After driving 2 Hiaces over the past 13 years I decided to change to the Vito. After 10,000 kms/ 6 months I'm never going back!
Yes, the Vito is pricey but you get what you pay for. The new Vito hasn't missed a beat in six months and handles both suburban and country roads with ease. As a tradesman I am carrying tools, stock and ladders, I have found my fuel averages 8.5L/100kms much better than the 14L/100kms from my Hiace auto-petrol. At 110kmh the cabin is quite and the van feels well planted on the road unlike the Hiace. The engine is refined, the 5 speed auto is well suited delivering smooth performance. I have found after long drives I arrive at the job much better than before. That could be because of the fully independent suspension and quite roomy cabin.
The long nose on the van took 4 weeks to get used to as did the 850+kms from the 75 litre tank! The Vito has a lower roof height than the Hiace so getting ladders on and off is much easier. That lower roof doesn’t come from a lowering the room in the back, there is actually more height in the Vito. Guess thats smart design.
The Vito feels much more secure to the road than the top heavy Hiace.
One drawback is the Vito has only partial Bluetooth compatibility, this means your handsfree works (it works like a charm) but you can't play music direct from your phone, so be prepared to go back to burning CD’s again!