By Tom Roberts
If the Toyota Proace City looks familiar it’s because the Toyota Proace City is produced as part of a commercial agreement between the Japanese firm and the huge Stellantis group. The Proace City small van is based on the same platform used by the Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner, Fiat Doblo and Vauxhall Combo. Vanarama Van Expert Tom Roberts takes a deep dive into what sets this van apart from the other vans it shares so much with.
Toyota has been tweaking the Proace City since launch in terms of model and spec availability, presumably to try and keep ahead of the competition. Not just the things you can touch either, even the warranty has been changed – I think for the better, but more on that later.
The Proace City is offered in a nice simple range making things easy if you decide that the Proace City is the van for you. Just two body derivatives, short and long, a single diesel engine available in two power outputs, and three trim levels: Active, Icon and Design. There’s also the zero-emission Proace City Electric available for those looking to lease an electric van.
What Does The Toyota Proace City Look Like?
It’s neat, tidy and practical. There’s nothing particularly head-turning in the design of the Proace City, it’s simply a modern-looking small van. Where some of the Stellantis siblings have a more bold front end, the Toyota is subtly understated with the company logo at the centre of the grille. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not dull – it’s streamlined and looks businesslike without any unnecessary ‘bling’. Along the sides you’ll find plastic mouldings which will help to protect the van from those bumps and scrapes that are easy to pick up on a busy working day.
What Is The Cabin Of The Toyota Proace City Like?
Sharing the same dashboard as the Citroen Berlingo, Toyota chose to opt for this one over the alternatives, such as the one fitted to the Peugeot Partner. The instruments are clear and nicely framed in the driver's line of sight, and the centrally-mounted multimedia screen is angled slightly towards the driver. This makes a big difference and operating it feels much easier than a unit pointed towards the rear of the van.
You’ve a choice of a single or twin passenger seat, but be aware that the centre seat (should you opt for it) is for very occasional use only. It’s very narrow and the middle passenger will find themselves in a territorial dispute with the driver's arm operating the gear stick on a constant basis. Thankfully, on models with this seat there is an electronic handbrake fitted, but the seat can be folded down to provide a work surface that can be angled toward the driver or passenger.
There’s plenty of storage, depending on the trim level selected. There are big door pockets, open and closed areas on the dash, a large glovebox and also a handy overhead shelf. There are cup holders on the dash too, one for the driver and another for the passengers to fight over - although they are a little on the small side (but I’m quibbling).
What Engines Are Available With The Toyota Proace City?
The proven and reliable 1.5-litre diesel engine, which has been around for a while now, is offered in 100hp (only on the short model) and 130hp outputs, the 75hp version having been discontinued as customer expectations evolve. A fully-laden Proace City on a long motorway journey felt underpowered with that small engine, so it’s probably a good thing it’s off the menu.
Go for the 130hp unit in Design trim and you can opt for an 8-speed automatic gearbox instead of the standard 6-speed manual box. 0-62mph acceleration times are 11.5 seconds for the 100hp engine and 9.8 seconds with the higher output engine. As with most diesel engines, Adblue is required and the van has a 17-litre tank, which should offer a decent range between top-ups.
What Is The Toyota Proace City Electric’s Powertrain Like?
Toyota also offers the battery-powered Proace City Electric, a van that has already won numerous industry awards. It has a 100kWh (roughly equivalent to 136hp) electric motor powered by a battery pack of the same capacity.
To optimise that range, there are 3 driving modes selectable by a switch in the centre of the dash. The default setting is ‘Normal’ restricting power to 80kW. ‘Eco’ reduces it further to 60kW to extend range at the expense of performance. If you want the full 100kW motor power, you’ll need to switch to the originally-named ‘Power’ mode.
What Is The Toyota Proace City Electric’s Range?
On the official WLTP combined cycle it has a range between charges of 161 miles, and the 0-62mph sprint will take 11.2 seconds.
How Long Does It Take To Charge A Toyota Proace City Electric?
A public charger will get you to 80% of capacity in as little as 30 minutes with the usual 7kWh home wallbox charger taking (a very reasonable) 7 hours. Be aware that if you have access to an 11kWh chargepoint at home or at work, you will need to specify the optional 11kWh onboard charger to take advantage of this. Read our guide on how electric charging stations work for more details.
What Size Is The Toyota Proace City’s Loadspace?
Although it’s classed as a light or ‘small’ van the Proace City is a bit like Dr Who’s Tardis – it’s amazing what you can get into the load bay. It’s accessed by the twin rear doors and the twin side loading doors that come as standard - a real plus in urban operations because you’ll never be forced to unload in the road with traffic passing dangerously close.
Load lengths are 1817mm and 2167mm, respectively, on the short and long models giving a load volume of either 3.3 or 3.9 cubic metres. These dimensions can be increased when the ingenious Smart Cargo system is used, essentially a hatch in the bulkhead allowing for loads as long as 3440mm in the Proace City long and increasing the available load volume by 0.4cu/m.
What Payloads Can The Toyota Proace City Carry?
Payloads are pretty decent for a relatively small van. The diesel-powered Proace City offers around 1000kg depending on bodystyle/engine combination, while the electric van gives 800kg of capacity on the short version or 750kg on the longer body. Need to tow? A braked trailer of up to 1200kg can be pulled on the diesel van, and a useful 750kg of towing capacity is available on the Proace Electric - not something that every electric van can do.
What Trims & Specifications Are Available On The Toyota Proace City?
There are 3 trim levels, although Proace Electric is only offered at the middle Icon level. Proace Active, although the more basic offering, comes with niceties such as air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, electric windows, heated door mirrors and automatic headlights.
Icon grade adds a touch screen multimedia unit incorporating Apple Carplay and Android Auto smartphone integration, front and rear parking sensors, a reverse camera, cruise control and powered door mirrors.
The range-topping Proace Design comes with 16-inch alloy wheels and body-coloured bumpers to make the exterior stand out, and in the cab there’s a full satellite navigation system. The Toyota Safety Sense package including various driver aids and safety tech is also included at this level.
How Efficient Is The Toyota Proace City?
Toyota claims 50.4mpg under WLTP test conditions for both the diesel engines with a manual gearbox, and CO2 emissions range from 145 to 157g/km.
How Long Is The Toyota Proace City’s Warranty?
The company arguably has one of the best warranty offerings on its commercial vehicle range. Although the standard 3 years / 60,000 miles is nothing special, as long as you get the van serviced at a Toyota dealer the warranty will continue for up to 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. The battery pack on the electric van has an 8-year / 100,000-mile guarantee, offering excellent peace of mind for those who choose to drive one.
How Often Does The Toyota Proace City Need Servicing?
Although service intervals are variable depending on your operation, reckon on around 2 years / 25,000 miles between scheduled dealer visits (these are fixed on the Proace City Electric).
The Proace City is a truly excellent van, in fact I can’t think of any aspect that lets it down. Subtle looks, great engines (and a fantastic electric version), plenty of equipment in the cab and a very capable loadspace.
Pitched against its Stellantis counterparts it has a lot going for it, and that 10-year warranty option is exclusive to Toyota. It’s definitely worth putting that factor into the decision making pot.