In Europe, joint ventures in the van sector is not new. Fiat/Peugeot share the Sevel factory, producing the Ducato and the Relay vans. Renault/Vauxhall and Opel have the Vivaro/Traffic joint venture. Additionally for Fiat, they produce a small van for Vauxhall and Renault have a tie up with Mercedes-Benz to produce the Citan/Kangoo, that also involves Fiat. Mercedes-Benz has for many years had a tie up with VW on the Crafter/Sprinter joint venture.
It is therefore no major surprise when a the European Japanese manufacturer Toyota does a joint venture with Peugeot/Citroen to produce the Proace for them in Europe.
Running with Toyota engines and gearboxes, the Proace is going to be reliable and trusted. The latest generation Toyota diesels are economical and strong. We drove the 126 bhp 2.0, the middle of the three and its left us impressed.
As expected the engine is strong, quiet and if the computer is anything like accurate, we averaged over 40 mpg today. Like most modern van, the drive is car like to say the least. Toyota gearboxes are among the very best and this is no exception. Any delivery van is going to change gear thousands of times in its lifetime with any driver being grateful for this great unit.
The driving position and seats of the Ducato/Dispatch have been just right for two generations and this van is no exception. The seats can be moved in any direction to get a position your enjoy and the wheel adjust up and down. Visibility is excellent, the mirrors are heated and remotely control and many years of development has got them just right.
Standard kit includes ESP, Air-con, twin airbags and Bluetooth. Absolutely in my opinion the right spec. Toyota have planned this van to work and have included sliding doors on both sides and wide opening rear doors with tie downs in just the right places.
With a wide network of dealers, all van servicing centres, Toyota have left the best till last. This van will come standard with a 5 year and 100,000 mile warranty. Normally long warranties are targeted and improving the negative view of a product, with a Toyota it’s just a nice extra.