The all-new Toyota Hiace Super Grandia goes by different names abroad. In Taiwan, for instance, it's called the Granvia. In its home market of Japan, it's dubbed the GranAce. They're all essentially the same van, except for one key difference for the Japanese Domestic Market model.
It's front-wheel drive.
Don't take our word for it. That's according to the official information handed out in the Toyota press website. Toyota's official press information says the vehicle is front wheel drive; an unusual departure from the models in other markets which are rear-wheel drive. We're still verifying that bit of info for the Japanese version. We've even reached out to Toyota Philippines to confirm that our local spec Super Grandia is, indeed, rear-wheel drive.
If it's confirmed, it will have been the first time the van will utilize front-wheel drive. Although there are other front-driven vans out there (check out vans from Peugeot-Citroen, and even some variants of the Ford Transit), this is certainly a big deal for the Hiace. That said, front-wheel drive vans do have get the benefit of a lower floor and, thus, more space.
On the flipside, this might have been a case of a mistranslation. Perhaps the release meant that it was front-engined rather than being front-wheel drive. After all, this is the first time the entire Hiace lineup shifted to that layout.
As for the rest of the van, there aren't significant details that differentiate the Philippine-spec model for the Japanese version. On the outside, it's largely the same van from bumper to bumper, right down to the wheels. Curiously though, there seems to be a sensor on the roof and it's function has yet to be determined.
Inside, it's largely similar too from the wood trimmings and leather. The only thing that's been changed here is the steering wheel location. Even the engine is the same 2.8-liter turbodiesel that makes 176 PS and 450 Nm of torque which is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.
So, is it really front wheel drive or did this release get lost in translation? We'll have a peek under the GranAce when we head to the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show in a few weeks time.
Update: As it turns out, it was a mistranslation on the part of Toyota. The Japanese press release still says it is rear-wheel drive but the English version has yet to be amended.