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Toyota HiAce 2022 review: LWB diesel auto GL Package - GVM test

The HiAce LWB GL package is priced at $47,650 before on-road costs. (Image: Mark Oastler)

Daily driver score

4.5/5

Tradies score

4.5/5

When the current HiAce was launched in 2019, it was a no-brainer that this sixth-generation model would continue - or probably increase - Toyota’s long-standing dominance of Australia’s mid-sized (2.5-3.5 tonne GVM) commercial van market.

The latest VFACTS industry figures for January 2022 confirm that, with an enviable 21 per cent rise in sales compared to the same month last year, boosting its share of a market segment with 10 competing models to more than 46 per cent. In other words, almost one in every two mid-sized new vans sold in Australia is a HiAce!

We recently spent a working week with one, to be reminded why it remains the number one choice for about half of all Aussie buyers wanting a one-tonne van.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

Our test vehicle is the popular LWB (Long Wheel Base) workhorse which, following the quiet demise of the redundant 3.5 litre petrol V6 option, is powered exclusively by Toyota’s venerable 1GD-FTV 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel.

It’s available with either standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic like our example, which although presented in the HiAce’s ubiquitous French Vanilla has a more upmarket look thanks to Toyota’s GL option pack. This adds body-coloured front and rear bumpers, door handles and mirrors, plus front and rear chrome garnishes, front fog lamps and a digital rear-view mirror with auto-dimming. The $1000 GL pack boosts the list price to $47,650, but that’s still comfortably under $50K before on-road costs.

A consistent theme with HiAce is small enhancements made as running changes during production. These don’t attract much attention, as they represent a process of incremental refinement rather than major upgrades.

With its 16-inch steel wheels fitted with plastic wheel covers and 215/60R16 tyres. (Image: Mark Oastler) With its 16-inch steel wheels fitted with plastic wheel covers and 215/60R16 tyres. (Image: Mark Oastler)

The first of these revisions in mid-2020 were focused on the infotainment system to improve connectivity and ease of use. More came in July 2021 (as fitted to our test vehicle) comprising a larger centre console plus Toyota Connected Services, which includes an app for mobile phones and safety/security functions like Stolen Vehicle Tracking, Automatic Collision Notification, SOS Emergency Call and more.

With its 16-inch steel wheels fitted with plastic wheel covers and 215/60R16 tyres, the HiAce comes with a full-size spare plus a work-focused standard equipment list. This includes folding and heated door mirrors with indicators, tilt-and-reach adjustable leather-accented steering wheel, manual air-con and two 12-volt accessory sockets to name a few.

The dual-speaker infotainment system has a big 8.0-inch touchscreen and steering wheel controls, DAB+2 digital radio and multiple connectivity including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Siri voice recognition, Bluetooth, sat-nav and more.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

Since our last review, a glass panel in the cargo bay’s LHS sliding door has become standard issue across the range, which is no doubt aimed at trying to alleviate the substantial blind-spot that exists over a driver’s left shoulder, in not only the HiAce but all solid-walled vans.

The neat and functional two-tone dash layout has intuitive controls that are easy to use and instrumentation that’s easy to read. However, the continued lack of a fold-down inboard armrest for the driver’s seat remains a glaring omission for the market leader, given that such a device can significantly improve driver comfort and numerous rivals include them as standard equipment.

The neat and functional two-tone dash layout has intuitive controls that are easy to use and instrumentation that’s easy to read. (Image: Mark Oastler) The neat and functional two-tone dash layout has intuitive controls that are easy to use and instrumentation that’s easy to read. (Image: Mark Oastler)

Its 1990mm height allows easy access to underground and multi-storey car parks and its 3210mm wheelbase boasts an impressively tight 11.0-metre turning circle.

The rear-wheel drive chassis design has an inherent traction advantage over front-wheel drive vans, particularly with heavy payloads. It’s also typically robust with MacPherson strut front suspension, a leaf-spring live rear axle and speed-sensitive rack and pinion steering, plus premium four-wheel disc braking on all automatic variants.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

In HiAce spec, the refined and efficient 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel meets Euro 5 emissions standard, thereby simplifying maintenance by not needing to top-up an AdBlue tank. There’s also an automatic engine stop-start function to minimise fuel consumption, but thankfully this annoying feature can be switched off. It produces 130kW at 3400rpm and (in auto models) a sizeable 450Nm of torque between 1600-2400rpm.

Toyota HiAce produces 130kW at 3400rpm and (in auto models) a sizeable 450Nm of torque between 1600-2400rpm. (Image: Mark Oastler) Toyota HiAce produces 130kW at 3400rpm and (in auto models) a sizeable 450Nm of torque between 1600-2400rpm. (Image: Mark Oastler)

The Aisin AC60E six-speed torque converter automatic offers sequential manual-shifting if required. Fuel economy is optimised by full converter lock-up on fourth, fifth and sixth gears, along with overdrive on fifth and sixth for highway operation. There’s also an electronically-controlled automatic limited-slip diff.

How much fuel does it consume?

With the engine stop-start function turned off during 294km of testing, our consumption figures calculated from tripmeter and fuel bowser readings worked out at 10.2L/100km, which compares with Toyota’s official combined average of 8.2L.

Given this vehicle is shaped like a house brick and weighs more than 2.2 tonnes (it’s also gained 20kg in kerb weight since we last tested this model), the fact it was nudging single-digit consumption was commendable given it was mostly driven in city and suburban traffic. So, based on our figures, you could expect a realistic driving range from its 70-litre tank of around 680km.

How practical is the space inside?

