Toyota HiAce For Vanlife: 9 Reasons Why It’s the Best

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Considering the Toyota HiAce for Vanlife?

With optional 4WD, reliable diesel engines, & lots of interior space, the HiAce van is a great option.

But how does it stack up against other popular throwback models like the Mitsubishi Delica, Volkswagen Van, & Nissan Urvan?

In this post, we’ll find out.

Here’s everything you’ll learn:

9 Reasons Why Vanlifers Like the Toyota HiAce

The HiAce is spacious, reliable, & good on gas mileage – but is it the best option for vanlife?

Here are 9 reasons why vanlifers like the HiAce:

  1. Comes in 4WD: There are tons of old school Toyota HiAce vans out there that come in 4WD, which many vanlifers appreciate for Overlanding.
    Super unique: This car is pretty rare, especially in the U.S.. You’re sure to stand out from the crowd in a Toyota HiAce.
  2. Reliable Engine: Toyota is known for making highly robust reliable cars, and the HiAce is no exception.
  3. Small and Nimble: Owners say the HiAce is easy to get around, and it’ll fit in most parking spaces.
  4. Large Interior: Compared to a minivan, the HiAce has a much larger interior.
  5. Great for Off-Roading: The Toyota HiAce has a high clearance and a powerful engine, compared to an old VW bus, the HiAce will perform much better in off-road conditions.
  6. Lasts a Long Time: Like other Toyotas, the HiAce is known to last for hundreds of thousands of miles, especially those with diesel engines.
  7. Room for More Amenities Than the Delica: Compared to Mitsubishi’s Delica, the HiAce has a few square feet more interior room, which means space for a larger bed, or an indoor kitchen.
  8. Great Handling: Owners say their HiAces have excellent handling and are easy to drive.
  9. Decent Gas Mileage: Compared to the VW buses, the Toyota HiAce gets pretty good gas mileage, at 18.5 MPG.

7 Reasons Why Vanlifers Dislike the HiAce

As with every vehicle, there are downsides to the Toyota HiAce.

Here are 7 reasons why vanlifers dislike the HiAce:

  1. Needs to be Imported (If you Live in the U.S.): The Toyota HiAce was never made in the U.S., so if you live in the states and you want a HiAce, you’ll have to import it, which can be pretty costly.
  2. Older Models Might Need A lot of Work: These vans are old and most likely have lots of miles on them, meaning you’ll probably have to do a good amount of mechanical work on them.
  3. Hard to Get Your Hands on: The HiAce is a rare vehicle, and you might have to scour car websites for a while before you find one you really like in your budget.
  4. Not Many Conversion Companies Work on Them: Because this is a rarer vehicle, it’s more difficult to find a conversion company that will work on a HiAce.
  5. More Difficult to DIY Build-Out: Because of its large interior space, the HiAce is not great for no-build, or low-build DIY conversions.
  6. Rust Issues: Because these are older cars, the HiAce can be known to have some major rust issues, which is a difficult and costly fix.
  7. Right-hand Drive: Toyota HiAce vans have the steering wheel on the right side, which can be a big adjustment if you live in the U.S. (Also, these vehicles are illegal to drive in the state of Maine!)

 

9 Amazing Toyota HiAce Van Builds

With a lots of interior space, a power engine, & good fuel economy, the HiAce provides a good platform for designing a layout… but which is the best?

Here are 9 of the coolest Toyota HiAce’s ever:

 

Build #9: Toyota HiAce with Convertible Double Bench Seat and L-Shaped Kitchen

  • Highlights: This Toyota HiAce conversion has two long rear bench seats that convert into a large bed. In the front is an L-shaped kitchen with a stove, countertop space, and sink with a copper faucet.
  • Van: Toyota HiAce
  • Owner: @craftycampers_

 

Build #8: Modern HiAce Conversion with Slide-out Stove

  • Highlights: This beautiful Toyota HiAce conversion has a fixed platform bed in the back with some storage underneath, and overhead. The gorgeous front kitchen has a residential-style sink, lots of countertop space, and a stove that slides out of the side door.
  • Van: Toyota HiAce
  • Owner: @southcoastvanfitouts

 

Build #7: DIY HiAce Van Build with Platform Bed, Under-Bed Kitchen, and Awning

  • Highlights: This DIY HiAce build-out has a large platform bed with two slide-outs underneath. The slide-outs contain a gravity-powered sink, as well as a stove. The front of the van has a cabinet unit that provides countertop space and storage.
  • Van: Toyota HiAce
  • Owner: @vikki_the_van

