Need to haul stuff or people but don't need the bulk of a wide body van? Toyota, it seems, has a solution for that. Meet the all-new Proace City, essentially the Hiace's baby brother. And we mean baby brother.
Measuring in at just 4.7 meters long, it's just a little bit bigger than a Corolla Altis. There's even a short-wheelbase version at just 4.4 meters, making it about as small as a Vios. But, as they say, it's not the size, it's how you use it.
In the short version, there's up to 3.3 cubic meters of space inside it. Opt for the long-wheelbase variant and that shoots up to 4.3 cubic meters, which should be good enough for small businesses. Aside from the two wheelbase lengths, there are also two variants of the Proace, namely the standard City and the Verso.
Think of the City variant as the Commuter with its more utilitarian purpose. There are also various seating configurations available, depending on what the customer needs. In this version, the floors and sidings it's a mix of rubber and cargo, which should make cleanup that bit easier. The swing-out rear doors are strictly for the Proace City.
As for the Verso, that's more like the GL Grandia version of the Proace City. There are a bit more creature comforts available inside and the floor has carpeting. The interior is livelier too, with a two-tone color scheme. And, unlike the City, the Verso comes with windows, bringing in light for its occupants. Aside from that, the Verso comes standard with a lift-up tailgate, instead of the swing-out ones in the City. It looks more upmarket on the outside too, with larger alloy wheels, metallic paint, and a bit more chrome trimmings. Sliding doors are standard on both.
Powering this mini-Hiace is a range of gas and turbodiesel engines. Toyota has not announced the full range just yet, but they did say power ranges from 75 PS, all the way to 130 PS. Transmission choices on the other hand consist of a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. For those curious, payload capacity is rated up to 1,000 kilograms, just like a pickup truck.
As practical as the small van is for tight streets, it is unlikely we'll ever see the Proace City being introduced here. With the Avanza and the Rush in the small MPV/SUV class, the Proace would simply overlap those two products. At the same time, the Proace is a product of the Toyota-Peugeot collaboration, and none so far have made it out of Europe.
But that said, it would have been an interesting addition to the local range as the Proace City appears to have small businesses in mind with its design.