With 55 years of iconic travel and 6 generations under its belt, the Toyota HiAce commercial van is an incredible automotive success story. Particularly in the Philippines, the Toyota HiAce has legendary status for both commercial and consumer duty. The HiAce is an integral part of our lives as passengers, drivers, and owners. Until the current 6th generation though, the HiAce endured principally because of its reliable duty carrying multiple passengers with load throughout the archipelago. It has helped create endless memories and experiences with friends and family. But it was not a pleasure to drive or maintain after its factory warranty had expired.
The old flying brick design of its previous generations had the driver and front passengers sit atop of the engine where you would feel the heat and buzziness of the powertrain. As a reminder, the current generation, thanks to Toyota chief engineer Takuo Ishikawa, uses a front hood/bonnet arrangement instead of the old cab-over design which not only looks exponentially better but more importantly allows the HiAce to perform with astoundingly better-balanced performance while creating more solid capacity and passenger comfort.
In the past, performance dynamics was not a critical concern as long as the vehicle would conduct itself as engineered to carry passengers and/or cargo safely at very modest speeds. Handling, braking, acceleration, and ride comfort for all passengers truly took flight with the current 6th generation model. We have been very critical of the HiAce in the past precisely because it was so popular despite having compromises that we felt were being overlooked because of its resounding success and role fulfillment.
We just love the thorough and opulent 10-seater Toyota Super Grandia Elite version of the HiAce which literally covers all its bases with the very best components found in the Toyota parts-bin, and bridges the gap between the standard HiAce models and the Alphard. Our test unit here is the more mainstream GL Grandia 12-seater model which uses the same 3210-mm wheelbase as the Super Grandia Elite but swaps out the plush 4-link coil sprung rear suspension with vented disc brakes for a higher-load rated leaf-sprung rear suspension with drum brakes, uses halogen headlights, fog lamps, and rear light assembly instead of the trick full-LED units, it rides on a more commercial grade 16-inch gumballs in place of the 17-inch alloys, and so much more. Yet the GL Grandia is still quite nice to ride and drive in, especially when loaded. The GL Grandia is also more powerful and better configured than the larger 14-seater bubble-top Grand Tourer variant.
With the fourth-row folded up, the GL Grandia becomes a very comfortable long-distance 8-seater with a very commodious trunk, reclinable individual combination fabric with vinyl bench seating, and generous passenger USB power sockets. It does have cruise control, stability control, and hill-start assist as well as rear sonars for parking, though I wish it had an additional standard rear camera for easier maneuvering in tight spots.
The Toyota HiAce GL Grandia may not have the luxuries and better dynamic abilities of the Super Grandia Elite, but it holds its own exemplary merits. Even with the fierce competition at present and near future, the Toyota GL Grandia has no equal in our market for practical real-world capacity, versatility, and dependability.
|Cylinder Head||dohc 16V|
|Fuel Injector||CRDi Intercooled VNT Turbodiesel|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||174 bhp @ 3400 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||332 lb-ft @ 1600-2400 rpm|
|Top Speed||182 km/h (114 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||11.5 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||8.2L/100km overall|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||PhP 2,205,000.00 (Luxury Pearl Toning) (PhP 2,190,000.00 for Black Mica and Silver Mica Metallic)|
|What's Great||A real workhorse, unflappable versatility, reliability and durability, capacity, without a direct parallel, and passenger comfort.|
|What's Not So||No rear camera, halogen headlights, rear drum brakes, leaf-spring rear suspension, single rear passenger door, and no traditional full rear window openings.|
|C! Editors Rating||9/10|