Toyota Proace City is amongst safest, roomiest, fuel efficient vans
The booming compact LCV segment gains yet another competitor: the Toyota Proace City. That it holds a strong resemblance to the Citroën Berlingo/Peugeot Partner/Opel Combo is no coincidence: this Toyota is built by PSA and only really distinguishes itself from the French triplets by its badge and slightly modified front.
The compact van is available as a short (4.4m) or a long model (4.7m), which 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 Proace city is one of few vehicles in its class that can accommodate two Europalettes. Adding the option system Smart Cargo gives best-in-class load length capability of 3.1m for the short version and 3.4m for the long one. 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 1.3m.
Power comes from a range of frugal petrol and diesel engines with a power spread from 75 to 130hp and a choice of five or six-speed manual or even an eight-speed automatic transmission. The latter makes the Toyota even more attractive for stop-and-go delivery jobs in the city. Its cousin, the Citroën Berlingo, emits just 114g/km CO2 with its 130hp 1.5HDi engine when mated to the so-called EAT8.
An interesting feature in terms of driver support is a thing called Smart Active Vision. Two dedicated cameras relay clear, real-time images to a ceiling-mounted 5" screen to the driver can see "through" the metal panels and be aware of what is happening behind and alongside the vehicle. A long-distance rear view can be selected when moving or stationary, or a short-distance view when reversing.
The all-new Proace City makes its world debut at the 2019 Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham, UK, on 30 April, and will be available in 2020. An all-electric model may be in the making - PSA has announced it will launch a battery-electric version of the Peugeot Partner and Citroën Berlingo in the coming years.