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Motoring News

TOYOTA HIACE VAN TAKES ON ADDED ATTRACTIONS

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TOYOTA HIACE VAN

TOYOTA HIACE VAN TAKES ON ADDED ATTRACTIONS

No standing still for Toyota’s iconic HiAce van

By DEREK OGDEN

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it: this could well be the case with the HiAce, Toyota’s iconic van, which the company stuck with for 15 years without replacing. The light commercial was around until a 2019 rebirth, now it becomes the subject of a range of upgrades.
The HiAce van, and related Commuter bus and Granvia wagon, have been boosted with added technology and comfort and convenience features while offering a streamlined choice for customers.
Long the leader in the 2.5 to 3.5 tonne van segment with sales this year increasing by 51.9 per cent, customer preference for diesel power, has led to the 3.5-litre petrol V6 for HiAce being discontinued in favour of Toyota’s tough 2.8-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder engine, mated with an automatic transmission.
New safety and security technology come with the fitment of Toyota Connected Services to all models. Inside, all benefit from upgraded features, with Granvia incorporating a higher level of luxury with rear privacy glass and carpeted front floor mats now standard.
For HiAce, a large centre console box has been added to store paperwork while Commuter GL grades gain an LED lamp inside the box to aid vision, as well as upgraded USB charging ports.
The added features adopted for HiAce come with price increases of just $990 across the range, while upgraded Granvia prices rise by less than two per cent.
Both HiAce and Granvia are covered by the five-year Toyota Warranty Advantage and seven-year Toyota Warranty Advantage Extended Engine and Driveline. On test was the HiAce GL long wheelbase automatic van, selling for $47,230, plus on-road costs.

STYLING
The bonnet-forward design has enabled the engine to be ahead of the front axle and seats compared with the previous model where the engine sat under the front seats directly above the axle. It also provides easier access to the engine bay, improved safety and greater stability and ride comfort.
The wide track gives the vehicle a planted stance, while the solid sides of the front bumper have been rounded off at the grille to improve working in tight CBD spaces.
Aerodynamics are enhanced by a raked windscreen and side mouldings, chamfered rear corners and five stabilising fins on the side of the rear lamps. French Vanilla is now the only paint choice.

INTERIOR

TOYOTA HIACE VAN

TOYOTA HIACE VAN INTERIOR

Lack of a dedicated space for clipboard storage is a drawback, a centre console storage box as standard, replacing the existing console tray. Included in the new storage box is a removable in-box tray, an A4-sized binder rack, and a moveable partition at the rear of the box that can be used as a cupholder.
Other range-wide standard equipment additions include front all-weather floor mats, 1.5-litre bottle holder and storage bin in each front door, with cup holders in the centre and on either side of the dashboard. There’s also a glovebox and spot to the left of the gearshift for small stuff.

INFOTAINMENT
The multimedia system – Toyota’s latest – can be controlled via steering-wheel controls or the touchscreen that now offers pinch, swipe and flick gesture operation.
The latter also incorporates AM / FM / DAB+ radio, USB and Aux inputs, full Bluetooth connectivity, satellite navigation with SUNA live traffic alerts, voice recognition, and Toyota Link apps including weather, fuel finder and travel times. HiAces will also come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Other new applications include Siri eyes-free mode for iPhones and Miracast, which allows compatible smartphone screens to be duplicated onto the touchscreen. Delivering high quality audio are two front-mounted speakers.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
All versions of the HiAce and Granvia are powered by Toyota’s 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, mated to an automatic transmission, with a six-speed manual gearbox also offered on HiAce LWB van.
The turbodiesel engine develops 130 kW and 450 Nm when teamed with the six-speed automatic, however with the manual gearbox maximum torque is 420 Nm. In the HiAce Commuter, the turbodiesel engine produces maximum outputs of 120 kW of power and 420 Nm of torque.

SAFETY

2019 Toyota HiAce SLWB Van.

The addition of Toyota Connected Services automatically generates an emergency call to Toyota’s around-the-clock emergency call centre and relay the location of the vehicle in the event of a collision that requires intervention, or if an airbag goes off.
Occupants can also manually trigger an emergency call to the call centre via an SOS button, allowing the determination of the vehicle’s location and co-ordination with emergency services.
If the vehicle is reported stolen, Toyota Connected Services can help track the vehicle’s location through the stolen vehicle tracking service.

