Toyota HiAce
(2005 - 2019)

  • Excellent reputation for reliability and dependability
  • Highly manoeuvrable thanks to tight turning circle
  • Vast load space
  • Retains value very well
  • Becoming dated compared to the competition
  • Lacking in technology, driving dynamics and refinement
  • Cabin can be awkward to access
  • Not great safety
Overview

Think vans, think Toyota HiAce. Which was very much the case in many Aussies’ minds throughout much of the model’s fifth-generation ‘H200’ lifecycle, arriving in 2005 and largely dominating the trade/delivery segment until its replacement in 2019.

While today’s H300 successor staves off challenges from broad segment including Ford, Hyundai and various Europeans such as Volkswagen, Renault and Mercedes-Benz, its forebear largely had free rein of the van market for much of its 14-year lifecycle, which took in two facelifts in various commercial and people moving guises.

HiAce arrived locally in March 2005 in three body styles: Long Wheelbase (‘LWB’ 2570mm) and Super Long Wheelbase (‘SLWB’ 3110mm) vans as well as an SLWB Commuter bus. Cargo lengths were longer for this new boxier HiAce take, the cabin was reconfigured for safer occupancy, while powertrains under the skin, with engines mounted under the passenger’s seat, we also refreshed. It’s cheapest variant, LWB manual petrol, entered at $31,900 list.

At the business end, HiAce offers six cubic metres of payload in LWB form, with pallet-friendly floor space and 1335mm of height. The SLWB stretches to 9.8 cubic metres and lifts the cargo ceiling height to 1635mm.

The van cabin represented a big evolution, with the transmission controller relocated the dash, there were more wide-ranging oddment storage, with a generally more modern, roomier and ergonomically friendly design. Dual airbags were standard fitment and a new vertical Y-frame structure improved frontal crash properties. The doors, too, offered taller and wider openings for easier loading and unloading payload.

Gen five is rear-wheel drive, the local range cherry-picking an all-new 2.5-litre 16-valve direct-injected turbodiesel (replacing the old naturally aspirated diesel) and a 2.7-litre twin-cam petrol four from a broader suite offered across the Asian markets.

The oiler offered 75kW and 260Nm in LWB form with the SLWB versions adding an extra ‘intercooled’ five kilowatts. Meanwhile, the petrol delivers 111kW if with 241Nm, Toyota positioning the torquier diesel as the higher-grade offering, commanding roughly an extra three-grand in like-for-like variant configurations against the petrol.

Both engines could be had with either a five-speed manual or four-speed electronically controlled auto, which cost an extra $2330. Interestingly, braked towing capacity is higher for the petrol models (1200kg) than it is for the diesels (1000kg). A factory-developed vapour-injected LPG conversion engine was also offered.

Key is that HiAce upgrade to a 3.0-litre intercooled diesel in late 2006 (from October production). Across the board power was now 80kW, if with much improved 286Nm torque.

The first proper facelift arrived in 2010 – fascia, grille, headlights, bumper – as well as another tickle to the 1KD-FTV diesel, now 100kW and 300Nm, with a taller final drive for improved fuel economy (now around 8.0L/100km claimed for LWB manual diesel). The interior was also mildly revised, notable in the change from a mid to dark grey colorization.

Around here, diesel began outselling the formerly dominant petrol as the HiAce engine type of choice, according to Toyota Australia.

From May 2012 production, all HiAces fit a reversing camera with a 3.3-inch image display in the rearview mirror.

Facelift two lobbed in March 2014, complete with another revised face, though conspicuous updates were found in the more “car-like” cabin. The old bench-like configuration changed to dual dedicated bucket seats separated by a centre console box, a new multi-functional four-spoke wheel – which cruise and audio controls – surfaced and the driver was served a fancier LCD information screen. Toyota continued to upcharge for the diesel ($4000) and auto ($2500) options, while new premium body colours ($550) were also introduced around this time.

