The much-garlanded Toyota Proace has taken up residence with our long-term fleet.
The current holder of the Highly Commended status in the medium van category, second only to the Ford Transit Connect, the Proace has previously been considered by us to be the best medium van in the 2018 Awards, and the best LCV of all a year before that.
Sharing both a platform and those awards with its Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert counterparts, the Proace will form part of the What Van? long-term team until the middle of the summer.
Our test vehicle is of medium length – compact and long versions are also available – and features the only roof height that Toyota has to offer.
Power comes courtesy of a 180hp 2.0-litre Euro6 diesel engine – the most powerful one in the line-up – with a top speed of 105mph and a 0-62mph time of 10 seconds. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Standard equipment on the top Design specification, meanwhile, includes stop-start, electric windows, digital radio, head-up display, satellite navigation, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry, 17in alloy wheels, and three front seats. The only option selected is the Ember Orange metallic paint, which adds £545 to the retail price.
My early thoughts on the vehicle include being impressed by the seeming effortlessness with which it goes about its business – everything from how the Proace drives to the layout of the dashboard comes across as being designed to make modern light commercial life as uncomplicated as possible.
However, doing simplicity well is difficult. We will see over the next six months whether this award-winning Toyota van can maintain what is a promising start.
Report Card: Reputation = 4/5
Loses a mark only because we don’t currently consider it to be the leading LCV in its sector.
Toyota Proace Design Medium 2.0 Auto
Official combined consumption 49.6mpg
Our average consumption n/a
Price (ex VAT) £29,036
Price range (ex VAT) £19,128-£31,078
Service intervals 1yr/10,000mls
Load length 2,512/3,674mm*
Load width (min/max) 1,258/1,628mm
Load bay height 1,397mm
Gross payload 1,400kg
Load volume 5.3m3/5.8m3*
Engine size/power 1,997cc/180hp
Gearbox 6-spd auto
*Including Smart Cargo system