DRIVING
The tried-and-tested diesel powerplant is muted and there’s little wind noise, leaving road rumble to intrude into the cabin. Adding loads to the cavernous cargo area puts paid to much of this unwanted driving accompaniment.
There was not much to argue with Toyota’s combined urban / highway fuel consumption figure of 8.2 litres per 100 kilometres, with the test vehicle recording 9.7 litres per 100 kilometres under city delivery duties and 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres on a highway run.
The stop / start system is one of the best encountered in any vehicle, with instantaneous fire-up from rest. For the automotive equivalent of ‘anti-vaxxers’ it can be switched off.
Driver and passenger seats are shapely, with thick cushioning for comfort and support. They are finished in quality, durable fabric. The driver’s seat offers six-way adjustment for height, slide and recline.
Payload is up to 1095 kg, while the van is rated to tow a 1500 kg braked trailer. With 1268 mm between the rear wheel arches, there’s room for two standard Aussie pallets. Total load volume is 6.2 cubic metres.
Loading through wide side doors was easy thanks to their easy slide functioning. The vertical lift tailgate – no barn doors offered – is no friend to the forklift but is a handy shelter while manual loading in wet weather.
Ride and handling on test improved with load, as you would expect from a goods hauler with rear-wheel drive. Inclines offered little limit to performance and filtering into motorway traffic presented no white-knuckle stress.
Extensive glassed areas all round and large exterior mirrors were complemented by a single window in the left side door, giving the driver confidence in overtaking, or pulling out from the kerb. A reversing camera was especially welcome in tight parking manoeuvres.

SUMMARY
While the HiAce relied for many years on its solid reputation to lead the field, Toyota has been quick to add fine touches to the latest generation of the iconic van in a bid to stave off any challenges from close rivals.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL LINE-UP
HiAce LWB van manual $44,230
HiAce LWB van automatic $46,230
HiAce LWB van 4-door auto $46,230
HiAce GL LWB van auto $47,230
HiAce Crew LWB van auto $49,230
HiAce SLWB van auto $54,230
HiAce SLWB GL van auto $55,230
HiAce SLWB Commuter bus auto $69,230
HiAce SLWB Commuter GL bus auto $72,230
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota HiAce GL 2.8L 4-cylinder turbodiesel, 6sp automatic, RWD van)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 2.755 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 130 kW @ 3400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 450 Nm @ 1600-2400 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.2 L/100km
CO2 emissions 219 g / km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5265mm
Wheelbase: 3210 mm
Width: 1950 mm
Height: 1990 mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 2205 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 70 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / unlimited kilometres

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2024 Lotus Emeya Debuts with 675kW

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2024 Lotus Emeya

2024 Lotus Emeya Debuts with 675kW

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Lotus has introduced the all-new 2024 Lotus Emeya, a four-door electric ‘coupe’ poised to challenge high-end Porsche Taycan EVs and stake a claim in the burgeoning hyper-GT segment. Boasting an impressive powertrain and striking design, the Emeya is set to redefine electric luxury performance.

The flagship 2024 Lotus Emeya features a dual-motor powertrain delivering an astonishing 675kW and 985Nm of torque. This setup enables the Emeya to accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 2.8 seconds, rivaling the performance of the Porsche Taycan Turbo S. It achieves a top speed of 256km/h, facilitated by a sophisticated two-speed transmission.

Powered by a 102kWh lithium-ion battery, the Emeya supports ultra-fast DC charging up to 350kW, allowing the battery to recharge from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes. While Lotus has not yet disclosed the exact range, the fast-charging capability ensures minimal downtime.

The Emeya’s exterior combines bold lines and sharp angles, drawing inspiration from designs by Lamborghini and Fisker. It features a wedge-shaped silhouette, slimline exterior lighting, and a striking yellow and black colour scheme. Aerodynamic efficiency is enhanced by an active front grille, air-dam combination, and an active rear spoiler capable of generating over 215kg of downforce, supported by an active diffuser.

Inside, the Emeya continues its aggressive styling with deeply sculpted bucket seats, chunky door trims, a multi-layered dashboard, and a thick steering wheel. The minimalist digital instrument cluster is complemented by a massive 55-inch augmented reality head-up display (AR HUD) that projects crucial driving information onto the windshield.

During spirited driving, the AR HUD can be switched off in favor of a slim display on the dash, showing essential information only. The interior also features adaptive air suspension as standard and a ‘race-grade’ braking system, ensuring the vehicle can stop almost as quickly as it accelerates.

Lotus has incorporated sustainably sourced and recycled materials throughout the Emeya. The cabin includes repurposed fibres from the fashion industry, PVD aluminium, Alcantara, Nappa leather, and Ultrafabrics PU, reflecting a commitment to eco-friendly luxury.

Ben Payne, Vice President of Design at Lotus Group, commented on the Emeya’s debut: “This is a Lotus like you have never seen before. We’ve built on everything Lotus has achieved so far to create a luxury performance car for the drivers, designed to inspire confidence, exhilarate with raw emotion and pure joy – connecting them to the road.”

While customer deliveries have already begun in China, more details about the Emeya lineup, market availability, and pricing will be revealed in the next quarter. The launch in right-hand drive markets, including Australia, is expected in the second half of this year.

The 2024 Lotus Emeya marks a significant leap forward for Lotus, combining blistering performance, cutting-edge technology, and sustainable luxury. As it prepares to enter the market, the Emeya is set to challenge established players like the Porsche Taycan, offering a compelling new option for enthusiasts of high-performance electric vehicles.

