Outstanding low cost practical transportation, user friendly and fuss free
Key less entry key fob remote died not long after I purchased it. Easily sorted by recoding a new fob, @ a cost of $380HKD, which isn't much, and the only thing that failed to date.
Replaced band laminated windscreen (windshield) due to stone chip that cracked it, for $500HKD fully fitted, which is cheap as chips.
Replaced right hand tail light as it had a crack in it when purchased, and @$250HKD for a brand new one.. Parts are always astonishingly cheaper for the Hiace, compared to any passenger car that I can ever recall owning.
We decided to replace our 1994 Range Rover 4.6HSE with something a lot more economical to maintain, and still have room for 7 passengers, with lots of carrying capacity.
We had recently purchased a new home, the Rangie was starting to cost extortive money to maintain, and for the sake of our mortgage influenced budget, we needed a more practical vehicle that cost much less to run.
I'd been toying with the idea of getting a MPV, but wanted a Manual this time, as we live in Asia (Hong Kong) where servicing is often neglected on things like automatic transmissions/powersteering pumps. Manual gearboxes are generally nothing to worry about and will usually out live the vehicle nine times out of 10.
I had a friend who worked for a dealer, who did a hunt around for a well maintained 1 owner trade in, that fitted my criteria, and he came back to me with a 8 seater, Toyota Hiace LWB passenger van, that was an ex cable TV news crew vehicle. I thought great, atleast this vehicle had never been used to carry anything heavy, and was used as a car, as the condition proved in all respects, when I first inspected it.
The Hiace was in mint condition, drove like a new car, even smelt new. Hiaces don't have much in the way of luxury, but it has extremely good front and rear airconditioning (secondary system in the rear), cloth seats front and fully fold down rears, auto locking upon start up, and unlocking on ignition off, power windows, and central locking, CD player, and that's about the extent of features.
It's a simple vehicle, and goes about its function in a very comfy way, handling is suprizingly good for a high centre of gravity rear wheel driven vehicle, brakes are excellent, engine power is well matched for the vehicle, gear box ratio's (5 speed) well suited for heavy loads (house move) and a lot of fun to drive, very car like.
Fuel efficiency is about the same as a Camry 2.4 sedan, that shares the same fuel injected multi valve engine. Turning circle is amazing in tight U turn situations, not having a bonnet out front, really allows you to get in and out of tight spaces.
I never even thought about having a Hiace passenger van previously, but now we have one, we have become dedicated fans. It has to be the cheapest vehicle on the market to service, maintain, although I do it myself, a local garage only charges $650HKD for a full service, my rangie use to cost $2500HKD!
I read a lot of reviews on this site before we purchased, and the reputation for reliability and low running cost is every bit as true.
You cannot go wrong, in a Hiace.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd December, 2007