The next time you visit Thailand, there may be a new van shuttling you around. The all-new Toyota Hiace van made an appearance at the 2019 Bangkok International Motor Show in Commuter passenger van form, ahead of its official launch in the middle of this year. The sixth-generation van made its debut in February in the Philippines.

It may be on the opposite end of people carrier scale as the mooted “Lexus Alphard”, but Toyota says that the new Commuter “establishes the new standard of superior commuting, ensuring the best possible experience for both drivers and passengers.” The new semi bonnet body type with a protruding nose is an obvious change, one that “provides outstanding riding comfort and top class safety,” its maker claims.

The Commuter is part of the Long/High Roof version, which has grown in size. To be exact, it’s 5,915 mm long (+535 mm), 1,950 mm wide (+70 mm) and 2,280 mm tall (-5 mm), with a 3,860 mm wheelbase (+750 mm). The larger of the two new Hiace bodies (the other being the Normal/Standard Roof) can be had in a total of 29 seating layouts, and can carry up to 17 people.

The Commuter is powered by a 2.8 litre GD turbodiesel engine as seen in the Hilux pick-up truck, slightly down in capacity from the outgoing 3.0 litre oil burner. Six-speed transmissions replace the old four-speed auto and five-speed manual options. In the Hilux, the 1GD-FTV VNT engine makes 177 PS and 450 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 2,400 rpm. A 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine is an option for markets allergic to diesel.


GALLERY: 2019 Toyota Hiace range