Finally, The HiAce Got The Nose It Deserves

It seems like the venerable Toyota HiAce got its next-generation groove going! By introducing its iconic utility van on my backyard, Manila, Philippines last weekend.

What it seems to be a formal gala event, due to the vehicles significance and importance. Aside from Toyota’s homeland of Japan, the Philippines is its largest market! Especially if you’re within the Manila area, these vans are virtually everywhere! Although you’ll barely see any 4th generation HiAces around, the majority of Filipinos are used to the mentality of ‘newer is better’ so all you see here are the 5th generation models.

2020 Toyota HiAce GL Grandia Worldwide Debut at a gala event in Manila, Philippines (Top Gear Philippines)

In contrary to its 5th Gen traditional (and widely loved and practical) cab-over design, Toyota opted the more mainstream front-end engine layout design. I guess its meant to comply with Global safety standards and to formally compete with mainstays like the Mercedes-Benz V-class/Vito/Metris, Hyundai Starex/H-1, Ford Transit Custom, Renault Traffic (& its rebadges), and Peugeot Expert (& its rebadges).

The HiAce is now formally a ‘Medium-Size Commercial Vehicle’ (while the VW Caddy/Ford Transit Connect are smaller and MB Sprinter/Hyundai H350 are larger).  

2020 Toyota HiAce Grandia Tourer & and its base variant (Toyota Australia)

Unfortunately, to people who have some OCD issues, with an extra bulk on its nose comes with a sacrifice on its overall cabin/cargo space compared to the previous model. 

The Differences in Overall Packaging Between the 2019 & 2020 models (Toyota Japan)

Short wheelbase:

  • Length: 4695mm (old) / 5265mm (new)
  • Width: 1695mm (old) / 1950mm (new)
  • Height: 1980mm (old) / 1990mm (new)
  • Weight: From 1620kg (old) / From 2150kg (new)

Long wheelbase:

  • Length: 5380mm (old) / 5915mm (new)
  • Width: 1880mm (old) / 1950mm (new)
  • Height: 2285mm (old) / 2280mm (new)
  • Weight: From 1810kg (old) / From 2325kg (new)

It also seems like based on the Philippine news reel, that this new HiAce will use its tried and true engine from the Fortuner, Hilux, and Innova’s 2.8L 1GD-FTV Turbodiesel engine with various different horsepower and torque outputs depending on model selected. 

Really!? Go-go Dancers for a commercial van debut!? For a sports car, yes. But not this!

I’m glad that the HiAce will have both manual and automatic transmissions across the model range!

Interior Comparison of 2019 & 2020 HiAces (Autodeal PH)

Obviously, this HiAce will be another huge running success in due time. But some of my questions lie:

  • Will this 6th-Generation HiAce replace the Citroen Jumpy-based Toyota ProAce in Europe?
  • Will Toyota North America finally import/build this van? Since it has a nose now!
  • Will Toyota give more engine or drivetrain options in the near future? If not, the HiAce is DOA outside Asia.

3/4 Rear View (Toyota Japan)

 

FUN FACT!

With all the hoopla about this generations HiAce now having its engine in the front, not many people may know that this generation HiAce is not the first model to receive its front-engine layout! In fact, back on its 4th-generation days, Toyota released two versions of the HiAce! One was the H100-series that we all know, love, and familiar with, this cab-over variant.

Then there was this one, the XH10 & XH20 or XH-series for short: 

XH-Series Grand HiAce [JDM] (Wikipedia)

XH-Series Grand HiAce [JDM] (Wikipedia)

XH-series Grand HiAce w/ Dual Rear Sliding Door [JDM] (Wikipedia)

This specific version of the HiAce was like the heavy duty alternative to the to the contemporary Nissan Elgrand and Toyota’s own Estima (Previa) in Japan before it was replaced by the Alphard. It had two drivetrains (RWD & 4WD), and four engine choices (two gasoline and two diesel). Some models even came with dual rear sliding doors!

Compared to its JDM platform-mate, the European version had a much more spartan affair:

Pre-facelift XH-series HiAce SWB [Euro] (All Vehicles UK)

Post-facelift XH-series HiAce SWB [Euro] (Toyota UK)

XH-series HiAce SWB [Euro] (Toyota UK)

XH-series HiAce LWB [Euro] (Toyota UK)

The Euro model only had one engine (with different outputs per model) and drivetrain choice, while there were two body length and transmissions. Also two tailgate options too!

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