BUYER'S GUIDE: 2019 Toyota Hiace
Toyota Motor Corporation did something highly unusual when it launched the 2019 Toyota Hiace in the Philippines before anywhere else. It's something that has never been done before, which begs the question: Why did Toyota--a global giant--prioritize our country over other major car markets for the world-premiere of the sixth-generation Hiace? Two reasons come to mind: The Filipinos' love for family, and the fact that the Hiace is one of the bestselling vehicles in the country for so many years.
Considering that the outgoing Hiace was a hot seller throughout its life, Toyota didn't really need to introduce its replacement this soon. Then again, the company is not the number one carmaker in the world for nothing. Get to know more about the 2019 Toyota Hiace in this Buyer's Guide.
The biggest change in the sixth-generation Hiace is the engine location. While past Hiace vans had their engine located underneath the front seats, the latest version has it up front. A 1GD-FTV 2.8-liter engine now sits before the driver's knees, dishing out 161 to 176 hp and 420 to 450 Nm of torque, depending on variant. Speaking of variants, the 2019 Hiace has three: the GLE Grandia Tourer, GL Grandia, and Commuter Deluxe. The top two trims come with a choice of six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission, while the base Commuter Deluxe only has the manual gearbox option.
The 2019 Toyota Hiace is longer, wider, and taller than ever before. With the engine now moved to the front, naturally, the 2019 Hiace now has a longer snout, making it two feet lengthier than its predecessor. The GL Grand Tourer in particular, is a whopping 152mm (six inches) loftier than the tallest trim of the outgoing model. It’s also 290mm higher than its fellow current trims, allowing for a more spacious feel overall. Design-wise, the 2019 Hiace exterior boasts clean character lines sweep through the Hiace horizontally, creating a strong muscular look. The GL Grandia Tourer comes equipped with LED daytime running lights and fog lamps at the front bumper, complemented by chamfered rear combination lamps.
Three different variants offer three different seating capacities. The top-spec GL Grandia Tourer seats 14 people, while the Commuter offers the most seats with 15. The mid-trim GL Grandia only seats 12. The seats GL and Tourer have individual recline save for the rearmost bench seat. Drink holders also come aplenty, with the Commuter having five, the standard GL with 20, and the Tourer with 24 cup and bottle holders in all. Large overhead and console trays also offer storage for other items. The GL variants come with more comfortable headrests for passengers to relax on. Other added creature comforts include wider legroom, strategically-located assist grips, and an illuminated entry system.
Moving the engine up front offers better protection for driver and front passenger against crashes. Meanwhile, a center seat airbag is available for front center passengers, making Toyota the first utility van maker to offer such a feature. All in all, there are three Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) airbags for the Commuter Deluxe and two SRS airbags for the GL Grandia and GL Grandia Tourer variants. The upper variants also come with Vehicle Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, Anti-Lock Brake System, and Emergency Brake Signals. The Commuter Deluxe also has Anti-Lock Brake System and Emergency Brake Signals.
It's quite the honor for Toyota to host the world premiere of the 2019 Hiace on our local shores. According to the folks at Toyota, the new-gen Hiace is a people-carrier that seeks to "increase productivity while providing safe, comfortable, and reliable transport." Priced from PHP1.59 million to PHP2.22 million, the 2019 Toyota Hiace will soon be available at dealerships beginning March 5 for the Commuter Deluxe and by early April for the GL Grandia and the Grandia Tourer.