It started life as a boring light commercial panel van.
Do you remember the Toyota Van once sold in North America in the 1980s? The model has evolved to become the LiteAce, a bland-looking workhorse in countries where it's currently sold. So, Philippine-based aftermarket shop Atoy Customs decided to give the small van a makeover, and the final product now has style to show off.
The LiteAce is available in various configurations, but the one sold in the Philippines is a panel van. That said, the builder gave it an upgrade - custom side windows with nifty window framing that adds a great look when seen on the profile. Complemented by a two-tone white and red color scheme, the custom Lite Ace departs from its cargo van appeal.
Toyota primarily sells the LiteAce on this side of the world as a workhorse, while the US has it in the form of the Tundra and Tacoma. The latter's getting even more power for the 2024 model year, with an i-Force Max hybrid system reportedly coming with class-leading horsepower figures.
The Toyota LiteAce gets none of that. Instead, the vehicle uses a humble 1.5-liter inline-four engine, which was left untouched by Atoy Customs. If so, the engine makes 97 hp and 99 lb-ft of torque. The power unit sends power to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox.
Further enhancing the exterior is the addition of a rear spoiler and a set of Black Rhino wheels. Meanwhile, the now-seven-seater interior is installed with second-row captain's chairs, more refined interior panels, and third-row seats that can be folded and tumbled.
The standard Toyota LiteAce panel van is available in the Philippines for Php 695,000, or around $12,230 in current exchange rates. Atoy Customs offers the window package for Php 46,000 ($809), with an option to add a tint for Php 4,000 ($70).
While a Toyota van is unlikely to return in the US, stateside dealers (and enthusiasts) yearn for something different: a small truck. The Stout is the rumored frontrunner nameplate for this comeback, a light truck also once sold in North America in the 1960s.