Toyota HiAce A Pleasant Start For Luxury Van Segment

Vans can be exciting as well, much more than just as drivable tin cans we often think. Since we are used to a market that offers ridiculously basic, unexciting econoboxes, we hardly appreciate them. But this may change in near future. Toyota Kirloskar Motors intends to launch its well-liked minivan (MPV) HiAce in India by second-half of this year, offering new hopes for an active luxury van segment.

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Toyota officially calls it “HiAce”, and so I go by that! The fact that this model is in its fifth generation and is sold in over 140 countries say its evolution over time and reliability. It is offered in a wide range of configurations – cargo MPV, minivan, high-roof commuter, pick-up, etc. Moreover, HiAce accounts for over 40% of all vans sold in Australia, one of the large market globally. It is a kind of big hit is most of East Asian markets like Japan and Philippines, which means the model’s consumer credibility is pretty high. Toyota should also be doing its best in pricing and equipping it well to strike right cord.
 

Here at the Bus and special vehicles show 2015 that is currently going on, Toyota is exhibiting the high-roof passenger variant of HiAce. To them, this model would have made more sense to India and so at least for next few years, this would be the only variant the company would offer. This 5.38 metres long HiAce features a rigid body frame than other variants, which can help for better road dynamics over highways. The ten seat configuration with four rows of bucket seats and large cargo bay can suit for both luxury travels and city-commutation purposes.

Large sealed window panes and wide opening sliding door only on the passenger-side, and even wider hatch door at the rear tells you how mammoth this vehicle is. The cabin appears unbelievably grand in terms of size and space. Individual bucket seats on a flat floor then tells you this isn’t anything near to a car. The dashboard is fantastic, with car like steering features, instruments, and gear lever up on it. The driving position is nice and fairly comfortable. Exterior design, on the other hand, is simple yet good for a vehicle of this sort. The comprehensive front chrome grille is attractive, but the high roof design actually spoils the vehicle’s charm considerably. Both the windshields are vast, adding to its gargantuan manifestation.

The HiAce will feature a 3.0 litre D-4D diesel engine that produces 136PS of power and 300Nm of torque. A four-speed auto gear box comes standard with it. An ABS, dual SRS airbags, reverse parking camera, power closing sliding door, and touch-screen audio system were found in the model.

Toyota HiAce, once launched, will definitely attract luxury travel firms for varied commercial applications. Many of them are paying more for imported Mercedes Vito or Sprinter or VW Crafter models to lure customers. Though 14-seater Sprinter and Crafter are larger than HiAce, the latter can perfectly meet the requirements and expected luxury. Overdrive expects it to be priced around Rs.15 lakhs, which is fair for such luxury CV segment the HiAce would initiate. 

More Images of 2015 Toyota HiAce from Bus and Special Vehicles Show 2015


 

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Dhiyanesh is equally crazy about driving cars and writing about them. This guy loves everything with a steering wheel, so, at someday if self-driving cars take up all driving, he is sure to go nuts! He likes sedans of 90s era, esp W140 S-Class and R34 Skyline GT. Apart from usual motoring stuffs, he maintains a strong appetite for sociological perspectives on cars, their historical and cultural footprints. He owns a 1999 Fiat Siena passionately, and drives a Ford Fiesta.