The all new improved Hiace is finally here and Frontline has transformed this popular model into a functional campervan once again.
The previous Hiace model was in production for 15 years, so this model is well overdue. In 2013, fourteen engineers from Toyota in Japan, including chief engineer Kenichirou Fuse, made a visit to Australia, calling in to the Frontline factory to gather insights and information to assist in building a better model Hiace.
Six years later the 6th generation Hiace has been totally redesigned. With better safety, better cabin comfort and better driving experience it proves to be an amazing base vehicle for a campervan.
The engine is up the front creating semi-bonneted access for easier servicing and increased front end collision protection.
The vehicle now obtains a 5 star ANCAP rating and provides seven air bags. The engine has been moved meaning you no longer sit above the engine and front wheels. This allows for better bucket seats with a walk through cabin regarded as important features for a campervan.
Cabin entry is improved with a generous step eliminating the old clamber into the cabin seats on the previous model. Another noticeable change is a generous increase in width. Although the internal length is a bit less the clever interior design of the Frontline extracts the benefits of this increased width to more than make up for that loss in length.
The handling and smoothness of the ride are massive improvements offering an effortless and more carlike driving experience. This driveability and good old Toyota reliability will be great attributes in the decision-making process for potential buyers.
The new model arrived in the Frontline Factory mid last year and the team went to work on a new campervan design concept. It's been 6 months in the making, using over 30 years of experience and nearly 4000 campervans of knowledge to arrive at a finished product that will impress.
The first campervan out of the Frontline factory was based on the 2.8-litre turbo Diesel Automatic. The 2.8-litre engine is a welcome improvement over the old 3-litre, increasing power 30% from 100kW to 130kW and 450Nm of torque. Notably the Automatic has moved from 4 to 6 speed which is about time. There is also a 3.5Ltr V6 petrol available.
The Hiace is still a rear-wheel drive with leaf spring rear and Mcpherson struts up front. Stopping is now by ventilated discs all round.
The vehicle is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense which incorporates many features. Features include blind spot monitor, front and rear parking sensors, reverse camera, lane departure detection, pre-collision safety system and auto high beam.
The driving experience is enhanced via the expansive front windscreen and cleaver front quarter windows for continuous viewing.
A 7-inch touch screen multimedia system provides audio, sat Navigation and many other connectivities provide much better technology, all matched with a leather steering wheel with ample controls for your convenience.
Viewing through the wheel is an informative trip computer keeping you up to date with chosen vehicle and safety information.
The main feature as always is the pop-up roof that offers great ventilation and standing room. A kitchen area with a fridge freezer, sink, two-burner gas cook top and storage drawers is provided to whip up those essential meals on the go. Moving down the vehicle are various storage compartments for food and clothes. A large boot is accessed by the tail gate and then inconspicuous while shut.
A battery system is charged by the engine or 240V when plugged into power. The standard battery system will run everything for two days without charge. Additional solar charging can be added for out of the way stays for more than two days. The battery runs the fridge, lights, water pump and fan. There are 12v sockets to charge devices or other 12 volt low amp accessories.
Curtains are provided for privacy and a table near the seating area. The seating area folds to a generous 1.9m x 1.44m bed. The water tank stores 50 litres of water which is electrically pumped to the sink and rear shower. Hot water is optional. An opening window with flyscreen is a great feature for fresh air. At 2.065m high it may just fit in your garage or local car park making it very versatile.
This model has been a long time coming so if its comfort and safety you want and you're in the market for a campervan then the Frontline Hiace could be the one for you.
You can visit us at the Newcastle show, online, at our showroom or on the phone. For more information visit www.frontlinecamper.com.au.