Welcome to the new HiAce.

This is the pre-production model shown, but it’s pretty close to the finish product due here mid-year.

Toyota says a shift to a semi-bonneted design has enabled significant changes with a stiffer frame, stronger straight-line performance, greater stability and manoeuvrability and more pliant suspensions.

More likely it will enable the van to score five stars in crash tests, by putting more distance between the driver and whatever they are about to hit.

All-new HiAce will be available with two seats in long and super-long wheelbase configurations, as well as five-seat long wheelbase crew vans and 12-seat super long wheelbase Commuter buses.

Toyota Australia’s Sean Hanley said the all-new HiAce will meet the safety, comfort and reliability needs of owner-drivers, private drivers, passengers, fleet and corporate users.

“All-new HiAce is the total solution for transporting cargo, tourists, workers and families,” he said.

“Beyond expanding the vehicle’s core mission as capable, durable and reliable transport, it has now stepped up to deliver the comfort and safety that today’s motorists demand for private use.

“Importantly, we anticipate even better whole-of-life costs with excellent reliability and resale value along with minimal downtime and affordable maintenance. The semi-bonnet design makes it significantly easier and quicker to replace parts such as the oil and air filters, battery, and coolant.”

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hiace - 2019 toyota hiace 6 - Say hi to the new HiAce

The sixth-generation HiAce range will be offered with two new engines — a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel or a 3.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, both available with 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

Capacity has been maintained at a maximum of 6.2 cubic metres for the long wheelbase and 9.3 cubic metres for the super long wheelbase, thanks to longer wheelbases and clever packaging that increases internal width by 215mm and height by 5mm — without altering overall exterior width.

The super long wheelbase two-seat van is capable of accommodating Australian-sized pallets (1165mm x 1165mm) through wider sliding side doors.

HiAce is expected to achieve a maximum 5-star safety rating due to its highly rigid structure and advanced safety technologies, including a pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian and cyclist detection.

A reversing camera and up to nine airbags are complemented by an optional digital rear-view mirror that provides a wide field of view unobstructed by headrests, occupants or cargo.

The bottom edge of the front door is lower and comes with a wider step for easier access, while larger front windows and a lower belt line improve visibility.

Towing capacity has been increased to 1900kg on key variants — an improvement of up to 500kg.

Newly developed MacPherson struts at the front are said to provide excellent handling and stability, as well as ride comfort.

In the rear, longer leaf spring suspension extends suspension travel by 30mm enhancing handling and stability.

Customer use has been a priority with new locally developed Toyota Genuine accessories available from launch.

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.