Toyota Proace Camper (2014–2016)

Last updated 28 July 2017

With the Volkswagen California well established as one of the best camper vans around - and newcomers like the Ford Transit Custom-based Wellhouse Terrier and Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo snapping at its heels, the Proace camper has some stiff competition.

So how does it fair? Well it is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine with 128PS - an engine you can find in the standard Proace panel van along with its Citroen, Peugeot and Fiat counterparts. Thanks to 320Nm of torque, the Proace is lively in every gear, offering sufficient pull in fifth gear from about 40mph while happily sitting at 70mph in sixth.

Fuel economy isn't so good though. Toyota claims an official fuel consumption figure of 44.1mpg for the 2.0-litre Euro5-compliant diesel in the Proace panel van, however the extra weight of the fixtures and fittings in the camper means you'll be lucky to see 30mpg.

On the plus side, the gear changes are precise plus there is a subtle gear-shift indictor on the dash which lights up when it’s economically sensible to change up. However, unlike the Peugeot Expert and Citroen Dispatch, the Proace is not offered with the option of an automatic gearbox.

With the vast swathes of black hard plastics, there’s no hiding this is not the newest van around. While it may be new to Toyota, the design is starting to feel its age, having changed very little since its launch. The instruments are well laid out however and the Bluetooth sound system has a USB port. Furthermore, the driver can operate it with a steering wheel-mounted control.

The driver’s seat is firm, supportive and comfortable, although taller passengers will discover that the the seatbelt doesn't fit across the top of the shoulder as it isn’t mounted high enough. Disappointingly, both seats also lack an armrest but the steering does adjust for both height and reach.

The steering offers a responsive feel and is further enhanced with Toyota’s electronic stability control system VSC, fitted as standard. Saying that it's far from car-like comfort and driving. As well as various rattles and speaks, quite a lot of road and engine noise perforates into the cab, particularly at high speeds. Poor damping means bumps can cause a disturbance in the cabin.

On the upside, there is little body roll going into the corners and the disc brakes provide adequate braking capability.

There is plenty of storage space in the cab, including deep bins on the top of the dash, handy overhead shelves and a lockable glove compartment. The doors contain adequate space for small water bottles as well as a narrower section for stashing other items, but there is no proper holder for a cup of tea or coffee.

Other grievances are that the Proace Camper doesn’t come with Toyota’s Touch & Go navigation system, cruise control or a parking sensor, which makes reversing into tight spaces really tricky with rearward visibility obscured by a large vertical storage unit.

 

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