MOTORS REVIEW: Toyota Proace

By Tom Sharpe | 07/05/2019

MOTORS REVIEW: Toyota Proace

THE all-new Proace City, a highly capable and attractive new compact van range that will further strengthen Toyota’s European light commercial vehicle line-up, will make its world debut at the 2019 Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham on April 30.

Developed in collaboration with Groupe PSA, Proace City will join the established Proace medium duty van, and the legendary Hilux pick-up in building Toyota’s LCV market presence, competing in segment that’s enjoying steady growth and is on course to achieve around 900,000 sales in Europe by 2021.

The new van provides a perfect fit with the Proace range in terms of size and payloads.

Launched in 2016, Proace is approaching a five per cent share of the medium duty van market and is set to record around 30,000 sales in Europe in 2019.

The Proace City range meets a wide range of business needs, with different loading and seating configurations and powertrain options.

The compact van is presented in two different lengths - short at 4.4m and long at 4.7m. Both can be specified with three front seats, and as panel or glass vans; the long version is also available as a crew cab.

The passenger version is offered with five or seven seats both in the short and long version.

The dimensions and packaging give Proace City excellent load capacity, with maximum volume from 3.3m3 (short model) to 4.3m3 (long version with Smart Cargo option).

Notably the Toyota is one of few vehicles in its class that can accommodate two Euro paletts.

Adding the Smart Cargo system option gives best-in-class load length capability of 3.1m for the short version and 3.4m for the long, while the maximum payload is another class-best figure at one tonne (both versions).

For those who need to carry even greater or heavier loads, the van can tow braked trailers up to 1.5 tonnes.

Asymmetrical rear doors (glazed or unglazed) or a tophinged tailgate can be specified.

Proace City will be available with a range of petrol and diesel powertrains offering a power spread from 75 to 130 DIN hp, and a choice of five or sixspeed manual or eight-speed automatic transmissions.

Proace City can be specified with interior configurations to cater for different passenger and loadcarrying requirements.

The van is available with either two individual front seats or a three-seat bench, the latter additionally offering a Smart Cargo option, like that seen on the larger Proace model.

The Smart Cargo system uses a folding outer passenger seat and a hatch in the bulkhead to provide an extra 0.4 m3 of load space and to increase maximum load length by 1.3 m; the centre passenger seatback can be rotated to create a handy desk space, with additional under-seat storage.

In the crew cab version, when the second row seats are not being used, the bench can be folded flat and the bulkhead moved forwards to increase load space.

A hatch in the bulkhead can be opened to carry longer loads.

Capacious storage points are featured throughout the cabin (according to model), ranging from coin and cup holders and open stowage areas, to an underseat drawer and spaces designed into the roof, doors and floor.

In the passenger version, a panoramic roof option can specified with aircraftstyle overhead storage in a locker and a central floating - arch structure that have a combined 74-litre capacity, accessible from the second row seats and the boot.

Access to the boot is made easy when parked in confined spaces, thanks to an opening window in the tailgate.

The Proace City Verso offers flexible passenger accommodation, with the option of three individual seats or a 60:40 split-folding bench in the second row.

A third row can be added to both the long and short body versions, with seats large enough and with slide-adjustment to accommodate adults in comfort.

When three separate second row seats are specified, each one has Isofix child seat mounts - another unique-in-class feature.

All passenger seats fold flat, including the front seat, to maximise load capacity and convenience.

The Proace City benefits from equipment specifications that include a series of features, delivering enhanced safety, a comfortable driving environment and improved performance and practicality, both in van and Verso passenger vehicle versions.

The safety features provide high levels of active safety, meeting customer requirements in three different packs.

As standard, these include a Pre-Collision System, Road Sign Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Cruise Control and a coffee cup warning that recommends the driver takes a break if they have spent a long time at the wheel.

The content is increased in as second pack with Automatic High Beam, Sway Warning and an extended Road Sign Assist system, while the most comprehensive package further adds Adaptive Cruise Control and a Blind Spot Monitor.

All models also come with eCall for automatic connection with the emergency services in the event of a serious accident.

Where multimedia and connectivity are concerned, Proace City is equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen to access audio and smartphone functions, with MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay (including Siri assistant) and Android Auto (including Google assistant), plus Bluetooth, and USB/Aux-in connections.
 
It can be used with navigation and online functions, including 3D mapping, voice command recognition and connected traffic information (via Tomtom Traffic).

Proace City also offers a head-up display, presenting key driving information, such as navigation, speed limits and safety functions comfortably and clearly in the driver’s forward sightline.

Safety and ease of manoeuvring are supported by a rearview camera that provides both a 180-degree and overhead dynamic images of the area behind the vehicle, and a static view covering an even wider (180-degreeplus) area.

A Blind Spot Monitor warns the driver of other road users moving in their blind spot with an alert in the display audio screen.

A higher level of driver support is provided by Smart Active Vision.

This uses two dedicated cameras and a ceilingmounted five-inch screen to relay a clear, real-time view behind and alongside the vehicle.

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