Toyota's HiAce has traditionally dominatedAustralia's medium van market, but is it actually as superior as its sales suggest? To find out, we've assumed the role of WhiteVan Man and examined the HiAce in its natural habitat -the city.
The HiAce still dominates its class but itsstranglehold appears to be waning.
Hyundai's iLoad is drawing ever closer, andwith recently revised rivals like Renault's Trafic, Ford's Transit Custom, Volkswagen'sTransporter and the Mercedes-Benz Vito now in the mix, does the HiAce still deserve itscrown? Well, the venerable HiAce isn't without itsfaults.
Due to its cab-over-engine format the driver'sseat is high and access is awkward, even with the help of an A-pillar grab handle.
On the go the cabin is noisy while the appointmentsare fairly Spartan.
There's no seat height adjustment, cab storageis limited and compared with its rivals the HiAce cockpit feels dated.
However, the 3.
0-litre turbo-diesel is punchyand it takes a decent load in its stride.
A mid-2016 update to Euro 5 compliance sawthe addition of a diesel particulate filter, and – says Toyota -improved fuel economy.
This L WB model, with four-speed auto, hasa maximum payload of the best part of a tonne, and a measurement of 1110mm between its wheelarches.
The neutral steering and rear-drive formatadd up to a docile but pleasing dynamic package; the turning circle is tight and the travelheight is low, at 1980mm.
A reverse camera comes standard, while theHiAce also has ABS, stability control, two airbags, and hill hold assist.
Our test vehicle is priced at $39,260 pluson-roads, and comes with three-year capped price servicing, a three-year/100,000km warranty,and 10,000km service intervals.
The HiAce may have been usurped by the competitionwhen it comes to ergonomics, but it's still a proven and rugged van that nails the essentials.
Its dominance has been underpinned by itsreputation as a rock-solid workhorse, but we can't help but look forward to the nextgeneration – whenever that may appear – and a HiAce with a few more creature comforts.