BUYER’S GUIDE: 2018 Toyota Hiace

Cherryl Anne Cruz

The Toyota Hiace was first launched in 1967 as a cab over pick-up, delivery van, and a stretched commuter vehicle by Toyota. Since then, it branched itself out into different body configurations that showcase its versatility.

Today, this popular, all-rounder can be a pick-up, mini-van, multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), ambulance, panel van, and even a huge taxi. Five generations have passed, and the Hiace continues to win the hearts of many Filipinos even today.

Exterior

This Toyota Hiace hasn’t changed a lot in terms of design, still sticking with its traditional, boxy shape that remains relevant–yet unremarkable–even today. Its base model, the Commuter, measures 4,695mm (L) x 1,695mm (W) x 1,980mm (H), with a 2,570 mm wheelbase.

It still has limited colors to choose from: silver metallic and white. That’s enough if you’re the straightforward, utilitarian type of person. However, if wearing a “Flavescent Yellow” polo shirt with a “Chartreuse Green” lace scarf makes you hyperventilate like crazy, then the Hiace isn’t for you. As you can see, this isn’t the vehicle you turn to to look stylish and fashionable.

Interior

The Hiace offers a standard instrument panel, with day and night rear view mirrors, a door ajar warning signal, dual air conditioners, and key/left/lights off reminder signals.

Its folding, moquette seats are comfortable enough to relax in. What’s more, this 15-seater’s seats can be folded to maximize the space inside, offering decent room for everyone to move around and throw their things inside.

Other than that, nothing stands out–except perhaps how much space you now have to wrestle that girl beside you for wearing a “Flavescent Yellow” polo shirt with a “Chartreuse Green” lace scarf.

Specs and Performance

The Hiace’s direct-injection, four-stroke, four-cylinder, in-line, 16-valve, 2.5-liter common-rail diesel engine has had a power upgrade recently. Now with a bigger engine, its Commuter base variant can churn out 103hp and pull 260 Nm of torque.

Performance is okay, although we’d like to warn you that the gearing is a bit low. Its strength, however, is its pulling and hauling capacity–even when fully loaded inside.

Safety

Safety features are dismal–and can really do better even for the higher variants. Standard offerings include 3-point ELR seatbelts and anti-lock brakes. One good thing it has, however, are better safety crumple zones in the body, which is still pretty plain for our standards.

Our Verdict

We think you already have a good idea what we’re going to say here. The Hiace is your “dream come true” if you’re the practical, comfort-driven type who wants to use it for business or commercial ventures–or you just have a huge family (or team) that likes to move about from time to time.

One thing that makes the Hiace fare far better than its other rivals is its durability. It’s a Toyota–and its half a century lifespan speaks for itself.

However, if technology, and more customizable features are important to you, then you have far better choices in the market today. Or if you really like the Toyota Hiace, then just get the higher variants for better features.

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