• Sunday, February 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Hiace A/T; Better mileage, better returns range

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Nigeria’s most successful inter and intracity mini-buses and vans and light bus; Toyota Hiace which is now available in automatic transmission is still dominating the segment given the enhanced tweaks here and there in terms of the vehicle’s engineering and overall looks. This comes in the form of contemporary industry updates that expand its safety, comfort and convenience to withstand competition.

This is even as the existing and prospective individual and corporate fleet customers demand for a more car-like environment has led to the fitment of a bucket seat for the front passenger, which is now separated from the driver’s seat by a centre-console box.

Given the current appearance, drivers can also benefit from the addition of cruise control and audio switches on the new four-spoke steering wheel, as well as an LCD Multi-Information Display showing the time, outside temperature and odometer.

Descriptively, the front-end of the Hiace which is available in the high roof, medium and short specifications looks more robust with newly designed headlamps and radiator grille openings that are larger and adopt Toyota’s trademark trapezoidal shape.

The new front bumper has sharp edges that add to the visual strength while the corners have been pulled back slightly to emphasise the stronger front. Despite the improvements, dealership prices for Hiace vans in the local market are put at N5.8million.

In Nigeria, import figures show that, Toyota Hiace has been the consistent market leader of the combined van and light bus segments for more than many years accounting for over 35 percent mini buses sold in the country in the past years.

Hiace safety package includes the ABS,SRS, airbag emergency lock retractor, airbag sensor, force limiter, door unlock function,impact absorbing structure seatbelt warning buzzers for the driver and front passenger and a seatbelt warning lamp for the front passenger. All these features add up to give it a better mileage and better return to the motoring public.

On some automatic transmission models, there is a shift position indicator in the instrument cluster and an Eco driving indicator light that encourages low fuel use by informing the driver when the accelerator is being operated efficiently.

Depending on the market, Hiace range has three body styles of long wheel base (LWB) van, wide-body and high-roof super long wheel base (SLWB) van and commuter bus. The two wheelbase lengths are 2570mm for LWB van and 3110mm for SLWB van and 14-seat Commuter bus.

The three body styles are all offered with the choice of 2.7-litre VVT-i equipped petrol or 3.0-litre common-rail turbo-diesel engines and customers are availed the choice electronically controlled four-speed overdrive automatic transmission The Hiace are imported into Nigeria by Toyota Nigeria Limited and distributed by eight of its accredited distributors.

Mike Ochonma