1996 Toyota HiAce SCL
Some of the most luxurious and practical JDM vehicles can be found in the van segment. They come in all sizes and shapes, and are much better equipped than our bottom-of-the-barrel US haulers of this vintage. This 1996 Toyota Hiace is a wonderful, seven-seat transporter. It packs a capable 4WD system and torquey turbo diesel, so you can take this thing anywhere you like, year-round. Our example also happens to be fresh off a recent service, and boasts a mere 111k verified and documented miles. Finished in Toyota's Flaxen Mica Metallic over Topaz Metallic (2AX), the exterior is in good nick with only minor dings, scratches, and scuffs from daily use. Prior repairs in Japan include a replacement tailgate and driver's side quarter panel. Best off all, this HiAce drives like a million bucks, filled with some aftermarket upgrades and sweet OEM interior options. Affordable, reliable, and ready to be put to task, this special Super Custom Limited is a Japanese Classic that makes all the sense in the world to own!
The cabin is spacious, with tons of flexible seating options and power equipment on hand. This one has a few factory upgrades including dual zone A/C, a digital gauge cluster, and electric adjustable steering column. These all work in typical Toyota fashion, as do the power folding mirrors, keyless entry, power locks, and windows. The upgrades didn't stop there, and the rarely seen power drivers seat option was ticked when this was built, the OEM audio was ditched in Japan for a more modern Pioneer unit. You can see why these are a joy to daily drive. The van also boasts premium outward visibility thanks to the cab-over design. The dashboard is in good nick and lacks any cracking or distortion. It even has dual SRS airbags for some added peace of mind when behind the wheel. A stunning sunroof suite covers the roof. It lets plenty of natural light into the cabin, and retracts for a convertible-like experience. The front manual and rear electric glass assembly tilt up to provide excellent ventilation, and work in unison with the pop out side glass to create a light breeze when you don't need the aircon. The seats are trimmed in a soft, yet durable tan cloth. They lack any major rips, stains, or tears, and are comfortable on long cruises. In the rear of the passenger cell, a center bench can swivel 180 degrees and fold flat in combination with the rear row to create a pseudo-mattress. Sleeping under the stars below the massive panoramic roof is always a highlight for campers, and the accommodations aren't half bad. The headliner, door cards, and carpets have withstood the past 25 years without sustaining major abuse, and even the carpeted floor mats from Japan are included in the sale.
For those used to the tin cans parading around as minivans in the states, this HiAce is a world different than a Windstar or Grand Caravan and demonstrates a higher level of build quality mechanically. Mounted centrally, between the axles, this Toyota is powered by the legendary 1KZ-TE. Fresh off an oil and filter service, a new 12v battery helps this thing to get fired up. Power is fed through a slick-shifting automatic and full-time 4WD system. This van is comfortable on the highway and is easy to maneuver around the city with its short wheelbase. It accelerates better than most vans of this era, and is frugal on fuel. The suspension is soft and gobbles up all the large and small road imperfections you can throw its way. The brakes feel reassuring, and slow down from higher speeds with confidence. Before it left our shop we slapped on four new all-season tires. The new rubber quiets down the road noise a touch, but most importantly will last for tens of thousands of miles to come.
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB compliant first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.