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The Toyota Hiace range of vans is a durable and inexpensive option for businesses, but one which admittedly began to show its age before it was discontinued in the UK in 2012. Sticking with a relatively boxy body design for many years means that even recent models can look a bit anachronistic. But under the surface, it is an unshakable workhorse with plenty of things that will appeal to buyers.
Having undergone five different generational updates since its emergence in the early 1980s, the Toyota Hiace is a panel van which is also a little less expensive than equivalent models from manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and VW. The 2007 model made some styling changes as well as a number of fundamental alterations to components to keep it competitive. And no matter which model of Hiace you choose, the reliability of this range will make it a suitable commercial choice.
Beneath the bonnet there is a 2.5 litre D-4D common rail diesel power plant, which in its latest guise is more efficient than older engines while delivering more torque for carrying heavy loads with little apparent effort. The basic engine offers 95PS, while there is a second tier 120PS unit on offer for those who need a little more pulling power.
The load space available on board the Hiace depends on whether you pick the SWB or LWB versions, with the former offering 2335mm of length while the latter extends this to 2780mm.
Even the smaller of the two vans can accommodate a pair of Euro pallets without a problem, which is a key design benefit of this range. The rear doors are available either as side-hinged units that can pivot out to 180 degrees when opened or a rear lift alternative that may be suitable for some users. Load volume levels sit at 6.5 cubic metres for the LWB iteration of the Hiace, while the SWB model comes with 5.4 cubic metres of space in the rear. A full steel bulkhead was added to certain variants, while one sliding door on the left of the van is standard.
The interior of the Hiace range was made all the more pleasant from 2009, when air conditioning became a standard feature of every variant, along with electric windows and improved sound-damping to prevent road rumble and outside noise from compromising comfort levels. Optional sat-nav systems were available, and while some of the dash elements seem a little dated, it is a practical place to spend time. Central locking, ABS and an airbag for the driver are part of the package for late-model Toyota Hiace vans.
What Toyota does better than almost any other manufacturer is to build commercial vehicles that can stand the test of time. Whether it is used for local runs around the city or longer-distance travel on a regular basis, a Hiace will be able to keep covering mile after mile without encountering any real issues. And the number of second-hand examples that are still in good working order is a testament to this state of affairs.
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