When Leonardo da Vinci penned, ‘Simplicity was 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 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 my 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 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 3-litre diesel model or the 2015 six-speed auto petrol model.
When it was time for a rest, setting up camping mode couldn’t have been easier. In no time, I chose a pleasant riverside spot and got to work. The simplicity of the side awning and the rear tailgate offer 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, sunproof and waterproof.
The kitchen setup is also straightforward. The two-burner stove is removable for alfresco cooking or cleaning, and the sink, ample cupboard, and storage spaces are well thought out. The 80-litre fridge/freezer and the optional microwave oven are perfectly slotted into the kitchen, offering great 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 sure to be one to suit most buyers’ needs.
The electrics of the 2015 Hiace are foolproof. The auxiliary battery is charged by the 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. 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 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. The optional extras are also reasonably priced, making it affordable to put together a package that meets your needs but won’t cost you an 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 airbags
• 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