Ever since the launch of the first-generation Hiace in 1967, Toyota has sold more than 6.24 million units in over 150 countries. The van was first introduced in Philippines in 1994 and has sold more than 135,650 units ever since. The Hiace holds a significant market share in utility van segment in the country, giving Toyota a good reason for the debut of the 6th generation model.
The new Hiace has gone back to semi-bonnet design. Meaning, the engine is no longer mounted atop the front axle, keeping both driver and passenger away from the heat and vibration emanating underneath their seats.
There are two body types available – Standard or High Roof. Compared to the previous generation, the new Hiace has significantly grown in dimensions.
The new Hiace can carry up to 17 people, and features large door pockets and generous under-seat stowage. The transition from a cab-over design to semi-bonnet additionally increases collision safety. Toyota claims to be the first manufacturer to include a center seat airbag on a utility van for its front center passenger. Also included are Vehicle Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, ABS, and Emergency Brake Signals.
Powering the new Hiace is a choice of 2.8-litre diesel engine or a 3.5-litre petrol engine, paired to a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Following the launch in Philippines, the new model is to be gradually introduced in other countries and regions, with a focus on emerging markets. The current Hiace model will continue to be sold in Japan as-is, due to different local market requirements, Toyota said.