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New Toyota Proace City Electric van 2022 review

Toyota has joined the fold of small electric vans with its new Proace City Electric

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Verdict

While the Toyota Proace City Electric is just a variation on a formula already seen with Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall's small electric vans, it might have an edge over these three thanks to Toyota's 10-year warranty cover. When there's so little between them in terms of price, spec and performance, this might just swing buyers in Toyota's direction.

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The wave of small electric vans arriving in 2021 has a new arrival in the shape of the Toyota Proace City Electric. If it looks familiar, that's because it's the fourth model in a range that comprises the Citroen e-Berlingo, Peugeot e-Partner and Vauxhall Combo-e. Like those vans, it comes in two lengths, while under the skin is a 50kWh battery that gives the van a range of up to 168 miles on the WLTP test cycle.

So far, so familiar, and the likenesses continue inside, where the Proace City Electric has a cargo area of up to 3.3 cubic metres (it comes in L1 and longer L2 body styles) while the three-seater cab is largely identical to the one found in the e-Berlingo. Toyota has gone for that van's standard layout, rather than the e-Partner's i-Cockpit system of a small steering wheel and high-set dials. In fact, the only difference between the Proace City Electric and the e-Berlingo is Toyota's own graphics for the colour touchscreen.

Under the skin, the Proace City Electric uses the same 50kWh battery as the other vans, a pack that's found throughout the Stellantis range, as well as Toyota's medium-sized Proace Electric van. As well as giving the vehicle a driving range of 168 miles, there's CCS fast-charging capability on board. This allows a charge rate of up to 100kW, and an 80 per cent charge can take as little as half an hour. Toyota also offers the option to upgrade from 7kW Type 2 charging capability to 11kW, so a home charge can take as little as four and a half hours. Bringing up the rear, charging the flat battery from a domestic plug socket takes more than 30 hours.

Start the Proace City Electric, and you get the familiar beep followed by the usual silence when an EV is on. Use the toggle to select drive, and the silence continues as you pull away, and Toyota's small van is relaxing to drive. From start-up, the van defaults to the Normal driving mode. You also have Eco and Power modes that adjust settings as required.

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In Power mode, you get the full 134bhp, and the Proace City Electric positively sprints off the line when unladen. In fact it can feel a little unruly, a bit too manic for such a small van, while the battery range takes a hit, knocking around seven miles off the van's overall range just by selecting Power mode. 

Normal mode with its 108bhp output is more than acceptable in everyday driving. There's just the right amount of throttle response, while selecting 'B' mode via a dashboard button helps plough energy back into the battery when coasting. It's not strong enough for single-pedal driving, but useful nonetheless.

Go for Eco mode, and while it finds another nine miles or so of range, power plummets to 81bhp and throttle response is numb, so you end up trying to accelerate harder to compensate. The climate control is switched off to save energy, too. On the cold day we drove the Proace City Electric, we avoided that setting like the plague.

There are lots of similarities between Toyota's small electric van and its sister models, but the details are where the differences lie. The Proace City Electric is only offered in best-selling Icon trim and in two lengths (there's no Crew Van), while standard kit is pretty generous.

But perhaps the real draw for the Toyota is its customer support. As with the firm's passenger cars, the Proace City Electric is covered by Toyota's 10-year service warranty, which could bring added peace of mind to business users tempted to make the switch to electric. And with a growing network of Toyota Professional dealerships across the country (140 and counting), more people can experience first-hand the company's highly-rated customer service.

Model:Toyota Proace City Electric L1 50kW Icon
Price:£27,713 (ex-VAT, incl £3,000 PiVG)
Powertrain:Single electric motor
Power/Torque:134bhp/260Nm
Transmission:Single-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
0-62mph:11.2 seconds
Top speed:83mph
Range: 168 miles
CO2:0g/km
On sale:Now
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Senior test editor

Dean has been part of the Auto Express team for more than 20 years, and has worked across nearly all departments, starting on magazine production, then moving to road tests and reviews. He's our resident van expert, but covers everything from scooters and motorbikes to supercars and consumer products.

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