Toyota Professional claims the launch of its Proace City compact van this month will result in the brand having a presence in 80% of the LCV market.
The Proace City has been developed in collaboration with the PSA Group and is based on the same platform as the Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo.
With its current line-up of the Proace medium van, which is also built on a PSA platform, Hilux pick-up and Land Cruiser Utility Commercial, which operates in the niche 4x4 segment, Toyota is competing in less than 40% of the LCV market.
In the UK the Proace City will be offered in two lengths and with two 1.5-litre diesel engines with outputs of 75hp or 100hp. Both these powertrains come with five-speed manual gearboxes and stop/start.
For now at least, Toyota has opted not to offer the more powerful 130hp 1.5 unit that is available in the PSA vans with six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmissions.
The Proace City comes in a five-model line-up with two equipment grades. Toyota claims this reflects “a targeted offering that focuses on simplicity” and one that aims to mirror that of the larger Proace van.
Both the entry-level Active versions are short-wheelbase with the 75hp van priced from £18,386 (all prices exclude VAT) and the 100hp priced £19,011.
A generous-looking standard features list includes aircon, automatic headlights, heated, power-adjustable door mirrors, one-touch power windows, twin sliding side doors, 180° opening rear doors, DAB radio with USB and Bluetooth, a full-size spare wheel, rubber-lined load bay, and a full-metal bulkhead.
The Icon grade, which is expected to take 70% of sales, is priced from £20,386 for the 75hp short, £21,011 for the 100hp short, and £21,636 for the 100hp long.
Additional standard features include a multimedia system with 8in touchscreen, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the Smart Cargo load-through system, three front seats, automatic wipers, electronic parking brake, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, power-folding door mirrors, cruise control with speed-limiter, front fog lights, and cornering lights.
Driven here is the Proace City Icon Short with the 100hp drivetrain. Its workhorse credentials are impressive: the 1.0t payload matches the best in class, such as the PSA trio that share its underpinnings and also the Fiat Professional Doblo Cargo. If you need to maximise its weight capacity you would be advised to opt for the 100hp engine over the 75hp unit, but be aware that Toyota is not offering the Overload Indicator, that the Berlingo and Partner get, as an option to guard against exceeding the limit. The 1.5t towing capacity of the 100hp Proace City also matches the best-in-class.
The Icon comes with a driver’s seat and two-seat front bench that accommodates the Smart Cargo system. This employs a folding outer passenger seat and a hatch in the bulkhead to provide an extra 0.4m3 load space and to increase load length by 1.3m to make it easier to carry items such as pipes or ladders.
The middle passenger seat back folds down to make a desktop. This is arguably more useful than the middle seat itself, which offers little legroom despite an electric parking brake freeing up some more space. On the other hand, there is no lack of storage space in the cab: 16 storage points, according to Toyota, including a 15-litre space in the centre console.
An optional safety pack on the Icon adds pre-collision alert, road sign assist, lane-departure alert, and a coffee cup alert that advises the driver to take a break if they’ve spent a long time at the wheel.
Payloads across the Proace City line-up range from 650kg to 1,000kg, with load volumes 3.3m3 in short and 3.9m3 in long mode.
Five body lengths are available across the Proace City and Proace medium van ranges, and Toyota Professional’s UK boss Gareth Matthews claims this offers customers a comprehensive choice without any crossover in loading capacities between models.
While the Proace City Long measures 4.7m compared to the 4.6m length of the Proace Short, for example, the Proace Short has a bigger load volume of 4.6m3 and a higher payload of 1,400kg.
The Proace City comes with a five-year warranty and five-year roadside assistance, and Matthews claims it will deliver higher residual values than not only its PSA siblings, the Berlingo, Partner and Combo, but also the Volkswagen Caddy.
He says the Proace takes a 1% share of the medium van market and expects the Proace City to do the same in the light van sector.
The 100hp Proace City is engaging to drive with perky performance and a slick gear box, although you notice the lack of a sixth gear on motorways where the 130hp engine would also provide a boost, so it would not be a surprise if Toyota decides to add these options to the range at a later date.
Toyota Professional Proace City Icon 100hp Short
Price (ex VAT) £21,011
Price range (ex VAT) £18,386-£21,636
Insurance group 34E (est.)
Service intervals 25,000mls
Load length 1,817mm
Load width (min/max) 1,229/1,527mm
Load bay height 1,200mm
Gross payload 1,000kg
Load volume 3.3m3
Engine size/power 1,499cc/100hp
Combined fuel economy 51.4mpg WLTP (est.)
CO2 145g/km WLTP (est.)
The Proace City is a refined, competent van, although engine and transmission options are limited