 

Build #6: Toyota HiAce Build with Convertible U-Shaped Dinette

  • Highlights: This Toyota HiAce conversion has a great U-shaped dinette with a table that folds away so the rear can convert into a bed. The front of the van has an L-shaped kitchen that separates the driver’s cab from the living space.
  • Van: Toyota HiAce
  • Owner: @craftycampers_

 


 

Build #5: HiAce Camper with Convertible Sofa and Slide-Out Kitchen

  • Highlights: This cozy HiAce build from Rollin’ Campers has a sofa that slides out into a bed. From the trunk is a large slide-out kitchen with a propane stove and prep space. The front of the van has a cabinet unit for more storage.
  • Van: Toyota HiAce
  • Owner: rollincampers.com

 

Build #4: Toyota HiAce Van with Wardrobe, Outdoor Shower, and Kitchen

  • Highlights: This HiAce build has a large bed in the back with two huge slide-outs underneath for storage. The bench seat in the front has another slide-out which contains a stove and some kitchen storage.
  • Van: 2011 Toyota HiAce
  • Owner: @masonandsarah

 

Build #3: DIY HiAce Campervan Conversion with Expandable Bed and Dinette

  • Highlights: This DIY HiAce build has an L-shaped dinette that converts into a large rear bed with storage crates underneath. The front of the van has a kitchen area with a stove and some storage.
  • Van: Toyota HiAce
  • Owner: @toyota_hiace_conversion

 

Build #2: High Top HiAce Van with Large Double Benches and Recessed Ceiling Lighting

  • Highlights: This bright blue Toyota HiAce has a large double bench seat with a collapsable table. At night, the bench seats transform into a large bed. The extra-high roof on this HiAce means you can stand up inside.
  • Van: Toyota HiAce
  • Owner: @kazumi_the_hiace

 

Build #1: Stylish Toyota HiAce with Rear Facing Bed and Interior Bathroom

  • Highlights: This stunning HiAce design has a side-facing static bed in the back. The middle of the van contains a shower/toilet room, and the front of the van has an L-shaped kitchen with a slide-out that contains a stove and oven.
  • Van: Toyota HiAce
  • Owner: @the_silverslug

 

Cost, Dimensions, & Fuel Economy

Now that you know a little more about the Toyota HiAce, let’s see how it stacks up against the Mitsubishi Delica, Volkswagen Van, & Nissan Urvan.

 

Toyota HiAce Cost

Cost: Toyota HiAce vs Volkswagen Van vs Mitsubishi Delica vs Nissan Urvan

ModelUsedPrice
Toyota HiAce$15,500Check Price
VW Van$30,000Check Price
Mitsubishi Delica$19,777Check Price
Nissan Urvan$14,577Check Price

 

Toyota HiAce Dimensions

Dimensions: Toyota HiAce vs Volkswagen Van vs Mitsubishi Delica vs Nissan Urvan

ModelInterior HeightInterior Length (cargo)Interior WidthExt Length
Toyota HiAce55.9 inches91.9 inches60.8 inches185.6 inches
VW Van53.1 inches106.3 inches59.1 inches168.9 inches
Mitsubishi Delica51.2 inches86.6 inches55 inches188 inches
Nissan Urvan60.8 inches112.8 inches53.2 inches200 inches

 

Toyota HiAce Fuel Economy

Fuel Economy: Toyota HiAce vs Volkswagen Van vs Mitsubishi Delica vs Nissan Urvan

ModelCityHighwayCombined
Toyota HiAce17 MPG20 MPG18.5 MPG
VW Van16 MPG19 MPG17.5 MPG
Mitsubishi Delica18 MPG22 MPG20 MPG
Nissan Urvan19 MPG21 MPG20 MPG

 

Conclusion: Is the Toyota HiAce Right for you?

There are a lot of reasons to like the Toyota HiAce: It has a large interior, a unique design, and 4WD options – but it may not be for you.

Biggest factors:

  • Good Amount of Interior Room
  • Great Style
  • Needs to be Imported (to U.S.)

So should you get one?

Yes! The Toyota HiAce is a great option for vanlife because it’s reliable, has lots of space for it’s size, and comes in 4WD. If however you don’t have access to the HiAce because you live in the US, the Mitsubishi Delica, Volkswagen Van, or Nissan Urvan might be a better option.

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