You are currently viewing Nissan Caravan vs. Toyota Hiace Comparison

Nissan Caravan vs. Toyota Hiace Comparison

While several factors may be responsible for the popularity of minibuses as a commercial mode of transport, three particularly stand out. First, minibuses offer convenience to passengers, even during long journeys. Second, they have better fuel efficiency and leave less carbon footprint in their wake, compared to many other modes of transport. Most importantly, they are extremely cheap to travel with.

Thanks to these factors, minibuses have gained immense acceptance in different parts of Africa. Known as Danfo in Nigeria, Matatu in Kenya and Poda Poda in Sierra Leone, these commercial vehicles can always be seen trodding the continent’s bustling streets.

However, when it comes down to deciding between Japanese used cars of this kind, two options easily come to mind – the Nissan Caravan and the Toyota Hiace. With both notable for their convenience, making the better choice could be challenging. But with the right information, it’s a walk in the park.

Difference between Caravan and Hiace

Beyond the spacious interiors and similar build styles of both vehicles, countless qualities set them apart.

Nissan Caravan

The Nissan Caravan features a cab-over type one-box design. The fourth-generation (E25) version enjoyed a production spanning from 2001 to 2012 – enough time to create a reputation for its reliability and versatility. This vehicle boasts a prominent grille design, rectangular headlights, a large windshield and relatively flat sides. The Nissan Caravan for sale is also known as the Nissan Urvan.

The design of the Caravan allows for ample interior space for passengers and cargo alike. With the presence of foldable seats, there’s always more room for more load. Meanwhile, additional storage compartments help passengers enjoy a clutter-free experience. Some trims may include Climate Control, an Anti-theft Alarm, Central Locking, an Anti-lock Braking System, a trip computer, and a center display. 

Safety is not dismissed in the Urvan as the vehicle comes equipped with seat belts and airbags – catering for the security of its 12-passenger capacity. Meanwhile, drivers are also assured of a seamless ride as the vehicle relies on a hydraulic power steering with polyurethane material. 

The most popular models of the Nissan Caravan for sale are the 4th generation (E25 model 2001-2012) models. This class of minibuses are also popularly demanded in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania, among others. Usually, a Japanese used Nissan Caravan for sale goes anywhere between $3,100 and $4,900.

Toyota Hiace Van

The Hiace is Toyota’s close competition to the Nissan Caravan—and that’s for good reason. The H200 series, to begin with, featured a more utilitarian design compared to more recent Hiace models. It also had the cab-over, one-box design of the Caravan. Depending on the configuration you choose – cargo-hauling or passenger-hauling – the Toyota Hiace can either have sliding doors for passengers’ easy entry and exit or a flat panel. 

The boxy shape and tall rooflines of the Toyota Hiace also account for its greater headroom, legroom and cargo space. While steel wheels are more common, some more expensive trims of the H200 series (2004 – 2020) offered alloy wheels. Meanwhile, thanks to the presence of fog lights, the vehicle can forge fearlessly through low-visibility areas.

On the inside, the Toyota Hiace for sale offers more sightly features than the Caravan. For one, all models have a trip computer, a center display and air conditions. Advanced features such as Cruise Control, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) are available too.

The presence of seatbelts, airbags, pretensioners, immobilizers and Isofix (for children) also guarantee that passengers of all ages are securely tucked away from harm’s way. More so, entertainment within the Hiace doesn’t go unnoticed. The WMA, AUX, USB and Bluetooth, as well as the optional RDS and DVD ensure that you stay connected on the go!

The Toyota Hiace for sale is extremely popular among African countries for several reasons, one of which is its adequate ground clearance of about 175mm. As this makes it a practical vehicle, countries like South Africa, Uganda and Nigeria revere it as the go-to passenger and cargo van. Starting from about $5,200 to about $11,600 for the latest models, you can expect to find the Toyota Hiace for sale in the used Japanese car market.

Performance and Engine Specifications

The table below provides a side-by-side comparison of both car models at a glance:

CriteriaNissan CaravanToyota Hiace
Manufacturing YearApril 2001August 2004
Dimensions (L × W × H)4990mm × 1690mm × 1990mm4,695 – 5,380mm × 1,695 – 1,880mm × 1,980 – 2,105mm
Weight1,650kg1,610 – 2,200kg
Type of VehicleMinibusMinibus
Engine Capacity2,000cc to 3,000cc2,000cc to 3,000cc
Engine Power (HP)131 horsepower151 horsepower
Engine RPM3,450RPM3,400RPM
Top Speed160km/h155km/h
Fuel TypePetrol/DieselPetrol/Diesel
Fuel Capacity65 litres70 litres
Fuel EfficiencyBetween 9.1km/L to 14.1km/LBetween 6.1km/L to 8.7km/L
Transmission Type4-speed automatic, 5-speed manual4-speed automatic, 6-speed automatic & 5-speed manual
Average Price (Used)$3,100 – $4,900$5,200 – $11,600
N.B.: For the Nissan Caravan, the fourth generation (E25 2001 – 2012) model was used. While for the Toyota Hiace, the fifth generation H200 series (2004) model was used.

Popular Use

The sheer size and practicality of the Nissan Caravan and the Toyota Hiace have made them the go-to vehicles to perform several activities:

  • School Transportation: School Owners are popular buyers of the Nissan Caravan or Toyota Hiace for sale. These minibuses help transport students to and from school, field trips, and extracurricular activities.
  • Tourism & Sightseeing: Minibuses are also a popular choice for guided tours, city sightseeing excursions, and group travel. Smaller tourist groups or those exploring narrow streets or rural areas are sure to benefit from the spacious yet maneuverable build of these vehicles.
  • Corporate Transportation: Companies and unions often rely on mini buses to transport their employees/members. This is very popular with companies located in industrial areas or when workers must arrive at an event together.
  • Private Hire & Events: In African countries where large celebrations are popular, the Hiace or Nissan Caravan for sale can help transport delegates and guests to the venue of the party. 
  • Medical Clinics: Ambulances must be comfortable, maneuverable and spacious. Minibuses combine all these features efficiently. It is no wonder they are often a first resort among medical clinics and healthcare centers.


Now that you have the right information, making the choice that best suits between the Nissan Caravan and the Toyota Hiace is easier. If you’re working with a tighter budget, the Caravan might be a better choice. However, if you prioritize modern aesthetics and comfort, then, the Hiace is your best bet. Now, the ball is in your court!

Spread the love

Leave a Reply