 

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Finally, the Toyota 86 We’ve Always Wanted

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2025 Toyota GR86

Finally, the Toyota 86 We’ve Always Wanted

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Toyota could be preparing a radical new version of its GR86 sports car, according to a report from the popular Japanese magazine Best Car, which is known for its well-placed sources in the Japanese auto industry. The new GR86 is expected to debut next year with significant updates that will bring it into direct competition with the Mazda MX-5.

Key Highlights:

  • Potent Powertrain: The new GR86 will reportedly feature the 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine from the Yaris GR, paired with Toyota’s hybrid technology. This hybrid setup is claimed to produce more than 220kW.
  • Design Overhaul: The GR86 is expected to grow in size to accommodate the new engine and electric motor. Best Car’s digital render showcases a drastically redesigned front end with a three-tier lighting structure and a prominent bar running the length of the bonnet. The rear end features LED lighting running the length of the back, a prominent rear spoiler, and dual exhausts.
  • Upcoming Sports Car Revolution: Rumours suggest a new sports car revolution in Japan, with Toyota potentially preparing a new Celica and a micro S-FR. The new Toyota Celica is expected to debut at next year’s Tokyo Auto Salon in January. The mini S-FR sports car, believed to be developed in partnership with Daihatsu and Suzuki, will spawn new versions of the Daihatsu Copen and Suzuki Cappuccino.

Toyota GR President Tomoya Takahashi emphasised the importance of collaboration between companies for the future of sports cars. “The sports car market is shrinking. We cannot maintain sports cars as one brand, Toyota,” said Takahashi. “Collaboration between brands will increase in the future. We don’t know with whom we’re going to collaborate.”

The 2025 Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ are set to redefine the sports car segment with their potent hybrid powertrains and innovative designs. As the market gears up for a new wave of high-performance vehicles, Toyota’s strategic collaborations and cutting-edge technology ensure that enthusiasts have plenty to look forward to.

 

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2024 Lotus Emeya Sets EV Recharge Record

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2024 Lotus Emeya

2024 Lotus Emeya Sets EV Recharge Record

 

By Jeff Gibbs

The all-new 2024 Lotus Emeya, an upcoming electric super-sedan, has set a new benchmark in DC fast-charging technology. With its advanced 402kW peak charging speed, the Emeya can recharge its 102kWh battery from 10% to 80% in just 14 minutes.

Key Highlights:

  • Record-Setting Recharge Speed: The Emeya achieves a 10-80% top-up in just 14 minutes using a 400kW DC charger, maintaining an average charge speed of 331kW.
  • Rapid Range Addition: This translates to approximately 310km of added range in just 10 minutes.
  • Advanced Battery Technology: The Emeya’s cell-to-back battery structure incorporates a cutting-edge cooling system that significantly enhances thermal performance, surpassing many competitors.

Performance and Competition

The Lotus Emeya was tested against several high-profile electric vehicles, including the Mercedes-Benz EQS, BMW i7, Tesla Model Y, Genesis G80, XPeng G9, Hyundai IONIQ 6, Nio ET5, and BYD Atto 3. This testing highlights the Emeya’s superior charging capabilities, narrowing the gap between the time required to recharge an electric vehicle and refuel a conventional combustion-engine vehicle. However, it’s worth noting that recharging the Emeya for a 310km range still takes five times longer than refueling a combustion engine car like the Porsche Panamera, which takes about two minutes.

Among its competitors, the XPeng G9 was the closest, achieving a peak charge rate of 320kW but averaging around 233kW as it approached 80% capacity.

2024 Lotus Emeya Interior

2024 Lotus Emeya Interior

Power and Speed

Designed to compete with the fastest electric vehicles on the market, particularly the Porsche Taycan, the flagship Lotus Emeya boasts impressive performance specs:

  • Acceleration: 0-100km/h in a claimed 2.8 seconds, matching the Porsche Taycan Turbo S.
  • Top Speed: 256km/h.
  • Powertrain: Dual-motor setup delivering 675kW and 985Nm.
  • Transmission: Two-speed system for optimised performance.

Official Statements

Lotus Group CEO Qingfeng Feng emphasised the breakthrough in charging technology, stating, “With our industry-leading charging technology available today, Emeya pushes the boundaries for how an EV performs, providing drivers with the confidence to travel anywhere. We’re bringing an unrivalled driving experience in the ultimate grand tourer package, so drivers want to go electric.”

Launch and Availability

Customer deliveries have already begun in China, with the Lotus Emeya set to launch in right-hand drive markets, including Australia, in the second half of this year.

The 2024 Lotus Emeya not only sets a new standard for fast-charging electric vehicles but also promises exceptional performance and driving experience, making it a strong contender in the luxury EV market.

 

For more motoring news, click here.

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