Review: Toyota Proace (2013 – 2016)
Hiace replacement gets twin sliding side doors, well equipped as standard including Bluetooth, very refined and comfortable on the motorway, good driving position.
Based on the Citroen Dispatch and has same fiddly stereo and some below par interior plastics.
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Toyota Proace (2013 – 2016): At A Glance
- On average it achieves 95% of the official MPG figure
Replacing the dependable Hiace, the Proace is Toyota's new medium van and if it looks familiar that's because it's a rebadged version of the Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert. These are two of the best vans around so it makes sense for Toyota to use its this as the base for its new panel van. Toyota, Peugeot and Citroen have worked together before of course, the result being the Aygo, 107 and C1.
The Proace is a neat looking design and there's a good choice of variants with two heights and lengths plus the option of a crew cab van which seats up to six people. The standard length van offers impressive space with a load capacity of 5m3 and eight anchor points set into the floor.
There are three engine options - a 1.6-litre diesel with 90PS and 180Nm of torque or two versions of the excellent 2.0-litre diesel, one with 128PS and the more powerful with 163PS. The 1.6-litre engine has a five-speed manual while the 2.0-litre engines come with a six-speed gearbox. All engines are Euro V compliant.
There's just one specification level in the Proace and it comes with a high level of equipment. Standard features include twin sliding side doors, front fog lights, heated electric door mirrors, electric windows, Bluetooth, central locking and air conditioning.
The cabin is decent quality, although there are a few let downs like the fiddly stereo and some questionable plastics, but overall it's comfortable and feels well screwed together. Features like the height adjustable driver's seat and a steering column that adjusts for both height and reach mean the driving position is spot on. Another reason to choose the Toyota is the fact it comes with a five-year 100,000 mile pan-European warranty as standard.
What does a Toyota Proace (2013 – 2016) cost?
Toyota Proace (2013 – 2016): What's It Like Inside?
Aside from the badge on the steering wheel, the cab of the Proace is identical to the Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert which is a plus and a minus. First the good - the instruments are simple and clear to read, there's a good driving position, the gear lever is well placed and there's plenty of room. It's an easy van to get in and out of too thanks to wide opening doors.
But there are some downsides. There's a lack of useful storage, not helped by shallow door pockets and similarly shallow cup holders on the dash top. There is a little box cubby below the stereo but even with a grippy lining, things tend to fall out when you're driving. There's also no obvious place to keep a clipboard or to store paperwork. That said there is a useful stowage area above your head, good for high vis vests and the like.
One thing that's disappointing is the stereo. Usefully it comes with a USB/aux port so if you want you can plug in your iPod, but the stereo itself has fiddly buttons and looks cheap. The latest Ford Transit Custom puts it to shame in terms of style and ease of use.
However, the Proace has good seats which although flat, are surprisingly supportive for your lower back. Buyers can opt between a single passenger seat or a two person bench and as the handbrake is located to the right of the driver's seat, there's no issue with having a middle seat passenger, although their knees will be tight against the gearlever.
The Proace comes with twin sliding side doors as standard and the rear doors are solid metal, although you can have the option of double glazed panels, complete with a rear wash wipe. The rear doors open to 90 degrees as default and you can flip out the hinges to open them all the way to 180, although there's no locking system so you have to be careful if it's windy. The bulkhead is a ladder-type set-up as standard, with a partition bulkhead with a window in the crew van model. A steel bulkhead with or without a glazed window can be specified as an option.
There are two lengths and two roof heights in the Proace range. The standard length model with the normal roof can carry 5m3, while opting for the high roof increases this to 6m3. The largest long length and high roof model can carry up to 7m3. The payload on all models is 1200kg apart from the 2.0D 128PS L1H1 model where it's 1000kg.
What's the Toyota Proace (2013 – 2016) like to drive?
The Proace may not be a brand new van as such - the Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert it's based on have both been on sale since 2007 - but it doesn't feel its age from behind the wheel. It's core strength is refinement and comfort. There's little road or wind noise at speed, so it's a great van for long distance driving, while the driving position is excellent thanks to height adjustment in the driver's seat and both reach and height adjustment in the steering column.
The precise gear change and nicely weighted clutch make driving the Proace in town easy and undemanding. It has a tight turning circle and quick steering too, so manoeuvring into small space is easy, helped by the large mirrors. Out out town it's equally as good in corners, even when fully laden, with impressive body control. The Proace rides well too and doesn't hop over bumps or speed bumps.
Compared to the competition like the Ford Transit Custom and Volkswagen Transporter - the two best medium vans on the market - the Proace stands up well. It feels a lot smaller than it actually is and has a car-like feel from behind the wheel, so it's a good choice for those who find a large van a bit intimidating to drive.
The engine line up echoes the Dispatch and Expert (the Fiat Scudo is also the same van) with a 1.6-litre diesel and two version of the impressive 2.0-litre diesel engine. The 1.6-litre unit is fine around town with 90PS while the 180Nm of torque means it pulls strongly from low revs. It's a quiet engine too and surprisingly capable at higher speeds, even with a full load on board, happily keeping up with motorway traffic, although you do occasionally find yourself having to work it quite hard.
The 2.0-litre is a better choice as an all rounder and it's actually slightly more economical than the 1.6-litre engine, returning a claimed average of 44.1mpg compared to 42.2mpg, helped by the fact it has a six-speed gearbox rather than a five-speed. There are two versions of this engine - one with 128PS/320Nm and the other with 163PS/340Nm - but both give the same fuel economy and have identical CO2 emissions.
The lower powered 128PS is more than capable enough in the Proace and pulls superbly well, giving it a real turn of pace, especially when empty. It can tow the same weight braked trailer as the 163PS model too so unless you really want outright performance, you're better off sticking to the cheaper 128PS version. It pulls well in every gear, is quiet and refined and never feels underpowered or sluggish.
It's good to see that Toyota has given the Proace vehicle stability control as standard - it's not standard on the identical Citroen or Peugeot models which is poor. It also gets ABS with emergency brake assist and a full size spare wheel.
Real MPG average for a Toyota Proace (2013 – 2016)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their vehicles could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.