The cargo bay offers a generous 6.2 cubic metres of load volume. It’s 2530mm long, 1760mm wide and 1340mm high with 1268mm between the rear wheel housings, which means it can carry two standard 1165mm-square Aussie pallets or three 1200 x 800mm/1200 x 1000mm Euro pallets, secured by six floor-mounted anchorage points.

It’s accessed through a non-glazed RHS sliding door and glazed LHS sliding door (both with 1010mm-wide openings) plus a glazed single-lift tailgate. As there’s no rear barn-door option, loading from behind is not possible for most forklifts (we use a hydraulic engine hoist that rolls in under the open tailgate). However, we suspect most HiAce owners don’t carry pallets, so there’s no demand for barn doors. The cargo bay walls and doors are lined to mid-height and there’s ample internal lighting.

The cargo bay walls and doors are lined to mid-height and there’s ample internal lighting. (Image: Mark Oastler) The cargo bay walls and doors are lined to mid-height and there’s ample internal lighting. (Image: Mark Oastler)

The new centre console is a useful advance that cures previously limited cabin storage. It now offers not only the existing open tray at floor level but adds a large lidded box above it which is similar to those found in giant US pick-up trucks.

This cavernous compartment also has an external storage shelf at the front, two large-bottle holders at the rear and another shallow storage tray set into the lid, which when closed can double as a work desk. This is in addition to the existing glovebox, small-bottle/cup holders in the centre and on either side of the dash and a large-bottle holder and storage bin in the base of each front door.

There are small-bottle/cup holders in the centre and on either side of the dash and a large-bottle holder and storage bin in the base of each front door. (Image: Mark Oastler) There are small-bottle/cup holders in the centre and on either side of the dash and a large-bottle holder and storage bin in the base of each front door. (Image: Mark Oastler)

Our test vehicle’s 2225kg kerb weight and 3300kg GVM results in a 1060kg payload rating, of which up to 120kg can be carried on the roof using Toyota’s genuine accessory triple-bar roof rack set.

Our test vehicle’s 2225kg kerb weight and 3300kg GVM results in a 1060kg payload rating, of which up to 120kg can be carried on the roof using Toyota’s genuine accessory triple-bar roof rack set. (Image: Mark Oastley) Our test vehicle’s 2225kg kerb weight and 3300kg GVM results in a 1060kg payload rating, of which up to 120kg can be carried on the roof using Toyota’s genuine accessory triple-bar roof rack set. (Image: Mark Oastley)

It’s also rated to tow up to 1500kg of braked trailer and with a GCM (or how much it can legally carry and tow at the same time) of 4800kg, it can haul its maximum payload while towing that weight. Needless to say, those numbers are high on practicality and suitable for any number of work and recreational roles.

What’s it like as a daily driver?

The engine has ample power and torque, displaying good flexibility with strong low-rpm response. The Aisin six-speed does its best work in automatic mode, with crisp and smooth shift protocols that optimise engine response, particularly at sub-80km/h speeds typically encountered in city and suburban driving.

It also needs only 1700rpm to maintain 100km/h and 1800rpm at 110km/h. This makes it low-stressed and economical on the highway, with driver comfort enhanced by cruise control which is easy to use and maintains set speeds with discipline, even on downhills.

The roof is internally lined from windscreen to tailgate, which we suspect helps to reduce internal noise levels that are surprisingly tolerable for a van without a bulkhead between cabin and cargo bay.

The engine has ample power and torque, displaying good flexibility with strong low-rpm response. (Image: Mark Oastler) The engine has ample power and torque, displaying good flexibility with strong low-rpm response. (Image: Mark Oastler)

Given its one-tonne-plus payload rating, the ride quality when empty or lightly loaded is surprisingly smooth, combined with responsive steering and strong braking. The tight 11-metre turning circle, thanks largely to its rear-wheel-drive design, allows for easy manoeuvrability.

There’s easy cabin access and it’s not hard to find a comfortable driving position thanks to plenty of seat adjustment, height-and-reach-adjustable leather steering wheel and a well-placed left footrest. The combination of large glass areas and active driver aids like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert instil confidence.

What’s it like for tradie use?

In our experience, it’s a very competent load hauler. We’ve previously strapped 975kg into the cargo bay of this model which with driver was right on the GVM limit, but minimal compression in the rear leaf springs left ample bump-stop clearance and therefore suspension travel.

With its ample 450Nm of torque, the heavily loaded HiAce never felt sluggish on climbs and cruised effortlessly at highway speeds. Engine-braking was equally robust and the auto transmission held the manually-selected gear. This was reassuring when leaning on the engine during long, steep descents, knowing it wasn’t about to suddenly shift up a gear (to prematurely protect the engine) like numerous rivals.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

Maximum five-star ANCAP rating achieved in 2019. There are also seven airbags plus a benchmark suite of active safety features headlined by AEB with day/night pedestrian and day cyclist detection, plus lane departure alert with steering assist, road sign assist (including audible red light and speed camera warnings), trailer sway control, hill-start assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors and more.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

The HiAce is covered by Toyota's five years/unlimited km warranty. Scheduled servicing is relatively short at six months/10,000km intervals, whichever occurs first. Capped-price of $260 per service covers the first six scheduled services over three years or 60,000km.

The sixth-generation HiAce maintains Toyota’s long-standing dominance of mid-sized van sales due to numerous strengths, not least its reputation for ruggedness, dependability and strong resale value. The latest model adds efficient and practical design, good driver comfort and cabin storage, strong load-carrying ability and benchmark safety.  If you can find a better one-tonne van, buy it.

$49,650

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

4.5/5

Tradies score

4.5/5
Price Guide

$49,650

Based on new car retail price

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.