Still very fresh from winning the very best-in-class in the 15th C! Awards as a van after so many years despite being the top commercially sold van in our market, Toyota has unleashed their very best version of the HiAce to insure its position in our market as the very best for all seasons. We have been very critical of the HiAce in the past precisely because it was so popular in spite of having compromises that we felt were being overlooked because of its success.
Not anymore. Toyota has literally covered all its bases. In order to bridge the gap between the standard models and the incredible high demand Alphard, they created the Super Grandia Elite model that is segmented by its own set of variants of color and trim but retains the essential upgrades. Our test unit was the top-range two-tone model in what they call Luxury Pearl Toning. I would prefer to save the extra P15k and get the monotone scheme. IF you are one of the rare buyers that actually drive the van for all occasions and don’t require the additional capacity nor need the extra fuel range, the Alphard is still the better driving luxury mini-van because of its fully independent suspension, overachieving front-wheel driven V6 gasoline engine, and 8-speed automatic gearbox. However, at the retail cost of at least P3,740,000.00 which is P850,000.00 more than our test unit combined with the mind-numbing delivery waiting period, it looses its luster considerably. The vast majority of buyers for the full-size SG Elite van will not be driving their vehicles but if they do on occasion, they will be rewarded with the very best performing HiAce EVER.
The SG Elite combines the very best components found in the Toyota parts-bin. The only way that they can top themselves at this point is offer the same luxuries to the longer-wheelbase 3,860-mm platform and offer fourth-row captain seats and add powered ottoman’s and larger headrests to the third-row seats too to match the second-row. Using the shorter 3,210-mm wheelbase of the standard GL model, the current SG Elite can theoretically carry 10 passengers but with just enough trunk space to fit in small soft baggage underneath the seats. The first two rows of seats do slide about so you can find the best seat arrangement to suit your space requirements. The best arrangement is to actually remove the fourth-row altogether so you can have a full trunk and optimal comfort for six adults which is still two-more than in the Alphard.
With all the nice upgraded interior fitments though that further make the interior also quieter, from the extra NVH materials, generous amounts of wood-trim, ambient lighting, USB power sockets, and nice quilted leather seats, Toyota removed the ability to open the windows on the two sets of passenger glass. There are thankfully four ISOFIX mounts found on the two sets of captain seats, which is very considerate.
Toyota fitted the most powerful version of their excellent 2.8-liter turbodiesel, added rear disc brakes, and replaced the leaf-springs with coil springs. So, with less weight than the Grand Tourer to carry, with better suspension and the additional active anti-sway feature combined with the stability control, the SG Elite is the best overall performing HiAce in history. To help justify the extra cost over the standard GL, the new luxury model has a different set of good-looking alloys mounted with 235/60R17 109T Dunlop SP LT30A tires, completely new front and rear designs, brilliant full-LED headlights (with washers), fog-lamps, and signature rear light assemblies, a rear parking monitor embedded in the automatic dimming rear-view mirror, more opulently designed interior, manual rear window shades, better standard active safety measures, cruise control, more chrome (which is debatable), automatic climate control with front and rear sonar support parking sensors, and power sliding side doors. You get capacity, comfort, luxury, and fuel efficiency all in a good-looking box of fun.
|Engine||Inline-4, 2755 cc, dohc 16V, Direct Injection Intercooled Turbodiesel, 6-Speed AT|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||174 bhp @ 3400 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||332 lb-ft @ 1600-2400 rpm|
|Top Speed||183 km/h (114 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||11.9 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||18.6 km/L overall|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||PhP2,890,000.00|
|What's Great||Thoughtful design, bountiful passenger comforts, very spacious with effortless and efficient power, 4-ISOFIX mounts|
|What's Not So||Price, rough tire compound, no rear passenger window openings.|
|C! Editors Rating||10/10|