Toyota has revealed its first new HiAce van in 15 years, claiming advanced safety features, new engines and enhanced ride comfort and specification.

The new HiAce marks a shift to a semi-bonneted design enabling the development team to implement ‘significant changes with a stiffer frame, stronger straight-line performance, greater stability and manoeuvrability and more pliant suspensions’.

Toyota says the new HiAce will arrive in Australia in the middle of this year and will be available with two-seat vans in long (LWB) and super-long wheelbase (SLWB) configurations, five-seat LWB crew vans and 12-seat SLWB Commuter buses.

Toyota Australia vice president sales and marketing 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,” Mr Hanley 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,” he said.

“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.

“In addition to being highly capable right off the showroom floor, all-new HiAce has been designed to offer immense flexibility through conversions and customisation to meet varied business and personal needs.”

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, both available with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

Toyota says HiAce has been maintained at a maximum of 6.2 (LWB) and 9.3 cubic metres (SLWB) due to it claims a longer wheelbases and clever packaging that increases internal width by 215mm and height by by 5mm without altering overall exterior width.

The SLWB two-seat van is capable of accommodating Australian standard pallets (1165mm x 1165mm) through its wider sliding side doors.

Toyota says the new HiAce is expected to achieve the maximum 5-star ANCAP safety rating as a result of 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. Larger front-door glass and a lower belt line improve visibility.

Towing capacity has been expanded to a maximum 1,900kg on key variants, an improvement of up to 500kg.

Newly developed MacPherson struts at the front provide improved handling and stability as well as ride comfort. according to Toyota.

In the rear, the new leaf spring suspension span has been increased by 200 mm, extending the bound stroke by 30 mm for a comfortable ride while enhancing handling and stability.

Toyota claims to have sold more than 330,000 HiAces over the decades it has been sold in Australia .