Everyone always asks me about my car. What do I drive that can carry all these kids, it must be a bus? Until two years ago it was, we had a Toyota HiAce minibus, a huge beast that could fit nowhere but could carry a dozen people. Upgrade time came along and we decided we needed a safer vehicle, given the travel we do. Now remember I am writing about my particular model of iMax which is a 2012, they may have changed a few things by now with the newer ones.
The good stuff about it…
It is safer, air bags in all the usual places, and an engine and bonnet between me and the world. Because previously the engine was under my seat. The size of the boot (or trunk) is massive. It looks nice, everyone comments on it. It seats eight, and I’ve seen some models with a ninth seat in the front. It can fit in most car parks, mini bus drivers will appreciate that. You don’t have to get out of the car for mcdonalds, yay drive through lanes I can fit in! Reversing sensors are great and probably compulsory when driving a rectangle vehicle.
Technology, it talks to my iPhone, love that. I can make/answer calls from the dash without touching the phone. I can listen to my playlists, and get siri to do my bidding. Separate climate control for the rear if you want, or you can flick it over and the kids can’t change it. The front row of seats are comfy and lots of leg room, there is two glove boxes and cup holders. Huge pockets in all doors which hold a lot of crap, I mean books/drink bottles/toys. Cup holders for the back row too. It’s price isn’t bad for the size of vehicle you get either, especially compared to similar vehicles at the time. Servicing only has to be done every 15,000kms instead of ten.
And the bad stuff…
Big big HUGE blind spots, you can lose a whole intersection behind the windscreen pillars. You will need to lean forward and look around them at roundabouts. And don’t get me started on what you can’t see behind you.
Baby seat anchorage points are limited to the middle row, a pain in the arse given the new laws mean more kiddy carseats for longer. And its very hard to do the seat belts up once you have the carseats in place, I am still swapping my kids seats around trying to work out a good configuration a year later. Oh and you enter the rear seat by moving the whole middle row, so if you have a few seats that the seat belt goes through as well as the anchor, be prepared to have to redo the belt through the back of the kiddy seat every time.
While not a big deal, colours are limited. We had a choice of silver, silvery blueish, black and white. I am still yet to own a red car. If you are thinking of getting the fitted floor mats, don’t bother because they catch up under the chair runners which are constantly in use, even though they velcro to the floor. You will get the shits with them and take them out in a week trust me, so glad the car yard threw those in because at two hundred bucks a set I’d have been annoyed. The petrol version is a bit gutless with a full load, and can’t tow anything bigger than a trailer. The rear window openers, a pop and prop open deal, which cracks them open well just a crack. Which is what I expected on a van as we’ve had them before, I didn’t expect them to rattle so much I’m scared to drive with them open, the dealer says he fixed it. Uh huh. I know I know a rattle isn’t a big deal, but it does sound like the window is going to fall off. And another reason we went for a van instead of another mini bus was noise, you simply cannot have a conversation in a diesel mini bus, this means children get louder too.
There are so many tiny things that irritate me about this car, I could write pages, little things like there is no handle for the front passenger to pull themselves up into the car as there is for the driver. The aircon seemingly has only two settings, hot and cold. But even though I’ve said all this, I still love the car, simply because it is decidedly better than any other car we’ve ever owned, but remember we owned a Kia that the engine died in before getting to 100,000kms. So you know, for comparisons sake I’ve got some low starting standards.
UPDATE: Come November 2013, I smashed it. My beautiful black mummy van with the dark windows was no more. I now have a silver one, the same colour everyone else in town bought too, last week I stood in the supermarket car park trying to open someone else’s van. Children have accidentally jumped into the backseat at school pick up, thinking it’s their mums van, I think I need some kind of big sticker down the side of it.
You will be pleased to know it took the head on hit very well, I wasn’t injured nor where the small men in the back. Written off, our insurer gave us a new one. So, we now have a new model and it has only a few differences (a few buttons inside are different), but the squeaks remain and here I was happy about finally sorting that rattle issue. And this particular van has more glitches (more than the old one, my reversing sensors don’t work in the cold weather) that again nobody can find on service days, can you believe it
So in a couple of years we will part with this van, hey Toyota have you got a 4WD people mover on the cards anytime soon?