Open wide, come inside, it’s a HiAce!
The Toyota HiAce, Australia’s best-selling mid-sized van, is finally getting the option of rear barn doors.
Toyota has confirmed the option will debut here in the second half of 2022 and the decision to introduce it has been “driven by strong customer demand”.
The company hasn’t confirmed how much the option will cost, but says it will reveal more details closer to launch.
Although the HiAce currently offers standard dual sliding doors, it offers only a lift-up tailgate – not ideal if, for example, you need to reverse into a raised loading dock to put a load in, or you’re using a forklift.
In contrast, barn doors are standard on the Ford Transit Custom and Peugeot Expert, a no-cost option on the Hyundai Staria Load, and a cost option on the LDV G10, Mercedes-Benz Vito, Renault Trafic and Volkswagen Transporter.
Toyota hasn’t offered a HiAce locally with barn doors since the HiAce SBV was discontinued in 2003.
Barn doors do present their own issues, however – chiefly, the reduced visibility in the centre of the van’s rear.
It’s unclear if more changes will be coming to the HiAce.
Late last year, the van received Toyota Connected Services as standard, which includes an SOS call function, but it lost its standard petrol V6 engine and all optional exterior colours.
Toyota cited overwhelming customer demand for the optional turbo-diesel four-cylinder as the reason for the short-lived V6’s demise.
The HiAce was easily the best-selling mid-sized van last year in Australia, with 9726 sales and a 37.4 per cent share of the segment.
Next was the LDV G10 range, popular with sole trader couriers thanks to rock-bottom pricing, with 3306 sales and 12.7 per cent share, followed by the Ford Transit Custom (2488 sales, 9.6 per cent share) and the defunct Hyundai iLoad (2446 sales, 9.4 per cent share).
The latter’s replacement, the Staria Load, is sitting comfortably in third place year-to-date, knocking off the Transit Custom. There’s still daylight between the HiAce and its rivals, however.