All-new Hiace celebrates world premiere in Manila

By Charles E. Buban Philippine Daily Inquirer February 20,2019

The Philippines may only be Toyota Motor Corp.’s ninth largest market, but when it comes to selling the Hiace, the Japanese automaker’s people hauler, this country whose auto sales averages 400,000 units a year, tops some of the world’s biggest auto markets like South Africa, Mexico, Australia and Thailand.

“This model has proven to be the most popular utility van in the country, achieving a market share of 56 percent last year. Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) is proud to be the number one distributor of the Hiace outside Japan, out of 150 other countries in the world where the model is present,” said TMP president Satoru Suzuki as he led the all-new Hiace’s global unveiling recently at the Grand Hyatt Manila, Bonifacio Global City.

This is the first time that the Philippines has hosted a world premiere for an all-new model.

The TMC and TMP officially introduced three variants of the all-new Hiace: the GL Grandia Tourer, the GL Grandia, and the Commuter Deluxe.

Available starting March 7

Both the Commuter Deluxe and the GL Grandia will be available for retail in all Toyota dealerships nationwide starting March 5, 2019. The GL Grandia Tourer will be available in early April.

Top executives of Toyota Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Philippines led the all-new Hiace global launch at Bonifacio Global City.

“The debut of the all-new Hiace comes at an opportune time for TMP, right when we are celebrating our 17th consecutive triple crown victory. We, at TMP, are honored to host this world premier. For the first time, all eyes are on the Philippines to witness the unveiling of a van that has undergone full model change, never before exhibited elsewhere,” said Suzuki.

Following the launch in the Philippines, the all-new Hiace will be gradually introduced in other countries and regions, with a focus on emerging markets.

Currently, the passenger van is sold in Asia including the Middle East, Africa, Oceania, Mexico, and Latin America.

Redesigned, reengineered

“(Since) it is our goal to continue the Hiace legacy—bringing people closer together by taking them to countless adventures and experiences, if not improve the daily operations of both public and private groups—the sixth-generation Hiace that we just unveiled today is a redesigned and reengineered van that will provide more comfort and convenience, not only to its passengers but also to its drivers,” said Suzuki.

A flat facia replaces the old snub-nose hood of the new Hiace.

TMC’s chief engineer Takuo Ishikawa, who was responsible for development, agreed: “The Hiace was developed using the key words of Hiace Pride, and from the concept of being a faithful partner that makes people feel safe, satisfied, and proud.

“Owners, drivers, and passengers know they are in good hands when they own, drive, and ride in a Hiace.”

Since the launch of the first-generation in 1967, the Hiace has become one of Toyota’s representative global vehicles, with more than 6.24 million units sold in over 150 countries.

The first-ever Hiace model in the Philippines was launched in 1967, while the outgoing one was introduced in 2004.

The Hiace’s signature cab-over design from previous generations is now gone, and instead, the people carrier gets a new face with a new snub-nose hood.

The all-new Hiace comes in two body types: the normal/standard roof Commuter Deluxe and GL Grandia versions that are both 5.265 meters long, 1.95m wide, 1.99m tall, and with a wheelbase of 3.21 m; and the long/high roof GL Grandia Tourer version that is 5.915 m long, 1.95 m wide, 2.28 m tall, and with a wheelbase of 3.86 m.

The Commuter Deluxe is capable of seating 15, while the GL Grandia can carry 12. The GL Tourer on the other hand, can seat 14 passengers.

New engine position

With the engine no longer mounted atop the front wheel axle, both driver and passengers can experience better ergonomics, without the heat and vibration emanating underneath the forward seats.

This new engine position also results in better serviceability, as the engine becomes easier to access compared to the previous generations.

With the new engine’s location, the all-new Hiace’s crumple zone area in front has also improved.

Toyota is also the first manufacturer to include a center seat airbag on a utility van for its front center passengers, bringing to three the total number of supplemental restraint system (SRS) airbags for the Commuter Deluxe, and two for the GL Grandia and GL Grandia Tourer variants.

The view from the rear assures passengers of more than adequate space inside the new Hiace.

Additionally, the all-new Hiace’s GL Grandia and GL Grandia Tourer variants come with vehicle stability control, hill start assist, anti-lock brake system, and emergency brake signals.

The Commuter Deluxe, on the other hand, has an anti-lock brake system and emergency brake signals.

New diesel engine

All variants of the all-new Hiace are powered by a new 2.8-liter diesel engine (1GD-FTV) that features a high-boost turbocharger, intercooler system, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), and dual mass flywheel (DMF) that leads to reduced cabin noise by absorbing engine vibrations.

In the Commuter Deluxe, the 2.8-liter engine generates 174 horsepower and 420 Nm of torque. In the GL Grandia, the engine generates the same 174 hp but more torque at 450 Nm.

The engine of the GL Grandia Tourer generates 161 hp and 420 Nm of torque.

All the three variants offer better handling with variable power steering, lighter gear shifting, and a MacPherson strut front suspension system with leaf spring rear suspension.

With a new drivetrain, the all-new Hiace is expected to be more powerful yet more fuel efficient than its previous generation.

All three trims of the new Hiace come with a dashboard-mounted shift stick. The GL Grandia variants featuring a touchscreen display.

Ishikawa explained that in emerging markets (including the Philippines) where the automobile market has continued to expand throughout approximately the last decade, demand has risen for passenger transportation including tourist minibuses, private buses, and vehicles for use in logistics.

“The new Hiace has been developed to be able to flexibly respond to these diverse needs—bigger legroom, a riding experience enhanced by wider door steps, strategically-positioned assist grips, and illuminated entry system. The plush headrests are making a comeback on the GL variants for their passengers to relax on, while the entire lineup prevents its daily passengers from suffering the usual discomforts of long-haul travels by improving overall suspension.”

Pricing for the all-new Hiace is as follows:

Commuter Deluxe 6-speed M/T at P1.59 million;

GL Grandia 6-speed M/T at P1.973 million;

GL Grandia 6-speed A/T at P2.048 million;

GL Grandia Tourer 6-speed M/T at P2.145 million; and

GL Grandia Tourer 6-speed A/T at P2.22 million.

Note that the “Luxury Pearl Toning” color option that is available for all the variants adds P15,000 to the price tag.

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