Car Trivia of the Week: Top 3 Things You Didn’t Know About the Toyota HiAce
Vans or minivans are a staple on Philippine roadways, and none is more popular than the iconic and longstanding Toyota HiAce. The first-generation Toyota HiAce debuted in 1967 and came in three body styles: delivery van, cab over pick-up with a rear bed, and a long-wheelbase commuter vehicle. Back then, the HiAce became a smaller alternative to the Toyota Coaster minibus.
The Toyota HiAce remains the default choice of Filipino families looking for more seats, more space, and more of everything in a family vehicle. And yes, the HiAce is just a van, but there are some interesting facts behind Toyota’s legendary people carrier. Here are the top 3 things you didn’t know about the Toyota HiAce.
Top 3 Toyota HiAce Facts
1. The Toyota HiAce was developed to compete with the Nissan Homy.
When Nissan and the Prince Motor Company merged in the mid-1960s, the former wasted no time unveiling the Nissan Homy in its Japanese home market. The Homy or Prince Homy is a passenger van riding on the underpinnings of the Prince Homer light-duty truck. If you didn’t know, the legendary Nissan Skyline started life as the Prince Skyline luxury car.
The Prince Homy came to market two years before Toyota’s first-gen HiAce was introduced to the masses. According to sources, the first-gen H10 Toyota HiAce manufactured from 1967 to 1977 is one of the rarest examples of the breed. If you happen to find one in your grandfather’s barn, you have gold in your hands.
2. The second-gen Toyota HiAce spawned the equally-iconic Toyota LiteAce.
The success of the first-gen HiAce is a green light for Toyota in making a more extended version of the original. The second-generation Toyota HiAce came to market in 1977, featuring bigger dimensions and a more streamlined body design. The Commuter version with a high-roof configuration has enough space to accommodate 15 passengers.
The Hi-Ace’s growth spurt led Toyota to introduce the smaller LiteAce minivan. The LiteAce had similar dimensions to the first-gen HiAce. And like the HiAce, the first-gen LiteAce M10 was developed by Toyota Auto Body, a manufacturing subsidiary of Toyota Japan. If you grew up in the late 80s to the mid-90s, we’re pretty sure you’re familiar with the Toyota LiteAce.
3. The current sixth-gen Toyota HiAce is unique among its predecessors.
All five generations of the Toyota HiAce had a cab-over body design in which the cabin is sitting on top of the front axle and the engine resting under the front seats. Most vans had this type of body design (with the exemption of American vans like the Ford E-350 and GMC Savana) until the Hyundai Starex came storming for the masses in 1997. However, the current sixth-gen Toyota HiAce has ditched the cab-over design and has a conventional hood and front bonnet, making it unique among its predecessors.
Toyota HiAce – Philippine Spec
Here in the Philippines, the Toyota HiAce is available in many variants. Toyota Motor Philippines sells the previous fifth-gen HiAce Commuter and HiAce Cargo vans alongside the sixth-gen HiAce Grandia. The Grandia is also available in GL, Commuter Deluxe, GL Grandia Tourer, and Super Grandia. If you want something more luxurious, the Toyota Alphard is a premium and upscale version of the HiAce.
The HiAce Commuter, GL Grandia, Tourer, and Super Grandia have a more powerful 2.8-liter D4D turbocharged diesel engine with 176 horsepower and up to 332 pound-feet of torque. The engine has a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Prices for the Toyota HiAce are from Php 1.1-million to Php 2.3-million when bought brand new. But if you shop at Automart.Ph, you can find used and repossessed Toyota HiAce vans with low mileage and affordable prices.