The first impression: square, practical, good, that's what the manufacturer says: they may not be particularly elite and rarely elegant – but they are successful. "The market for the so-called compact duty vans is growing and growing," says Toyota spokesman Thomas Schalberger, not only attributing this to the boom in Internet commerce. Of the approximately 140,000 new registrations in Germany in this segment, only a good third are in trade, handicraft and trade. The much larger number of small boxes is bought as a car and loads pampers instead of packages.
For Toyota, the ProAce City also increases market coverage. So far, Toyota has only targeted two customers in the light commercial vehicle business: the pick-up HiLux and the VW bus competitor ProAce. With the ProAce City Verso, the manufacturer can now significantly increase the target group again – and without much effort: Because instead of developing the small van itself, the Japanese bought it from the PSA group.
We noticed that the ProAce City can not only carry drinks crates, but, if need be, even load two Euro pallets. In the Verso variant, it is also suitable for use on the family front and cleverly veils its origins from the loading ramp. Sure: the plastics feel a little harder than, for example, in the SUV C-HR, the grain is a little coarser.
Nevertheless, the van doesn't have a brittle charm, but an inviting atmosphere. A roller blind purrs over the shelf in the center console, the seats are comfortably upholstered and are suitable for long days behind the steering wheel, and the high shelf under the headlining looks like ambient lighting with its transparent floor. The handling is also more comfortable than bony and although there is a lot of room for resonance, the diesel is restrained and barely audible, but the biggest strengths of the small van are its space and its variability: wherever off-road vehicles in this league at best have a sliding rear seat, there are three or five individual seats in the Toyota, which in some versions can not only be moved, but can be removed with one hand. So you can adapt the car perfectly to the respective application and vary between legroom and loading space. And because driving with the family is not just about heavy loads, there is also plenty of space for small things: There are more than two dozen shelves in the Verso car variant, which together offer another 186 liters of storage space.
Access to the car is also easy. Just like the SUV, the seats in the Toyota are slightly higher, the backbenchers can also get upright through the sliding doors. And so that you don't have to open the huge tailgate in narrow parking spaces, you can also open the rear window separately and at least load the part of the trunk that lies above the stable intermediate floor . It is available as a panel van for at least 19,635 euros and from 20,300 euros in the family-friendly "Verso" version. Toyota offers the choice between 2.79 and 2.98 meters wheelbase and correspondingly 4.40 or 4.75 meters long and five or seven seats for both variants. For the panel van, the maximum loading volume is 4.3 cubic meters, for the Verso the Japanese report up to 2,693 liters of luggage space.
Under the hood there is a petrol engine with 1.2 liter displacement and 110 hp or a 1.5 liter diesel that is offered with 75, 102 or 130 hp, whereby Toyota only installs the weakest engine in the panel van. With the most powerful diesel, which is even available with a comfortable eight-speed automatic transmission, the driving performance is at the level of a car and you can drive up to 185 km / h. Because of the – well – not aerodynamic shape, however, the consumption then climbs properly and far away from the test bench value, which is a reasonable 4.3 liters. What is more interesting, however, is not what the ProAce City has: a hybrid drive. Because the panel van is purchased from the PSA group and is not much more than a Citroen, Peugeot or Opel with a new logo, the Japanese cannot install their own drive. The car thus becomes one of the few Toyotas that have to do without electrical support, which is why the Japanese – thanks to the good genes of Berlingo, Partner and Combo – have not spared any equipment: There is therefore not only a large touchscreen navigation and all sorts of clever assistants, but even a head-up display – even if only in the inexpensive version with the fold-out plastic pane, we will not forget that: the many small and large shelves in the interior from the high shelf under the panoramic roof to the basement under the seats . If you are forgetful, it takes a long time at the end of the journey until you have your things together again. But it will soon be Easter, at the latest then someone will find the lost cell phone and the front door key.
Icon: The mirror