Notable changes occurred from March 2015. A new Euro 5-compliant petrol upped outputs to 118kW and 243Nm while dropping fuel consumption, thanks in part to a new six-speed auto. LWB vans gained glass in the left-side sliding door, ESP was fitted across the board, and two new variants arrived in a five-seat diesel-only crew van and a 12-seat petrol-powered commuter petrol bus – down from 14 seats – that could be driven on a standard driver’s licence.

A Euro 5-fit oiler would join the fray in 2016 as a final updated to see HiAce H200 through to its 2019 retirement.

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What goes wrong
  • There are rare and sporadic reports of door latches failing or power windows failing.
  • There are occasional reports of rust around the rear tailgate insert/lining and around the floor/cabin over time due to oxidation but again, not what we’d classify as a common issue.
  • Hiaces are fitted with aftermarket accessories, (be it for camping or van living or for trades or work), it’s important to make sure that the accessories fitted are high quality items and make sure they are fitted correctly and they actually work.
  • There are reports of Airbags failing to deploy in major frontal accidents due to faulty airbag sensors, however this should have been remedied by Toyota. Be sure to check that the HiAce you’re looking at hasn’t been affected and if it has, have those sensors been replaced.
  • There are the usual complaints regarding the standard infotainment systems being a nightmare to use however this isn’t a fault as such, more of a first world problem.
  • Mechanically, the 1kd diesel is a pretty reliable work horse. Although not entirely without its problems.
  • There are plenty of them out there that have died with cracked pistons from diesel injector and injector seal related problems, typically leading to very expensive rebuilds.
  • They can also suffer from all the same old problems as all common rail diesels like clogged inlet and EGR systems, and the occasional DPF and turbo complication.
  • In saying that, with the huge numbers of Diesel powered HiAce’s out there operating everyday, statistically, they are generally very reliable.
  • If serviced regularly, (e.g. doing the timing belts when they’re due every 150k and put a new set of injectors in at 200k) chances are a Diesel HiAce will get you to 400,000kms and beyond.
  • It’s a similar story with the 2.7-litre petrol, these engines are extremely reliable. There are reports of the odd cracked exhaust manifold or leaking coolant bypass pipe, but again, a well serviced example will very rarely let you down.
  • It’s worth considering to that the petrol version, although less fuel efficient, will be more affordable to repair if the worst happens.
  • Transmissions are fairly good, but there are some problems with the autos over 300,000kms and be sure that the differentials have to have fresh oil every 40,000kms if you want them to last.
  • Mechanically, unlike some other cars that randomly break no matter how well they’re serviced, the HiAce, when properly serviced, will very rarely let you down.
Model range, pricing & features

Long Wheelbase (LWB)

  • Price when new: $34,400 - $42,120
  • Price used: $11,000 - $58,000

The Long Wheelbase model was the entry point into the HiAce range, featuring a 2,570mm wheelbase capable of carrying 6.0 cubic metres of payload.

Inside, LWB featured dual airbags, air conditioning, electric windows and mirrors as well as an AM/FM radio and CD player.

Several updates throughout the course of the generation saw the LWB gain ABS, brake assist, reversing camera, 3.5mm AUX input, iPod connectivity, bluetooth connectivity, daytime running lights and cruise control.

Wheelbase – 2570mm
Cargo space – 6.0m³
Floor length – 2930mm
Cargo height – 1335mm
Cargo width – 1545mm
3-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2005)
4-star ANCAP safety rating (from 2011)

Features:

Disc brakes
2x airbags: driver and front passenger
Front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters
Centre lap-sash seatbelt
Adjustable steering wheel – tilt only
Power steering
Intermittent wipers
Rear wiper and washer
Air conditioning
Electric mirrors
Electric windows
2-speaker stereo system
AM/FM radio
CD player
Digital clock
Left hand side sliding door
Front door pockets
Front cup holders
Under dashboard storage

October 2006 Update:
Front mud flaps
Engine immobiliser
Illuminated ignition key barrel
Front seat recline function
Fabric and vinyl-covered sub visors
Rear under-mirror

