Mohamed Naser Al Sayer, a subsidiary of Al Sayer Holding, launched the new-generation Toyota HIACE van and bus range on 25 April.
Featuring a semi-bonnet design that enhances reliability, toughness, and functional beauty, and offering a wider choice of body sizes and wheelbase lengths, the all-new HIACE is set to strengthen the company’s share of the Middle East’s light commercial vehicle (LCV) market.
The launch event was attended by Chairman AlSayer Holding, Faisal Bader Al Sayer, CEO AlSayer Holding Mubarak Naser Al Sayer, top management members from Al Sayer Toyota Group Sales including Senior Business Director Johan Heislitz, General Manager Scott McNicol, Deputy General Manager Fleet Savio Alvares and Product Planning Manager Hamad Al Fouzan, Sales consultants, Group Marketing along with members of the media.
Speaking on the occasion, Mubarak Naser Al Sayer said, “Toyota is continuing its journey of making ever-better vehicles. Toyota has achieved 9.5 million-unit worldwide sales last year, Thanks to our valuable customers, in Kuwait, we have launched several new models – including new Camry, Rush, Avalon and Rav4. Toyota is reinforcing its commitment to offer – nothing but the best, in order to put a smile on our customer’s face.”
In the region, where tourist footfall and business activity across industries have increased tremendously as a result of the ongoing economic diversification efforts by regional governments, demand has risen for passenger and cargo transportation including tourist mini buses, private buses, and vehicles for use in logistics. The all-new Hiace range has been developed to respond to these diverse and ever-evolving needs.
“Our customers proudly say: Hiace is the No#1 commuter vehicle & Hiace is the No#1 goods carrier. We are always excited to hear such positive reviews from our loyal customers. From a sales point of view, Hiace has been the undisputed leader. Since its introduction over 50 years ago, across its 5 generations Hiace has been the most trusted partner in business. An Unparalleled Hero,” said Savio Alvares.
“The Hiace was developed using the keywords ‘Hiace Pride’ as its foundation, and in line with the concept of being a faithful partner that makes people feel safe, satisfied, and proud. Owners, drivers, and passengers know they are in good hands when they own, drive, and ride in a Hiace,” commented Chief Engineer Takuo Ishikawa, who was at the helm of the all-new vehicle’s development.
Since the launch of the first-generation Hiace in 1967, it has become one of Toyota’s representative global vehicles, with more than 6.24 million units sold in over 150 countries. The Hiace demonstrates prowess through its high durability and reliability, and has been used as a van, minibus, and as private transportation. Currently, it is largely sold in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Oceania, Mexico, and Latin America.
Yugo Miyamoto, Chief Representative, Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation, said: “We are excited to launch the all-new Hiace in the region, presenting our customers with the total solution for safe, seamless and cost-effective transportation of passengers and cargo. Featuring a semi-bonnet design, the vehicle offers immense flexibility through conversions and customization to meet varied business and personal needs.”
Miyamoto added: “The sixth-generation Hiace has expanded its core mission as capable, durable and reliable transport to deliver the comfort and safety that today’s motorists demand, whatever the road conditions. Offering minimal downtime and affordable maintenance, the all-new vehicle has also sought to reflect the preferences of the region. We thank our loyal customers for their relentless support and valuable feedback that help us develop ‘ever-better’ cars that are cherished and ridden for many years.”
The shift to a semi-bonneted design has enabled the development team at Toyota to implement significant changes, which include a stiffer frame, stronger straight-line performance, greater stability and maneuverability, and more pliant suspension. Complementing the all-new vehicle’s enhanced reliability, toughness, and functional beauty is a dynamic driving experience powered by two new engines – a 2.7-liter four-cylinder petrol engine and a 3.5-liter V6 naturally-aspirated petrol engine, with both being offered with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
Aiming to enrich the customer’s experience, the all-new Hiace has been revamped inside-out with the objective of addressing two goals. The first is to create a vehicle that increases productivity, and the second is to provide safe, comfortable, and reliable transport for people everywhere.
At the literal forefront of the refreshed modern look is the new semi-bonnet design, which means that the engine is no longer mounted atop the front wheel axle. This design creates an external style that suggests a comfortable and sophisticated space.
By changing the engine’s position, both driver and passengers can experience better ergonomics, without heat and vibration emanating underneath their seats. This also results in better serviceability, as the engine becomes easier to access compared to the previous generation. Additionally, the vehicle comes with a choice of two body types such as Normal, with a standard roof, and Long, which includes high roof design, to cater to the different needs of customers.
The completely redesigned Hiace features a comfortable interior that reduces driver fatigue, even over long distances, a driver seat lift function – which is a first in a Hiace, and new shape cushions and seatback that contribute to a more comfortable ride and help reduce fatigue for driver and passengers. In addition, a high-performance air conditioning unit with enlarged outlets have been provided for greater airflow, with an easy-slide shutoff function.
The all-new vehicle’s spacious cabin space is built for maximized storage, with added features elevating the ownership experience to an unprecedented degree. The sixth-generation Hiace has also adopted a number of improvements for easier ingress and egress. There is noticeably bigger legroom, providing an enhanced riding experience enabled by wider doorsteps, strategically-positioned assist grips, and illuminated entry system.
Similarly, excellent cargo capacity – a hallmark of every Hiace – has been maintained at a maximum of 6.2 cubic meters in Long Wheel Base (LWB) vans and 9.3 cubic meters in Super Long Wheel Base (SLWB) vans. This thanks to longer wheelbases and clever packaging that increases internal width by 215 mm and height by 5 mm without altering overall exterior width. Allowing customers to load more cargo at a faster pace with forklifts, the SLWB two-seat van is capable of accommodating four European standard pallets, 1,200 mm X 800 mm in dimension, thanks to its wider side door opening at 1,250 mm that enables forklift access. On the other hand, the LWB model is capable of accommodating three European standard pallets.
In addition, numerous flat-mount surfaces and anchor points have been provided to make it easy to alter the vehicle for specialized use. Toyota will also offer a detailed guide to assist bodybuilders in both English and Arabic languages.
Delivering a dynamic driving experience, the all-new Hiace comes with two drivetrain variants. A 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine producing 148hp and 24.6 torque, while a 3.5-liter V6 petrol engine with 24 valves incorporates Dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent) and high compression and direct injection (D4-S), to generate a maximum output of 277 hp and 35.8 torque. Both engines have been paired to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Furthermore, the manual transmission is equipped with Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) to enhance the shift feel and controllability while reducing the cabin noise.
Newly-developed MacPherson struts at the front provide excellent handling and stability, as well as ride comfort. In the rear, the new leaf spring suspension span has been increased by 200 mm, extending the bound stroke by an impressive 30 mm for a comfortable ride while enhancing handling and stability. Furthermore, with its excellent maneuverability, the all-new vehicle is able to turn in 0.2 m less than its previous model when making U-turns and parallel parking.
Living up to the Toyota tradition of always making safety a top priority, the sixth-generation Hiace gives its customers peace of mind by reinforcing both passive and active safety. Engineered to relieve the commuting burden from its drivers and passengers, the all-new vehicle’s design cues are inspired by real-world problems to provide modern solutions. In addition to high-level body rigidity achieved through ring-shaped frame structures, the vehicle is characterized by an impact-absorbing body structure that leverages a straight side member to effectively absorb impact energy. The comprehensive array of safety features in the vehicle also include driver and front passenger SRS airbags, and a passenger airbag with a mini-clamshell design to protect center seat passenger.