Toyota Proace Review logo

Toyota Proace Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2016
      Body type
      Van
      Fuel type
      Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Easy driving with strong warranty

Best bits

  • Excellent payload
  • Strong engine range
  • Good levels of standard kit

Not so great

  • Limited body shapes available
  • Compromised driving position
  • Interior not the best in class

Read by

Toyota Proace Front Side View

Overall verdict

Toyota Proace Front Interior

On the inside

Toyota Proace Right Side View

Driving

Toyota Proace Inside Van

How much does it cost to run

Toyota Proace Built-in Sat Nav

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Toyota Proace has a lot of the attributes that will appeal to those looking for a medium van with all-round ability. It’s cheap to run, a comfortable drive and has the ability to carry up to 1400kg."

Toyota Proace Front Side View

If it looks familiar to other models on the market then that’s because it was co-developed with Peugeot and Citroen so is much the same as the Expert and Dispatch vans. As the PSA Group (Peugeot and Citroen’s parent company) has taken over Vauxhall you can add the Vivaro to this list as of 2019.


The Toyota might be much the same in its design and engine offering but has one ace up its sleeve versus its siblings, though, as it offers a longer warranty than the others – it has five-year/100,000-mile cover as standard where the others only have three years’ cover.


There are three sizes of Proace, which are based on two different lengths, while you can also get a crew van and a people carrier version with seating for up to nine. As well as that impressive payload capacity – every version carries at least a tonne and up to 1.4-tonnes – it can tow up to 2.5 tonnes.


Getting into the loading bay is simple thanks to the sliding doors on either side, which come as standard on every model and are wide enough to slot a Euro pallet through. You also get a pair of doors on the rear that open out to a maximum of 250 degrees to fold flat against the side of the van.


You can get up to three Euro pallets into the back of a Proace on the medium and long versions, while the compact will take two. All of them have a decent 1636mm cargo width. Like the other vans on which the Proace is based, there is an opening bulkhead that increases the load length. This takes it up to 4026mm – an increase of 1.16m – on the long version. 


The engine range was updated to match up to the latest Euro emissions requirements in 2019, which meant the introduction of a new 1.5-litre diesel engine and slight tweaks to the existing 2.0-litre diesels. There are four options overall, with a 100PS and 120PS version of the 1.5-litre and a 120PS and 180PS version of the 2.0-litre diesel.


The most efficient of the lot is the more powerful 1.5-litre diesel, with fuel economy of up to 44.8mpg, although all the versions can manage up to and over 38mpg. That 1.5-litre engine is the sweet spot of the range, given it boasts a handy amount of torque for carrying around heavy loads in addition to that economy. It’s also quieter than the 1.6-litre engines that it replaced.


There are three trim levels in the Proace range, which mirror Toyota’s other models – it comes in Active, Icon and Design specification. All versions get DAB radio, Bluetooth, a full steel bulkhead, cruise control and seating for three across the front bench. You have to step up to the higher trims to get air conditioning and an alarm.


On the road the Proace drives remarkably like a car for a van its size, with a smooth ride and a decent steering setup. It only comes in one height, which means that it should have no problem getting into low spots around town. The cabin could be better, though, as it has a slightly offset driving position and the seat doesn’t slide back as far as some taller drivers would like.


The Proace doesn’t feel quite as well screwed together in the cabin as the likes of rivals such as the Volkswagen Transporter and the Ford Transit Custom, but it has some very strong attributes in its favour that will mean many will be happy to look past its flaws.


If you're looking for the passenger version, you need our Toyota Proace Verso (2016-) review.


Is the Toyota Proace right for you?

The Toyota Proace’s plus points are very strong ones, with an excellent payload potential, fantastic towing ability and frugal engines. It will tick a lot of boxes, particularly for those who like to choose their vehicles based on the numbers above all else.


Although the direct equivalents at Peugeot and Citroen might come with a slightly lower headline purchase price, the Proace offers more kit as standard so you don’t have to muck around with options lists. Some of these extras are safety-based, too, which is particularly welcome as these are options boxes are ones that are less likely to be ticked.


The single height will be a boost to anyone who conducts a lot of their business in town. At around 1.9m tall, it will fit under the majority of urban restrictions with space to spare.


What's the best Toyota Proace model/engine to choose?

The decent level of standard kit on the Proace means you don’t have to go too high up the range to get a well-equipped van. The fact that you get twin airbags on the basic model is proof of this, and for many this version will do the job just fine. 


The lack of air conditioning is a shame, but Toyota does a good option that offers this and the Smart Cargo system that lets you load long items through into the front of the cab. At a few hundred pounds it is cheaper than upgrading to the mid-level trim if you don’t want all the other kit. That it does include more seat adjustment, though, so if you plan on doing long miles and are prone to a bad back then it is worth considering.


The 1.5-litre is a decent engine, but the 2.0-litre 120PS engine is the one that gets the big payload, which will be the reason for choosing the Proace for many. This version can carry up to 1400kg so is the one to go for.


What other vans are similar to the Toyota Proace?

The Citroen Dispatch, Peugeot Expert and Vauxhall Vivaro (as of 2019) are all very similar to the Proace – near identical in fact. This is because they are all essentially the same co-developed van, so if you fancy the Proace package but with a slight tweak from a different brand then they are the ones to look at.


The other main contenders in the medium van class include the best-selling Ford Transit Custom and the Volkswagen Transporter. Both of these have more than one height, as does the Renault Trafic and Fiat Talento.


Learn more

Toyota Proace Front Interior

On the inside

Toyota Proace Right Side View

Driving

Toyota Proace Inside Van

How much does it cost to run

Toyota Proace Built-in Sat Nav

Prices, versions and specification

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