Charl Bosch
Online Motoring Reporter
3 minute read
15 Jan 2021
8:20 am

Six (of the best) facts about the Toyota HiAce

Charl Bosch

The mover of the people still going strong at 54.

The H90 generation Toyota HiAce that lasted from 1982 until the early 2000s in South Africa as the Siyaya. Image from toyota.co.uk

Earlier this week, Toyota introduced a more streamlined Quantum line-up along with improved Covid-19 protection measures for the HiAce Ses’fikile taxi.

Toyota revived the HiAce two years ago for the locally assembled H200, the first to carry the Quantum name

Split into two distinct models in April 2019, which saw the return of the HiAce name for the locally assembled model and retention of the Quantum moniker for the internally designated, and imported, H300 that continues to be sold as the HiAce globally, the latter has continued where the three generations ago H90, later known as the Siyaya, left off by cementing its position as not only a market top-seller, but also the segment leading taxi in spite of Nissan offering the comparatively poor selling NV350.

The fourth generation H100 HiAce never offered in South Africa. Image from toyota.co.uk

With the Quantum and its luxurious VX offshoot repositioned as more of a rival for the Ford Tourneo Custom, Hyundai H-1, Mercedes-Benz Vito and V-Class and Volkswagen T6.1, the HiAce’s iconic status as the mover of the people seems more unlikely than ever before to be toppled now that it has returned.

Return of the HiAce name resulted in the new H300 being rebadged as the Quantum

As such, here are six facts about the HiAce that has accompanied it since the very first debuted back in 1966.

  • The current H300 debuted as the first generation HiAce not to have a cab-over style design as a result of crash test regulations.
  • Never offered locally, the fourth generation HiAce, made from 1989 to 2004, not only spawned more than a dozen copies, largely from Chinese manufactures, but also a series of upmarket bonneted offshoots in response to the popularity of luxury MPVs in Japan. Grey market favourites with power often coming from a 3.4-litre V6 petrol or a 3.0-litre turbodiesel, these include the Grand HiAce, Touring HiAce, HiAce Regius and the Granvia, the latter still being used today as the equivalent of the VX.

Upmarket Quantum VX known in other markets as the Granvia

  • Back in 2019, Toyota, at the unveiling of the H300 HiAce, revealed that a total of 6.2-million units had been sold since 1967 in 150 countries.
  • The fourth generation was also the only HiAce to come with a V8 engine, the 4.0-litre from the Lexus LS400, however, only in the dedicated ambulance version sold in Japan. In addition, and with the exception of the first generation as well as the H300, all HiAces have had the option of four-wheel-drive.
  • In 2008, Autoblog reported that the HiAce had been classified as the most hijacked vehicle in Japan due to it lacking an alarm and/or immobiliser.
  • The end of the fourth generation also marked the end of the HiAce pick-up offered since the first as focus shifted more towards the Dyna..

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