Liked the previous-generation Toyota Hiace more than the new one? Thankfully you can still pick up a brand new unit of the older model. All you have to do is head to a Mazda dealership in Japan.
Yes, you read that right.
Mazda recently revealed the all-new Bongo Brawny based on the fifth-generation Hiace. It also marks the return of the Bongo nameplate to the brand’s lineup after the model was discontinued a few years back.
So what’s different between the Hiace and the Bongo Brawny? To be honest, there’s essentially no difference whatsoever when it comes to styling. In fact, people will likely mistake the Bongo Brawny for a Hiace because the two really look alike. Even the wheels have been carried over from Toyota’s van. The only difference would be the Mazda badging and the Bongo Brawny logo at the rear.
It is the same story with the cabin. Everything from the dashboard to the steering wheel (save for the Mazda logo) is the same as the Hiace. Interestingly, the Bongo Brawny does get a slightly redesigned gauge cluster to give it a classier look.
Unlike the previous-gen Bongo van, however, the all-new model is now intended to be a small commercial vehicle as opposed to a passenger vehicle. There are no numerous rows of seats in the cabin. Instead, there is a ton of space for all the cargo carrying needs. In fact, Mazda says the maximum carrying load is 1250kg with three people riding inside.
The Bongo Brawny is available with two powertrain options: a 2.0-liter inline-four gasoline engine which produces 136 PS and 182 Nm torque or a 2.8-liter inline-four diesel engine producing 151 PS and 300 Nm torque. Both engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and are available in either 2WD or 4WD.
To improve driver safety, a host of safety features come standard including collision avoidance systems, dynamic stability control, and even hill-start assist.
The new Bongo Brawny will likely be a Japan exclusive model similar to its predecessors.