The History Of Toyota Hiace VAN

The Toyota Hiace is a motor vehicle produced by the Japanese manufacturer Toyota. First launched in 1967, the Hiace has since been available in a wide range of configurations, including minivan (MPV) and minibus, van, pick-up, taxi, ambulance and motorhome.

1st generation

Introduced in 1967, the Hiace was offered as cab-over pick-up, delivery van, and Commuter. And also named Hiace Commercial as a campervan. A very rare model these days mostly because of weather wear and rust, in Europe most of the vans are exported to Africa as they enjoy a longer life there.

2nd generation

The new Hiace of 1977 featured a smoother cab with single headlights. In addition to the petrol engine, a 2.2-litre diesel engine was offered in certain markets. New for the "20-40 series" Hiace were double-cab pick-up, super-long-wheelbase van, and high-roof Commuter.

When the third generation was released in 1982, certain variants of the 2nd generation were still built for several years after.

3rd generation

A new Hiace van was launched in 1982, with the Hiace pick-up coming later; the cab was shared with the bigger Toyoace light truck, however with different frontal styling. The Van is coded 50-series for short wheelbase, 60 for long, and 70 for super long. The pick-up trucks are 80 and 90-series. The Toyota Mobile Lounge, displayed at the 1987 Tokyo Motor Show, is based on the Hiace high-roof Commuter. While the van and Commuter were redesigned in 1989, the pick-up lasted until mid-1990s. This was the last Hiace pick-up.

4th generation

The fourth generation model appeared in 1989 and was available as a "wagon" in standard- and long-wheelbase; a Grand Cabin; standard- and long-wheelbase van; long- and super-long-wheelbase high-roof van. The latter shares a body with the Commuter, which is a 15-seat minibus.

A wide range of engines were used in the 4th generation vehicles, ranging from 2-litre petrol engines to 3-litre turbo-diesel engines. Most of the versions use part-time four-wheel drive but some models feature rear-wheel drive or permanent four-wheel drive system. The base model is the DX, with CD, GL, and super GL models also available.

Granvia / European Hiace

Launched for Japanese market only in 1995, the Granvia is a semi-bonneted van, with the front wheels positioned in front of the front seats for better safety. The engine for Granvia is either a 2.4L or 3.0L diesel, or 3.4L petrol. The Granvia spawned into the upmarket multi-purpose vehicles the Hiace Regius, the Grand Hiace and the Touring Hiace. In Australia, the Granvia was sold as the Hiace SBV with a 1.8L 4KE motor, alongside the fourth generation Hiace, and both were replaced by the new fifth Generation Hiace.

The Granvia, Grand Hiace, and Touring Hiace are upmarket passenger vans only.

Toyota LiteAce, launched in 1985

The Hiace was launched in the United Kingdom in 1983 and was based on the Toyota Space Cruiser MPV. Engines available were a 1.8L or 2.0L petrol and a 2.0L diesel.

The European Hiace van was introduced in 1995 with a 2.4 litre normally aspirated diesel or 2.7 petrol engine. In 2000 a 2.5L "D-4D" engine, offering 88bhp (66kW) or 102bhp (76kW), was offered (shared with Dyna and Hilux models). In 2006, the power outputs were increased to 95bhp (70kilowatts) and 117bhp (82kW) respectively with the introduction of a new face-lifted model. Short- and long-wheelbase models were available, with the choice of a single or double rear doors. Double sliding doors were also an option, as was a high roof. It is estimated there are over 365,000 Hiace vehicles on the road across Europe and around 15,000 new Hiace models are sold every year.

5th generation

The fifth generation Hiace appeared in August 2004 as a wide long-wheelbase wagon, wide super-long-wheelbase high-roof "Grand Cabin", long-wheelbase van, long-wheelbase high-roof van and a wide super-long-wheelbase high-roof van. In this generation the gear stick has been moved to the dash-board to enable easier movement in the cabin. Four-speed, five-speed and automatic transmission versions are available.

All of the models use a 4-cylinder DOHC engine, in a variety of forms: 1TR-FE 2000 cc petrol, 2TR-FE 2700 cc petrol or 2KD-FTV 2500 cc common rail DOHC intercooled turbo diesel.

Wheels magazine found in a van test that the diesel model could, in factory standard form, do donuts continuously with the speedometer reading nearly 100km/ h (62mph). Two of these engines are available in Malaysia, the 2KD-FTV 2.5 L turbo diesel, offered in a choice of panel van or window van; and the 2TR-FE 2.7 L petrol, that comes only in the window van option.

The 2.5 L turbo diesel engine has a maximum output of 75 kW at 3600 rpm and a maximum torque of 260 Nm at 1600-2400 rpm. The 2.7 L petrol engine has a maximum output of 111 kW at 4800 rpm and a maximum torque of 241 Nm at 3800 rpm.

Currently on Japan's list of the most commonly stolen vehicles the Hiace currently resides at #1. Because of it lack of a theft immobilizer, it is fairly easy to steal a Hiace, as opposed to much more valuable SUVs and sports cars, which have very technical theft deterent systems.

Due to its reliability and ability to cope with a wide range of terrain, the Hiace is one of Africa's most common vehicles, primarily being employed as a minivan taxi. The relatively cheap price tag, coupled with widespread parts availability allow this vehicle to serve as public transport for millions of people.

It is estimated by South Africa's Department of Transport that 8 in every 10 taxis are Hi-Aces.

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