available, the choice of which naturally affects the loadspace volume on board. The short wheelbase comes in at 2,335mm, providing 5.4m3 of space to the rear. The larger model extends to 2,780mm and offers a huge 6.5m3 load-carrying volume. Both variants of the HiAce can easily accommodate two standard Euro pallets, and with one sliding door on the left of the van body as standard, loading and unloading will be easy. Depending on personal requirements, rear door options include either double barn doors which open out to a full 180 degrees or a vertically opening tailgate alternative.
Toyota 2006-2007 Model Upgrades
In 2006 the HiAce gained a fresh front end featuring bigger ‘jewel-style’ headlights in an attempt to refresh the range. The 2007 model received a further internal and external facelift, but many complained that the lights were too large, as was the grill - looks-wise the 2007 model was generally a step backwards for the Japanese manufacturer. There were improvements to the interior with new materials for the seats and a redesigned four-spoke steering wheel contributing to a more car-like driving experience.
Technical upgrades were better received. The 2007 model received new Euro 4-compliant common rail 2500cc diesel engines rated at 95PS and 120PS. The upgraded 2.5l D-4D common rail diesel engine provides better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, with torque on the lower-powered 95PS engine improving from 192Nm to 230Nm. The more powerful 120PS engine boosts torque by 34Nm to a huge 294Nm.
The short and long wheelbase options offer plenty of choice, with gross vehicle weights coming in at 2.8t and 3.0t respectively. Further customisation comes in the choice between double barn doors and a vertical tailgate.
2009 Model Toyota Hiace
The HiAce features only one trim level. There are, however, other options. You can choose from features such as sat-nav with traffic avoidance, electric mirrors and CD player that also manages MP3s. ABS comes as standard - as does central locking and an airbag on the driver’s side.
The most notable improvement in the 2009 Toyota HiAce was the inclusion of electric windows and air conditioning as standard across all variants, along with enhanced sound-damping technology to reduce the effects on driver comfort of road rumble and environmental noise.
The HiAce was retired by Toyota in 2012 and replaced by the ProAce, but that doesn't mean it should be consigned to the history books. Toyota is renowned, perhaps more so than any other manufacturer, for designing and manufacturing commercial vehicles that are built to last. Owners will be pleasantly surprised to see the HiAce cover mile after mile without any serious problems emerging, and potential buyers can take confidence from the sheer number of second-hand and used HiAces still on the market in good working order.