The Toyota Townace is something of an entity in and of itself. It is a well-known and popular vehicle for those who need a van for whatever purpose, primarily because it is easy to find, incredibly affordable, and it offers a lot of room for storage, whether you are hauling band equipment across the outback or heading off for a weekend of camping. Toyota began producing the Townace over 30 years ago, in 1976, and it has never gone out of production since them. Its age has led to the one common complaint of Toyota Townace owners, in that it can sometimes be difficult to find information on do-it-yourself fixes, especially with the older versions.
The Toyota Townace has received relatively few facelifts over the years. It is a van that was built for efficiency and reliability, and not much else. That does not mean that it doesn’t have its fans, however. The first generation of the Townace was a luxury van that resembled the Toyota Tarago, although the Townace was a little bit more compact than its big brother. A second-generation model began production in 1986, when the company began to offer the vehicles in a four-wheel drive option, and subsequent generations followed in 1993 and 1997, with the latest update being the 2008 model.
The Toyota Townace is pretty much the prototypical van. It is large, and it drives like a large vehicle. There is perhaps a little bit more push in four-wheel drive models, which makes them great for taking into rougher terrain, but it still does not have the sporty driveability of a 4X4. Perhaps the greatest draw of the Toyota Townace is the fact that you can get them for very cheap, and because they are so common, it is easy to get the parts needed to perform a repair without spending too much money to get the job done. You can seat up to 8 passengers in the Toyota Townace, and while early models only offered three doors, most post-1993 versions of the Toyota Townace were five-door models, which is another factor that has led to the popularity of this van as a commercial vehicle.
The Toyota Townace has a fairly weak engine, but one that is enough to get the job done. Early models of the Townace offered only a 1.8L engine, while subsequent generations offered the 1.5L, 1.8L, 2.0L and 2.2L 4-cylinder engine. It runs on the Toyota Y-engine, which is used in the car company’s light commercial vehicles, and it offers 85kW at 5000rpm and 179Nm at 3600rpm. That’s not a whole lot of push, but it’s enough to get the job done while still offering decent fuel economy as compared to other light vans. It definitely feels a bit large and cumbersome to drive, although perhaps not as much as other vans that are a little bit bigger and that have heavier frames.
The weak torque does mean that with heavier loads on board, it can be a bit more difficult to get the Toyota Townace moving, so it might not be the best option for heavy lifting if you are using it as a commercial vehicle. It performs well enough as a passenger van and for light loads, so it is only something to take into consideration among buyers who really need something that can haul a lot.
There are not many options for the Toyota Townace. Most choices you do have to make are pretty basic. Throughout the various generations of the vehicle, there have been petrol and diesel models available, and beginning with the 1986 models, four-wheel drive became a standard option along with rear-wheel drive. All versions of the Townace have come with both standard and automatic transmission.
There are two trims available, as buyers can choose between the standard minivan and the Toyota Townace truck. Apart from that, don’t expect much in the way of audio equipment, navigation, or comfort. The Toyota Townace was built for utility purposes and that much is evident in the baseline versions of these vehicles made available to the public.
Perhaps the biggest competitor for the Toyota Townace is the Hyundai iLoad, especially among buyers who are looking for something a little bit more modern, even if they are buying their van for commercial use. The Hyundai iLoad is more expensive than the Toyota Townace, but makes up for that with a whole host of features that range from Bluetooth connectivity to satnav. Both offer about the same amount of cargo space, but each has their advantages.
The Toyota Townace is a basic van with easy to find parts and a long history, while the Hyundai iLoad is a relatively new entry into the light commercial vehicle market. The engine of the iLoad is a decent 2.5L 4-cylinder with an impressive 343Nm of torque at only 1750rpm. Since it has a little less passenger space than the Townace, this might be the better option for those buyers who need something that can do a little more heavy lifting.