Living with an 18-year-old pickup truck

Brief introduction

Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate Vans’ practicality. My love for vans was sparked by our wonderful experience with her Innova. Little did he know, however, that within a year of looking for a large recreational van, he would buy a Toyota Hiace 2023.

My van search began in earnest in 2018. We just got back from our trip to Palampur and all we could think about was getting a large van on the way. I thought it would be the perfect car for a family trip. Tata his winger and force his traveler are his two vehicles that fit the description and for a while, he was obsessed with buying one of them. Of course, my family hesitated and didn’t realize how attached I was to the idea. And I collected information from various websites, like Wikipedia, Wapcar, etc.

Regularly check her OLX on both vehicles. Also, if I remember correctly, the closest I got to buying was his 2013 Winger, which was privately registered and had about 30,000km on it. However, the engine was not 2.2 Dicor. The machine wasn’t in top shape, but it was better than almost any winger I’ve seen. My enthusiasm was so great that I gladly bought it on the spot, but luckily I lost my contract with another gentleman. God bless him! 

Another close shave of his that I went with was Force His Traveler for sale somewhere in Karnataka. Anyway, God has mercy on me and I found this Hiace parked in front of the garage on the road to Delhi. I immediately looked it up and contacted the owner who had already sold it. After that I moved quickly and within a few days, he was zipping up Route 1 in his 15-year-old van that was doing 2 rack kms.

Stories and purchases

History, as I have heard so much these days, is often manipulated. So with that in mind, here’s what the previous owner told me about the truck’s history.

This is a 2004 model built specifically for Eastern European countries. It was used by the Hungarian Embassy as a school and office bus. It was later acquired by a friend of the owner in 2017. Unfortunately, the person had to leave India for good but not before spending a lot of time and money on the van’s needs (ah Bollywood clichés!). 

I don’t have the knowledge or experience to judge cars now, but what I saw and felt from the van really impressed me at the time. Hesitating a bit and ended up paying 3.25 lacs for it. In retrospect, it turned out to be a burglary – a home sale.

The van has parts marked “Toyota” all over it, e.g. this side mirror. All windows have the inscription “Toyota”.

One test for used cars is to find the owner’s manual and the condition of the jack and tool kit. Although there is no instruction manual, the jack and tool kit are in excellent condition and stored exactly where they should be.


Initial state and refresh

When I made my first ride, taking the car home – a 150km ride, I couldn’t believe it. He drove very smoothly. The engine has the characteristic growl of a typical Toyota diesel. Good brake system. The AC got cold and the original radio worked fine. Amazingly, this 15-year-old metal bread box doesn’t squeak or rattle – a trait only a Toyota can have in my honest opinion. The ride has too much of a “beauty of life” vibe, but is frequently interspersed with thoughts of dear Murphy.

Let me quickly recap how much I had to spend on the van before my ownership period really began.

1. I spent around Rs 80,000 to sign up and the whole process took about 10 months. The COVID-related lockdown has delayed an already long and complicated process, even though I’ve hired the best “experts”!

2. Mechanically, it was and is a work of sound (Touchwood!). Aside from replacing the front shock absorbers and changing the fuse bulb at the start, everything else is in order. 3. Spent about 40,000 to replace the original 12-seater rear with Innova’s 4-seater captain’s seat. It was not planned and executed in a hurry and I regret doing it.

4. Got a pair of extra headlights (not sure what the proper term is) for around 10,000. A new battery installed costs about 8k.

5. Spend about 10k to get liability insurance.

6. The front windshield was replaced at the start of ownership at a cost of Rs 11k. 7. I also had a tire change as soon as the property started to cost around Rs 30,000.

8. You installed one of these Chinese made car awnings for Rs 20k.

9. I paid around Rs 8k to get one of these unique dual front parking mirrors for Hiace vans – although one of the mirrors was missing.

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