12 February 2020

Toyota Granvia 2020 Review

Cargo vans are so ubiquitous on our roads that they’re almost invisible, and even the latest Hiace could be seen as part of our everyday life, despite recent changes.

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Toyota Granvia 2020
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Toyota Granvia 2020
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Toyota Granvia 2020
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Toyota Granvia 2020
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Toyota Granvia 2020
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Toyota Granvia 2020

The Granvia, however, is a little different – for a start thanks to plentiful chrome flourishes, and those 17-inch alloy wheels. The rest is only obvious when you open a door, and see this is about as far from a cargo van as anything based on one could be.

Effectively Toyota has wired a Hiace, plumbed in a fair bit of extra air con piping, covered that little lot with lining and carpets, fitted some pretty fancy seats then programmed a wide sweep of safety aids into it.

The result is a people-carrier which can accommodate eight in reasonable comfort, or six in plush comfort, plus their luggage.

It gets the Hiace 2.8-litre four-cylinder direct-injection diesel engine with plenty of torque, put to the wheels via a six-speed auto assisted by an auto limited slip diff.

The driver and front passenger get capacious seats and with plenty of comfort and convenience features, naturally including Bluetooth and voice recognition, and a central console deep enough to hold a slightly tilted wine bottles, let alone your sandwiches, camera and such.

Those side doors either open/close at the touch of a button press by the driver, or by moving the inside or outside door handle as required – electrics do the rest, unless the hill you’re parked on is steep.

Once inside, the first four passenger seats are individual captain’s chairs which adjust to and fro, supplied with six USB ports to charge portable devices, and three reading lights each side – all with the option of swivel adjustment and three brightness settings. There are seat pockets in the front seatbacks and a foldable tray between the first row of rear seats, small side trays for the second row, plus four bottle holders and 14 cupholders in total. Yep, every passenger can have two drinks on the go, with two bottles to spare…

Now throw in adjustable-height seat arms, coat hooks and grab handles for each row, and air vents for every passenger row adjusted for rear passengers via a roof panel, and Granvia would appear to have it all, certainly for the front six occupants. The final row is a 60:40 split two-seater seat with a tip-up function to increase luggage space.

A tester sampled every seat while another drove at between 50 and 70kph. All were equally comfy, all were reasonably easy to access, sliding seats imparted enough legroom, really only the final row felt at all like second-class, and that only in comparison to Granvia’s Captain seats.  

The first two passenger rows are accessed with ease as seatbacks fold and seat bases slide, and getting out is as easy, because a foot lever activates the fold/slide from behind; the rear row isn’t exactly hard to access, but requires a little more flexibility.

We took Granvia from Auckland city out into the Waitakeres and down the steep hill to a black sand beach nestled into the cliffs, then drove it to Tauranga, ran errands there, and drove back via Auckland City in thick traffic for much of the way, thus trialling it in every terrain it’s likely to meet. Mostly we had two aboard, with luggage, sometimes one, or three. Our total hit 620km, at an average thirst of 9.3l/100km.

At all times the suspension proved compliant and comfy for passengers, while ably controlling the body size and weight to keep the driver happily confident. The turning circle is tight enough to be useful round town – for a van this wide it impressed those we carried – and it’s remarkably quiet underway. Its size will make tight car parks or narrow walled driveways tricky until the driver gets used to a 5.3-metre-long, 1.99-metre-wide (with mirrors) vehicle, and though the parking sensors are accurate, Granvia could do with a few more sensors, particular on each side.

Our tester recently spent some time in the Hiace, and can confirm that whatever Toyota did alongside simply lining the rear has very effectively soundproofed what is basically a large box. A passenger in any row, right down to the back one, was able to easily converse with the driver at speeds of up to 70kph.

Really, the prime comment made by both testers on the Tauranga trip was that the safety systems – principally the lane departure – have clearly been tuned with cities and motorways in mind.

On a narrow, winding NZ back road, the lane departure warning is too happy to cut in, and too intrusive, quite forcibly guiding the Granvia away from the left-hand verge line. That’s fabulous if you’re fatigued or distracted on a motorway, not so fabulous when seeking a smooth line through a back road when that unplanned rightward swerve could bring one uncomfortably close to oncoming traffic.

We left the lane departure system firmly on for motorways and round town – it defaults to on after start anyway – but switched it off for back-road stretches.

Toyota may aim Granvia at corporate transport, but with such a small MPV offering – just five models from three manufacturers in the over 60K bracket – it’ll likely also appeal to the fecund, who will note four ISOFIX mounting points and our child seat tether anchor points.

At a glance


Toyota Granvia


2.8 litre four-cylinder in-line common rail direct injection diesel



ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

130kW at 3,400rpm, 450Nm at 1,600-2,400rpm 


Six-speed auto

Fuel economy


Towing capacity



2WD Rear

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

755kg payload

Safety systems

  • Reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Trailer Sway Control
  • Nine airbags
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Auto headlights
  • Toyota Safety Sense with Auto Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Alert, yaw assist, vehicle sway warning, road sign assist and dynamic radar cruise control
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