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A refined, capable, likeable van. But it’s not actually a Toyota. It’s French

Good stuff

Surprisingly refined and comfy. Big warranty

Bad stuff

No high-roofed version to compete with the Transit and co

Overview

What is it?

It’s the bigger of Toyota’s two van offerings in the UK. Above the dinky Proace City, we have this: the Proace. Toyota doesn’t build as many vans as the likes of Ford or VW, but it punches hard in the commercial vehicle scene in other ways.

It’s got the utterly indestructible Hilux on its team, as well as a van-i-fied version of the Land Cruiser. So, if you need your loft conversion doing in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, you know who to call. 

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What’s special about it?

It’s not a Toyota. Yes, the badges on the grille, the back doors and the steering wheel say Toyota, but this is a textbook piece of badge engineering. In an effort to make a bigger splash in the European van scene. Toyota’s third-generation Proace is in fact a renosed version of the Peugeot Expert and Citroen Dispatch (which is also called the Citroen Jumpy in other parts of the world). 

So, think of this Proace like you would a Toyota Aygo, which shares all the important bits with a Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108. To all intents and purposes, it’s a French van. 

Oh, and the Vauxhall Vivaro. That used to be a Renault underneath, but since Vauxhall boarded the Stellantis mothership, it now uses Peugeot-Citroen bits. So the Toyota has a British-badged twin if you’d prefer. 

So this is eighty-seven reviews rolled into one then?

Pretty much. All these vans have their own radiator grilles, headlights and spec intricacies, but fundamentally they’re all one and the same. 

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Why would I buy the Toyota?

Perhaps because it comes with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Or because Toyota Bespoke LCV Conversions will kit out yours to your own exact specification inside at a Toyota dealer. Or maybe because you just like the way the Proace’s frowning face says ‘I’m here to get on with the job’. 

What versions are there?

Three lengths to sift through first: the Compact, the Medium, and the Long. Easy. There’s a basic Active trim grade, medium-spec Icon and a glitzier Design spec, and you can have a single cab or a double-cab version. Prices kick off at £30,000 and rise through to just over £41,000 for a double-cab long-chassis in Design trim.

Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

Whether you choose the Toyota, or one of its many Frenchglish relatives will likely come down to brand loyalty or the closest dealership

There’s much to recommend the Proace if you don’t need a van that’s all about out-and-out carrying capacity. It practically drips with fitness for purpose, it’s wieldy, unintimidating, and easy to drive.

Whether you choose the Toyota, or one of its many Frenchglish relatives will likely come down to brand loyalty or the closest dealership, but that only serves to demonstrate you pretty much can’t go wrong.

The Rivals

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