If you’ve ever owned a typical van and still felt a creeping claustrophobia, then do yourself a favor and check out the Hiace Super Grandia LXV.
It’s an imposing sight, and the numbers confirm that Toyota’s largest Hiace stretches 5.38 and rises 2.285 meters. Think that’s awesome? Slide open the door and hop aboard. That it seats 10 isn’t that impressive. What is are the (count ‘em) four captain seats with ottoman – all of which are four-way slide adjustable. Between the pairs are collapsible trays – perfect for your onboard drink or snack while watching the latest Tom Cruise movie on the huge overhead screen that pops open at the touch of a button. Go on and stretch; you can!
Powered by a 3.0-liter diesel heart, the LXV has access to a horsepower total of 134 (at 3,400rpm) and 300Nm (from 1,200 to 2,400rpm), and its engine is mated to a no-nonsense four-speed tranny. All this means is that you’ll never be wanting in motivation. Get in the driver’s seat, and you find a high seating position – perfect for navigating this whale around the metro. The responsive drive and experience of driving the LXV is just somewhat muted by a dated-looking instrument panel. Remember that old saw that the best seat in a car is usually the driver’s seat? Well, the most awesome within are the aforementioned captain seats. In one of these, I suspect, is where the owner will be seated, anyway.
The LXV’s large 225⁄70 shoes envelop 15-inch alloys, and help provide a stable, comfortable ride. All four rollers in turn are affixed to double-wishbone assemblies with a stabilizer bar. Steering is via rack and pinion with power assist. Should you need to take cargo with you, the last row (a four-seater bench) can be raised to accommodate it through the humongous rear gate.
The challenge that comes with ownership of this wonderful vehicle is in looking for parking that can accommodate its height. You will be turned away at many mall indoor parking areas simply because the LXV will not clear the ceiling. Outdoor venues are available of course, but your list of parking options is limited. If you have a family or office driver, best to have him or her drop you off and pick you up again where it’s convenient.
Priced at P2.485 million (if you go for the white color, fork over an additional P15,000), the Hiace Super Grandia LXV doesn’t go for peanuts. But as rising cost of prime real estate should tell you, the luxury of space rarely comes cheap.
Positives: Spacious and comfortable captain seats with ottoman, powerful diesel engine, high ceiling
Negatives: A challenge to find parking for, somewhat dated design and instrumentation