When Leonardo da Vinci penned, ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ 500 years ago, could he have had the foresight to be referring to Frontline’s 2015 Toyota Hiace campervan?
Probably not. But Frontline has well and truly weaved its customised magic to make the latest Hiace conversion shine. The Sydney company that has been specialising in Hiace conversions since 1987 has turned the 2015 Hiace into something beautiful in its simplicity, but well beyond a standard camper.
The fuel injected 2.7 litre petrol engine never misses a beat. On the open freeway, the Toyota sat comfortably on the 110 km/h speed limit urging me to put the foot down even further. When I took the back road to the hinterland, the Hiace came into its own. The light yet powerful vehicle loved the challenging winding roads.
The responsive motor is tucked into such a simple yet comfortable driving setup so I thought I was throwing a standard vehicle
around those bends, rather than a four and a half metre long van. It left me pondering what was capable of the optional three litre diesel model or the 2015 six-speed auto petrol model.
When it was time for a rest, setting up for camping mode couldn’t have been easier. In no time at all I chose a pleasant riverside spot and got to work. The simplicity of the side awning and the rear tail gate offers plenty of shade and weather protection. The optional canvas/flyscreen room to suit the standard Fiamma awning instantly doubled the size of my lodgings; mozzie-proof, sun proof and waterproof.
The kitchen setup is also straight forward. The two-burner stove is removable for alfresco cooking or cleaning and the sink and ample cupboard and storage spaces that are well thought out. The 80 litre fridge/freezer and the optional microwave oven are perfectly slotted into the kitchen, offering ample cooking space.
My only regret at this point was not having a few friends with me to enjoy the generous seating arrangements of the versatile four seater. The compact dining table offers convenience and ease of setup allowing for the comfortable option of a fully prepared meal.
In all Frontline offers six clever options for the internal layout of the new Hiace, so there’s certain to be one to suit most buyer’s needs.
The electrics of the 2015 Hiace are fool proof. The auxiliary battery is kept charged by the vehicle’s engine or plugged into 240-volt mains. The battery can run the vehicle’s numerous appliances for up to two days without charge. There is also a solar powered backup option for more remote trips.
The Hiace stereo was up to speed with modern connections available for my iPod. Nothing too fancy, but safe. The sweet tunes led to me effortlessly setting up the comfy double bed for a quick energy recharging afternoon siesta. Plenty of room and plenty of ventilation for a good night’s sleep. The internal height with the top-popped offered 1910mm head height – reasonable for even a lanky traveller. The option of a roof bed in this space is perfect for an extra bed for a teenager or two kids.
Talking to a Frontline Hiace camper owner who turned up at the campsite later in the day and was only too willing to sing its praises really convinced me of their value and versatility.
“Mate, I can fit my surfboards in easily, load up my wife and her artwork and we can disappear down the coast for a few days trouble free. All the modern cons,” he said with a smile. “And on the way home, we can park easily around town and stop in to do some errands. Cleaning the van after a road trip is a breeze.”
Over the years Frontline has converted thousands of campervans and the 2015 Toyota Hiace conversion comes with a good list of standard inclusions. Better still, the optional extras are also reasonably priced, making it affordable to put together a package that meets your needs but won’t cost you and arm and a leg.
In summary, the Frontline 2015 Hiace Campervan is an excellent RV. Smart, simple and when you look at the base price for a Hiace van alone, it’s exceptional value for money.
The sophistication this vehicle embraces through simplicity, reliability and comfort is everything the weekender or extended tourer expects in a campervan, plus a lot more.
Body length: 4695mm
Body width: 1695mm
Body height: 2040mm Internal height: 1910mm
Tare weight: 2000 approx
• Power steering
• Air conditioning
• Dual air bags
• Central door locking
• Power windows and mirrors
• AM/FM/CD/MP/USB Bluetooth
• Fuel tank 70L
• Adjustable steering
• Rear wheel drive
• Engine immobiliser
• 3 year 100kms warranty
• Cruise control
• Steering wheel controls
• Reverse camera
• Pull out cup holders
• Centre console box
• 2.7L petrol VVT-i inline DOHC
• 6 speed auto also available
• 111Kw 241Nm @ 3800rpm
• Anti-locking brakes
• 3L diesel turbo intercooler
• 16 valve DOHC
• 100kW 300Nm @ 1200 – 1600rpm
• Automatic transmission
• Coloured paint