What is it like on the inside?
Sure, we could be pedantic and point out all the Peugeotroen switchgear, but why bother. This is a solidly built and well-finished cabin that presents a much less Franco-flimsy façade than the anti-Gallic mob would have you believe.
And as car interior design gets steadily more and more pretentious and overcomplicated, there’s something deeply refreshing about getting into a van with physical dials, no touch-sensitive steering wheel switchgear, a modest touchscreen and plenty of open stowage. It’s an interior designed to be useful, not designed to be a design object. Imagine if that caught on.
Is it roomy for people?
Those very burly in the shoulder department might find the narrower profile of the Proace just a touch limiting especially with a middle passenger riding shotgun, but on the whole this is a comfortable cabin in which to spend the working day. Though, it did seem impossible to shut the doors first time without a proper SLAM. Perhaps a quirk of our brand-new test sample, which has only covered a handful of miles.
What about room for stuff?
The all-important cargo bay is accessed via twin sliding doors to the side (1,282mm of maximum ingress, which will swallow a standard Euro pallet) and either double doors to the rear. These swing open 180 degrees for ultimate access.
The heartland Medium version as tested here offers 5.3 square metres of floorspace, but the SmartCargo system can expand this by folding the front passenger seat upwards to utilise floorspace in the cabin, or opening a door in the bulkhead to through-load long timber, or a ladder.
SmartCargo was an optional extra right up until summer 2021, so if you’re shopping second-hand, look out for vans made before August which might not have the box ticked.
No, it’s not the biggest van you can get for the money, and the lack of a high-roof variant will scratch the Proace and its cousins off the shopping list for some businesses, but for others its modest size will be a boon and it’s certainly a less troublesome lump to park than the other midsize panel vans in this class.
Even so, 1,400kg of maximum cargo still looks like plenty, while towing capacity is up to 2,500kg, so long as your trailer has brakes.