October 2007 Update:
Central locking
Rear door strap

Mk.5-II Updates (from October 2010):
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Brake Assist
3.5mm AUX input
USB and iPod compatibility
Bluetooth connectivity

October 2012 update:
Electrochromatic rear view mirror
3.3-inch reversing camera built into the reversing mirror

Mk.5-III Updates (from March 2014):
Redesigned headlights
Daytime running lights
Cruise control
Electronic stabilty control (ESC)
Hill-start assist function
Four-spoke multifunctional steering wheel
LCD multi-information display
Front passenger bucket seat
Centre console between front seats

Super Long Wheelbase (SLWB)

  • Price when new: $40,490 - $49,260
  • Price used: $13,000 - $58,000

The Super Long Wheelbase (SLWB) is a longer version of the SLWB. Apart from length and payload, the SLWB offers the same features.

The SLWB benefited from an additional 540mm of wheelbase and a wider and higher cargo floor, meaning it could carry 9.8 cubic metres of payload.

The SLWB is a good value proposition as the used prices are nearly identical to the LWB, meaning you can get more van and payload for the same money as a LWB.

Wheelbase – 3110mm
Cargo space – 9.8m³
Floor length – 3470mm
Cargo height – 1635mm
Cargo width – 1730mm
3-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2005)
4-star ANCAP safety rating (from 2011)

Features:

Disc brakes
2x airbags: driver and front passenger
Front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters
Centre lap-sash seatbelt
Adjustable steering wheel – tilt only
Power steering
Intermittent wipers
Rear wiper and washer
Air conditioning
Electric mirrors
Electric windows
2-speaker stereo system
AM/FM radio
CD player
Digital clock
Left hand side sliding door
Front door pockets
Front cup holders
Under dashboard storage

October 2006 Update:
Front mud flaps
Engine immobiliser
Illuminated ignition key barrel
Front seat recline function
Fabric and vinyl-covered sub visors
Rear under-mirror

October 2007 Update:
Central locking
Rear door strap

Mk.5-II Updates (from October 2010):
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Brake Assist
3.5mm AUX input
USB and iPod compatibility
Bluetooth connectivity

October 2012 update:
Electrochromatic rear view mirror
3.3-inch reversing camera built into the reversing mirror

Mk.5-III Updates (from March 2014):
Redesigned headlights
Daytime running lights
Cruise control
Electronic stability control (ESC)
Hill-start assist function
Four-spoke multifunctional steering wheel
LCD multi-information display
Front passenger bucket seat
Centre console between front seats

Commuter

  • Price when new: $49,900 - $63,030
  • Price used: $14,500 - $80,000

The Commuter was the passenger van/bus version of the HiAce range.

Features were identical to the LWB and SLWB variants, but also added 14-seats, air conditioning with rear cooler functionality and a 4-speaker sound system (compared to the 2-speaker sound system found on the LWB and SLWB variants).

Mk-5.III versions of the HiAce also had the option of being reduced to a 12-seater van so drivers with full car licences would be able to drive the Commuter.

3-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2005)
4-star ANCAP safety rating (from 2011)

Features:

Disc brakes
2x airbags: driver and front passenger
Front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters
Centre lap-sash seatbelt
Adjustable steering wheel – tilt only
Power steering
Intermittent wipers
Rear wiper and washer
14-seats
Air conditioning with rear cooler
Electric mirrors
Electric windows
4-speaker stereo system
AM/FM radio
CD player
Left hand side sliding door
Digital clock
Left hand side sliding door
Front door pockets
Front cup holders
Under dashboard storage

October 2006 Update:
Front mud flaps
Engine immobiliser
Illuminated ignition key barrel
Front seat recline function
Fabric and vinyl-covered sub visors
Rear under-mirror

October 2007 Update:
Central locking

Mk.5-II Updates (from October 2010):
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Brake Assist
3 point seatbelts for all rear seats
3.5mm AUX input
USB and iPod compatibility
Bluetooth connectivity

October 2012 update:
Electrochromatic rear view mirror
3.3-inch reversing camera built into the reversing mirror

Mk.5-III Updates (from March 2014):
Redesigned headlights
Daytime running lights
Cruise control
Electronic stability control (ESC)
Hill-start assist function
Four-spoke multifunctional steering wheel
LCD multi-information display
Front passenger bucket seat
Centre console between front seats

Should you buy it?

