2019 Toyota Granvia Review

2019 Toyota Granvia Road Test Review

Toyota Granvia

Frustrated film goers still ponder the meaning of 1968’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” and have only now begin to see the tangible explanation. It’s a Toyota.

Toyota’s Granvia is the replacement to its Tarago. This is one people mover that ticks all the boxes, especially for well-heeled families. The entry price is $62,990 plus on-road costs for the six seater, rising to $64,990 (eight seats); then $74,990 for the top-spec VX with either six or eight chairs.

So the base Granvia is sound and the methods used to bring it into a higher level of civilisation are well meaning and successful. But does it tick all the (big) boxes?

Toyota Granvia


From all angles, it’s the new Hiace. Compared with the old Hiace, note the doors that are set back from the front wheels and which put the front occupants further back, improving safety in a decent prang.

There are two sliders both side, and a humungous lift-up tailgate that – unfortunately – is not fitted with an electric motor.

So at this point it’s all Hiace. But check out the wheels, now alloy not Hiace-standard steel. There’s more exterior niceties, like a bit more chrome and body-coloured parts including the door handles.

Toyota Granvia


I picked up my grandson from school and his reaction when the doors opened was – disbelief.

His booster seat sat tall in the second row but importantly, it wasn’t excessively high for him to struggle to get himself seated. And this is the thing about the Granvia – it may look monolithic in proportions and shape, but it’s easy to enter and leave.

There is also a more relaxed driving position, setting the steering wheel more with an attitude of a passenger car.

There are two Granvias – the everyday model and the VX. Both come with the choice of six or eight seats.

The Six seat VX is designed more as an executive transit vehicle, so it’s all leather, small side tables, cupholders (that probably suit champagne flutes because that’s a fun way to get to the airport) and storage bins. The leather is quilted and the chairs have high armrests, so everyone feels cosseted.

These four chairs in the rear are able to be slid fore and aft, and can recline to a snooze angle. Quite a decent way to travel – but not one you’d offer your children in the regular family vehicle.

Toyota Granvia

That’s because vans – er, people movers – are all about versatility. The six seater versions of the Granvia don’t have seats that fold flat, so carrying cargo is not as efficient.

They’re designed for people. What you want is the eight-seater versions, in base model or VX. Here the seats fold down, tumble forward and can be removed.

So – six seater for taking paying customers to the airport; eight seater for your family.

All the desirable van features are in the Granvia. There’s a wide and deep boot area, which can be extended by sliding the third row forward. There are storage pockets and up front, a decent glovebox and huge centre bin. There’s some smaller storage areas in the dash – not as many as one would expect coming from a commercial heritage, however – and huge bottle holders in the doors.

Toyota Granvia

The six seater has three seat rows with a two-two-two arrangement with individual seats, and the eight seater has four rows and a two-two-two-two layout with the last row a bench. Basically, the eight seater just adds a fourth row with its bench seat.

So the downside is how the seats are arranged. It’s great having a four row vehicle but the last row takes up a lot of room that means luggage space is almost nonexistent. It is also not removable, so the seat backs can fold but that’s it.

The other seats slide and fold but with the four-row versions the legroom is increasingly tight as you move down the aisle. Much like having the cheap seats at the back of the theatre.

Toyota Granvia


The VX has all the fruit, from quilted leather seats to 12 speakers, but is this what you want?

Standard kit for the Granvia range includes digital radio with six speakers, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The VX adds electrically-operated side doors (with buttons on the right-side of the dash and in the key fob), leather captain’s chairs (four electrically-operated in the back for the six seater, two with electric adjustment and two with manual adjustment for the eight-seater), heated seats all around for the six-seat version, rear sunshades, a cabin dehumidifier, and panoramic view monitor.

The Granvia gets a 7.0-inch touchscreen, 4.5-inch info screen in the instrument binnacle, digital radio with CD player (yep, still makin’ ’em), seven USB ports, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility (one of the first Toyota products with these app-based links).

It also has satellite navigation with SUNA live traffic reporting, operates on voice recognition and has Siri Eyes Free.

Toyota Granvia


The Granvia shares the Hiace’s 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine and six-speed automatic transmission with drive to the rear wheels.

It pumps the same output in the Granvia as it does in its SUV siblings, with 130kW at 3400rpm and torque of 450Nm at 1600-2400rpm.

The diesel engine is quick enough to keep up with the frenetic commuter traffic off the mark, and will cruise quietly and ride softly at 100km/h.

The suspension is front MacPhersons with coils on a four-link system at the back, so is a unique set up to the Hiace’s rear leaf springs. There’s also disc brakes on all wheels.

Best of all, it practically turns on its own length with a turning circle of 12m – not bad for a van that’s 5.3m long.

Fuel consumption is claimed to average 8.0 L/100km but the week-long test through mainly suburbia – and country roads and freeways and CBD crawls thrown in  – came to 10.5 L/100km.

Toyota Granvia


Van (er, people mover) safety is in a new era thanks to OHS and corporate due diligence in employee care. Standard is Toyota Safety Sense driver assistance feature including autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection (day and night) and cyclist detection (day only).

The AEB operates on camera and radar sensors and alerts the driver first with visual and audible signals before plunging right in and whacking on the brakes itself.

It also has high-speed active cruise control, lane-departure warning, road-sign assistance and automatic high beam.

Other safety features include a five-star crash rating, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera with guide lines and nine airbags.


  • TARDIS interior
  • Easy to drive
  • Ride comfort


  • Looks like a small warehouse
  • Eight-seat option cramps rear legroom, luggage space
  • Not cheap

Toyota Granvia


Who would have thought that a big box could be so much fun?

The Granvia may be a van with a few more civilised features but one you get over its 5.3m length, is easy to drive and surprisingly manoeuvrable.

The eight-seat option is best for families, though luggage space can be limited. It’s not so much a very good people mover as a fantastic delivery van. Would I buy one? Given the rivals, probably.



  • Engine: 2.8 L 4Cyl Turbo Diesel producing 130kW/450Nm
  • Transmission: RWD 6 speed Auto
  • Warranty: 5 Yr./ Unlimited km, $240 capped price service/6mths
  • Safety: 5-Star
  • Origin: Japan
  • Price: from $62,990 MLP*

*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.

Toyota Granvia


Who would have thought that a big box could be so much fun?

The Granvia may be a van with a few more civilised features but one you get over its 5.3m length, is easy to drive and surprisingly manoeuvrable.

The eight-seat option is best for families, though luggage space can be limited. It’s not so much a very good people mover as a fantastic delivery van. Would I buy one?

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.