Toyota Proace 2.0 L128
What is it?
When Toyota reintroduced the Proace in 2013, it turned out to be not a fresh new cutting-edge Toyota model but, in a deal with PSA Peugeot Citroen, a rebadged Peugeot Expert.
Consequently, there are two wheelbases and standard and high-roof models available.
There are also three engine options – a 1.6 turbo-diesel producing 90hp and a 2.0-litre unit with 126hp or 163hp outputs. The test model was the 126hp 2.0-litre long-wheelbase variant.
- Super sparky engine. This smooth power unit is an absolute joy. It’s willing and able and pulls and pulls with determination bordering on the sporty. Top speed is 106mph and the 0-62mph time is 12.2 seconds. All in all, it’s got plenty of pep for hauling a load yet does at least an official 44mpg.
- Slick six-speed gearbox that compliments that sparky power unit beautifully. Its positioning makes it a joy to use and changing between the ratios is silky smooth.
- Visibility and driving position. It’s not the most roomy of cabs but it is comfortable. It has three seats, but would be cramped for the centre passenger. However, the driving position is first class. There’s plenty of adjustment with variable height and rake settings for the steering column. Visibility is excellent through the large windscreen, making the Proace easy to position in traffic and in narrow streets or cramped load bays.
- ESP is standard. We rate this as very important – it’s a life-saver and while many manufacturers provide it in the safety armoury, Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat make it an extra. By making it a standard fixture, Toyota is ahead on points here.
- Easy load access. Getting to the loadbed is easy via the large 180-degree opening rear doors. What’s more there are large sliding side on both sides as well, so loading and unloading is a piece of cake. Eight tie-downs rings are provided for securing the cargo.
We don’t like…
- Noise levels. While the cab is reasonably comfortable, it’s on the noisy side, especially at A-road speeds. Spending all day in there could prove tiring.
- Pedal position. The cab is also a little cramped and, despite finding a good driving position easily, the pedals are rather close together. I only take a size-eight boot – those with bigger feet might find the footwell annoyingly ‘snug’.
- Ride. With a load on, it’s OK. But unladen, the Proace seemed jiggly on the road and a trifle skittish on tight bends.
- Backing up. We’re all used to reversing vans with no aids other than the door mirrors, but the Proace seemed particularly awkward to back-up. It’s crying out for rear parking sensors as a standard fitting.
- No sat nav. Citroen offers this as standard in its Proace rival, the Dispatch. But the Dispatch doesn’t get the all-important ESP thrown in, so perhaps that evens things out!
Business Vans verdict
The Proace is well built and competent with a great power unit, super-slick gearbox and easy access to a decent loadspace.
It’s doesn’t have the plushest or quietest cab in the world, but it offers a good driving position and decent equipment levels with aircon, Bluetooth connectivity and electrically operated windows as standard fittings.
Add the five-year/100,000-mile warranty to the package and the Proace is well worth a look.
What you need to know
|On the road price ex VAT (as tested):||£20,379|
|Load width (max):||1602mm|
|Load height (max):||1750mm|
|Load capacity:||6 cu m|
|Towing capacity braked/unbraked:||2000kg/750kg|
|Engine:||2.0-litre 4-cyl turbodiesel|