It really depends on what level of punishment you enjoy.

If you require a van that, when maintained correctly, offers truly incredible reliability and may genuinely outlast humanity, a HiAce is the way to go,
the problem is, you’ll be signing up to quite the utilitarian driving experience, pretty underwhelming levels of tech, minimal creature comforts and some questionable levels of safety.

If you’re ok with embracing everything that comes with old school van characteristics, yes, you should totally buy a HiAce.

However if comfort, technology, refined driving dynamics and still having legs after the unfortunate event of an accident are higher on your list of priorities than reliability, longevity, an ability to retain value and an unparalleled level of nationwide support, then no, you probably shouldn’t buy a HiAce.

For us, a van needs to be a workhorse vehicle and therefore bulletproof reliability and ultimate practicality are the priorities so yes, we’d recommend buying a HiAce, but, we understand why you may be apprehensive.

Just don’t rush in and buy a used van from a European manufacturer as that can open a whole other can of worms.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

3 year/100,000km
5 year/unlimited kilometre (from January 2019)

Servicing:

6 months or 10,000km

Tech specs

Body Style:

Long Wheel Base (LWB)
Super Long Wheel Base (SLWB)
Commuter Bus

Engines:

Mk.5-I Engines:
2.5 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2005-06
2.7 litre 4-cylinder petrol (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2005-10
3.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2006-10

Mk.5-II Engines:
2.7 litre 4-cylinder petrol (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2010-14
3.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2010-14

Mk.5-III Engines:
2.7 litre 4-cylinder petrol (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2014-19
3.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2014-19

Power:

Mk.5-I Engines:
75kW – 2.5 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (LWB) – 2005-06
80kW – 2.5 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (SLWB, Commuter) – 2005-06
111kW – 2.7 litre 4-cylinder petrol (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2005-10
80kW – 3.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2006-10

Mk.5-II Engines:
111kW – 2.7 litre 4-cylinder petrol (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2010-14
100kW – 3.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2010-14

Mk.5-III Engines:
111kW – 2.7 litre 4-cylinder petrol (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2014-15
118kW – 2.7 litre 4-cylinder petrol (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2015-19
100kW – 3.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2014-19

Torque:

Mk.5-I Engines:
260Nm – 2.5 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2005-06
241Nm – 2.7 litre 4-cylinder petrol (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2005-10
286Nm – 3.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2006-10

Mk.5-II Engines:
241Nm – 2.7 litre 4-cylinder petrol (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2010-14
300Nm – 3.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2010-14

Mk.5-III Engines:
241Nm – 2.7 litre 4-cylinder petrol (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2014-15
243Nm – 2.7 litre 4-cylinder petrol (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2015-19
300Nm – 3.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (LWB, SLWB, Commuter) – 2014-19

Transmission & drivetrains:

5-speed manual, rear wheel drive (discontinued on the Commuter 2.7-litre 4 cylinder petrol from 2015)
4-speed automatic, rear wheel drive
6-speed automatic, rear wheel drive – From 2015 – 2.7 litre 4-cylinder petrol

Fuel Consumption:

8.1 – 12.4L/100km (depending on engine and variant)

Length:

4695mm (LWB)
5380mm (SLWB and Commuter)

Width:

1695mm (LWB)
1880mm (SLWB and Commuter)

Height:

1980mm (LWB)
2285mm (SLWB and Commuter)

Kerb Weight:

1720 – 1925kg (LWB)
2010 – 2205kg (SLWB and Commuter)

Towing (unbraked/braked):

400kg/1400kg