Toyota will leave it to the Europeans to fight for customers who want their mid-sized van to come with all-wheel-drive, with the company making it clear there are no plans for an AWD HiAce.
While such a variant wouldn’t necessarily be a shoe-in for the Australian market, countries like Canada and the USA, not to mention Europe, would no doubt take up any HiAce AWD derivative that became available.
Indeed, a number of comments on our Toyota HiAce 2019 review on YouTube suggest there is a global market for such a van.
LJN71 wrote: “Add 4WD and offer it in Europe. Please!!”
Captain Carter said: “I just contact Toyota Canada about HiAce. They not gone sell in Canada. Miss opportunity. No AWD version.”
Juz3 wrote: “Looks like we get shafted on the AWD model again.”
But the fact of the matter is that the HiAce is built for 150 countries, predominantly ones that don’t require all-wheel drive availability. It hasn’t harmed the HiAce’s fortunes to date, with more than 6.3 million examples sold - all in rear-wheel drive.
“We are not developing it,” said Toyota HiAce chief engineer Takuo Ishikawa when asked if the brand would consider a four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive version of the HiAce.
Globally there are AWD versions of the Volkswagen Transporter, Volkswagen Crafter, Mercedes Sprinter, Mercedes Vito and Ford Transit, among others. Of that list, only the VW versions are sold in Australia.
The HiAce sold in Australia is available with the choice of a 3.5-litre petrol V6 or 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder - and yes, all variants are rear-wheel drive only.
Do you see a market for an AWD version of the Toyota HiAce? Tell us why in the comments section below.