Toyota were a little late to the party with the launch in early 2020 of their latest small van the Proace City. Like it’s larger sibling the Proace, the Proace City is virtually identical to the Citroen Berlingo Van, Peugeot Partner & Vauxhall Combo Cargo, being built on the same PSA Group platform. But, Toyota have decided to offer slightly different specs & equipment on their van than is available with the others, with the Proace City entry model better equipped at entry level, as they target small businesses & SME’s.
First & foremost, the Proace City is offered in two body lengths L1 & L2 & comes with cargo volumes of 3.3 & 3.9 cubic metres, with a single roof height. And, there are two trims as well, Active & Icon.
Two engines are offered, both PSA 1.5 diesels, with either 75bhp or 100bhp & a 5-speed manual gearbox. There’s no auto version, nor are Toyota offering the largest 130bhp PSA engine either. And there’s a caveat, in that the L2 van is only available in top-spec Icon trim.
To be different, Toyota are offering twin-sliding side doors on both L1 & L2, whilst only the L2 versions of the Citroen, Peugeot & Vauxhall offer this, so that’s good news. Also standard on the range, is a full steel bulkhead & if you order the entry level Active, you can add the twin passenger seat option, which includes the through load fold down back, perfect for longer items.
Standard kit is impressive too, with air-con, a USB socket & Bluetooth on Active. We were testing the L1 Icon & this adds an excellent 8″ touchscreen, with connected Apps for Apple Car Lay & Android Auto, front & rear parking sensors, a red view camera, cruise control, a second USB, DAB & daytime running lights.
Both models feature excellent safety kit. Active comes with driver & passenger airbags, an option on it’s PSA siblings, curtain airbags, hill start, downhill assist, stability control & brakeforce distribution. Icons adds a speed limiter, tyre pressure monitors & a supplemental restraint system (SRS) on the 2 airbags.
Only Icon models can be fitted with an alarm with motion and tamper sensors, while the Toyota Safety Sense system, which adds road sign assist, lane departure warning & tiredness alert is also only offered on Icon variants too.
Service intervals are 25,000 miles or two years. Both models feature a 50 litre fuel tank & a 17 litre AdBlue tank. Proace City benefits from Toyota’s five-year/100,000-mile warranty, whilst the PSA Group versions only get three years of cover, albeit with the same 100,000-mile limit.
We were testing the Icon SWB powered by the larger 100 bhp engine. Top speed is 107 mph, with 0-62 mph reached in 11.5 seconds. CO2 emissions are 151g/km with combined fuel economy on the WLTP cycle between 46.31 & 50.44 MPG.
As we have stated before, van cabs are now very car-like & this is definitely the case with the Proace City. The fixtures & fittings will be familiar to Vauxhall, Citroen & Peugeot customers. The instrumentation is clear & concise & the large centre dash mounted touchscreen is a real highlight. Importantly for a van, it’s all easy to reach from the drivers seat.
The seating position is high, while the compact, flat-bottomed steering wheel allows for easier access to the cabin. There’s good storage space too, with two glove boxes & two large door pockets, plus an above the head body wide shelf on our Icon model. Three occupants can also sit abreast in the front of the Combo Cargo although the centre front passenger will find leg room tight.
The build quality is excellent, with plenty of soft touch plastics on the front & top of the dashboard. Even the glove box lid & door pockets are solid & built to last. The seat fabric feels hard wearing, with the floor covering designed to take some punishment from booted feet. There’s also a handy electric handbrake & the gear stick sits at a good height for gear changes.
For load access, the twin rear doors open 180 degrees if required & both side sliding door open & closes with a reassuring clunk. I’m not a tradesperson, but always try to use a van for purpose when I test one & the Proace City was no different. A visit to Selco to buy some wood to make shed shelving allowed me to load in four pieces of MDF & two 2.4 m lengths of wood via the opening seat hatch.
We travelled over 200 miles in our week in the Proace City, driving on a mix of motorway, dual-carriageway & urban roads & never found it anything less than comfortable. Thanks to the steel bulkhead, the cabin is quiet. The infotainment system works extremely well. We connected an iPhone vis the USB, to utilise AppleCar Play & made a couple of handsfree calls without needing to shout. This also allowed us into Google Maps.
On the motorway, the addition of cruise control allows the driver to sit back & relax & in town, the five-speed gearbox is well set for slow traffic driving. Driving 212 miles, we averaged a shade over 49mpg.
The 100bhp model worked just fine with small loads & a single occupant, offering plenty of torque in low revs & decent motorway progress. The 75bhp version though, might feel a little underpowered especially with two passengers on board.
Although the entry level Proace City is slightly more expensive than the equivalent Berlingo Van, Partner & Combo Cargo, the City is better specced. It also comes with twin sliding side doors & you do get a better 5 year/10,000 mile warranty, so these factors need to be taken into account.
Like it’s PSA counterparts, the Proace City hasn’t got many faults. The only one we could find was the less than accurate air-con, which is too cold at 19 degrees & too warm at 20 degrees. But this really is a minor quibble. The Proace City come’s highly recommended.
Fun in the City 4/5