The rise of the vans started in the mid-1970s with the Toyota Hiace, a mid-size commercial van that became the choice vehicle for the rise of the SA taxi business.
The Quantum added some carrying capability and has since become the number one SA people mover. Now the Quantum has added some bells and whistles as well as reinvented power delivery plus a bigger engine, as well as safety features.
The biggest change has to be the move from ‘cab-over’ to ‘semi-bonnet design’. This new look makes for more space in the cabin, better aerodynamics. It also means that there is a little more legroom for passengers. Imagine that, legroom in a minibus taxi.
If you’re accustomed to the first view of a minibus being the pressure it applies to you in the rear view mirror on a crowded road, then rest assured that that view is going to be somewhat more modern. The radiator grille and headlights are united in what looks to be a smooth flowing line. Door handles and bumpers being colour-coded.
On the visibility side, so important for road safety, are newly designed large side mirrors, that are retractable in GL models possibly for squeezing through even tighter spaces! Colours offered are ivory white, quicksilver metallic and light blue metallic.
The Quantum range is made up of new panel van and bus derivatives, giving buyers more options to tailor choice to needs. Three-seater panel vans come in long wheels base and higher roof super long wheel base, as well as a six-seater crew cab. The GL bus comes in 11-seater and 14-seater versions.
Performance has been altered with changes to the suspension as well as parts of the undercarriage, and the relocation of the engine forward helps create a more stable and quieter ride.
Powerplant-wise, the new four-cylinder 2.8 litre diesel brings with it a turbocharger and intercooler, which helps enhance performance, as well as fuel economy and a quieter ride. The engine delivers a max power output of 130kW, while the 14-seater brings 115kW.
For passenger comfort, MacPherson strut suspension is adopted for the front and a leaf spring suspension for the rear. Being a load and passenger vehicle, straight-line stability is vital and the suspension set up helps in this regard. The turning circle of the LWB version spans 5.5m and 6.4m for the SLWB.
Built with passengers in mind, spacious seating measurements have been attained by increasing the cabin length and width for better legroom and headroom.
The all-important width of the sliding door, the gaatjie’s main tool, has been increased by 70mm, meaning passengers can get in and out more easily while the gaatjie has ample space to lean and yell his route onto the street, as is his custom.
For further passenger comfort, the air-conditioner system enables control of airflow for backseat passengers from the AC controller on instrument panel, via roof-mounted air vents.
Better safety, a point of contention with many a taxi on the road, is addressed with a layer of tech inclu- ding anti-lock braking with electro- nic brake-force distribution, as well as stability control that suppresses a sudden loss of vehicle stability during cornering. Hill-assist control prevents roll back on steep inclines.
Other safety systems include front airbags, and with the adoption of the semi-bonnet configuration, impact energy in the event of a collision is absorbed.
Paying homage to the iconic and at times infamous Siyaya commuters carriers of the ’90s, the 16-seater Ses’fikile carriers will be renamed Hiace and retain the 2.7 litre petrol and 2.5 litre diesel engine and drivetrain.
All Quantum models come with a nine-year/ 90 000km service plan with service intervals set at 12-months/10 000km. Toyota’s 3-year/100 000km warranty applies.