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The Hiace ZR model boasts a larger cargo area – it’s also lower, making it easier to load

New 2019 Hiace takes transport to the next level

Hiace, the highly dependable ‘go-to’ van and passenger transporter for more than five decades, has been radically reworked from top to bottom in a new sixth-generation range that has just been launched in New Zealand.

The Toyota Hiace is almost the household word for van. It has played a role in growing and supporting a vast number of successful businesses in New Zealand and around the world. Hiace vans are part of our daily lives, transporting people and cargo, tools and small packages across towns, cities and rural roads.

Officially launched in May in New Zealand, the all-new sixth-generation Hiace boasts a complete revision of its core features, and while Toyota has retained its principal functionality – great load-carrying ability, easy maintenance and multiple interior layout configurations – it has also found ways to improve these features and add greater comfort, durability and safety.

“Hiace is the unsung hero of the Toyota range,” says Neeraj Lala, Toyota New Zealand’s general manager new vehicles and product. “It has a 51-year history in New Zealand and this, the sixth generation, is the most fit-for-purpose version yet for Kiwis.” 

The numbers don’t lie – 75% of the van market in New Zealand is covered by five brands, of which the Toyota Hiace dominates.
“It’s been 14 years since the previous generation was launched, and the new Hiace changes the game completely. It ticks all the boxes as a workhorse van, but drivers and passengers will experience greater comfort and functionality,” Mr Lala says. “It is genuinely a van that drives like a car.”

New design, greater comfort

Most noticeable about the all-new 2019 Hiace is the shift to a semi-bonnet design. By moving the engine and front wheels forward of the driver and front passenger, the Hiace is quieter and more comfortable when travelling, with improved access and greater safety in the event of a collision.

Secondly, the semi-bonnet platform provides a longer wheelbase, increasing the exterior length and revising the cargo area shape that allows operators to take advantage of the increased payload. The width of the cargo area has also been aligned, increasing the accommodation for bulky cargo – a sheet of plasterboard can now lie flat in the back between the wheel arches.

All new variants of the Hiace have a height-adjustable driver’s seat for increased driver comfort along with cruise control. There’s more useful storage in the centre console for the likes of order books and vehicle logs. Driver and passenger technology have also been updated. All models have a 7 inch touchscreen audio unit with satellite navigation and a GPS traffic-monitoring channel, as well as mobile assistant, bluetooth and voice recognition. The driver cockpit has a 4.2 inch colour multi-information display with a digital speedometer.


With the knowledge that Hiace is used by a myriad of businesses – from builders and couriers to taxis and luxury hotels – Toyota has looked for continual improvements that allow for greater customisation, as well as providing a range of seating layouts for commuter vans and tourist operators.

“Owners can customise the van to suit their own unique needs,” says Mr Lala. “We’ve talked to Hiace owners in the field to create a van that is highly versatile with flat-mount surfaces and anchor points to make it easy to customise the vehicle.”

Toyota has recognised that the Hiace is unique to other vehicles in that the owner is not necessarily the driver or the passenger. “Each of these people has their own needs and expectations when they interact with the Hiace. Owners want a durable, dependable and safe vehicle with good resale value and low operating costs. Drivers want a safe, comfortable, easy-to-drive and reliable vehicle. Passengers want a comfortable and safe vehicle that is a pleasure to ride in,” says Mr Lala.

Improved functionality and safety

With a completely revised platform and body, the new Hiace improves access for passengers and cargo alike. The front door opening has a wider step, providing greater access. Larger fixed-glass areas on the front doors increase side-to-side visibility. A lower belt line gives the driver an improved downward field of vision at the front.

The new Hiace features the Toyota Safety Sense package, which is now standard across the new range. This comprises a pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking and vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian detection. It also has a lane departure alert with brake control (yaw assist) and vehicle sway warning, road sign assist and automatic high beam. 

Other safety features include trailer sway control, blind spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic alert. In addition to the reversing camera, the all-new Hiace also gains front and rear parking sensors.

Have Hiace your way

The new-generation Hiace will be available in New Zealand in five variants, with two body sizes, two body types and three passenger seat configurations. All models are powered by a 2.8 litre turbo diesel which delivers better fuel efficiency and more power.

Toyota drive-away pricing includes all on-road costs, WOF, registration, a full tank of fuel, 1000 km of RUC, the Toyota Care Service Advantage package, floor mats, and the three-year/100,000 km warranty. Prices start from $44,990.

For further information, visit www.toyota.co.nz/new-car/hiace/

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