Toyota Brings #Vanlife to European Campers with Proace Models
New vans mix modern technology and design with throwback sensibilities.
At last week’s International Caravanning Show—held in Barcelona, Spain— Toyota Proace revealed two camper vans made specifically for the European market. The new Camper and Minicamper models are built on the frames of modern vans and include plenty of onboard amenities, while embracing a retro style of camping from a bygone era.
The new camper vans are available with either 1.5-liter or 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder diesel engines, along with a choice of a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive isn’t an option on either model, limiting their ability to access remote campsites. But the front-wheel drive system should be more than adequate for use on roads and for light trail duty.
Starting life as either a Proace Verso or Proace City van built by Toyota, the vehicles are then modified into campers by a Spanish outfitter called Tinkervan. That process begins by removing the stock roof and installing one that can accommodate a pop-up tent. An awning can be added as well. Rotating seats, a refrigerator, and modular kitchen—complete with sink and a single-burner stove—are part of the upgrade package for the larger Proace Verso. The Proace City-based Minicamper is a bit smaller and doesn’t include the sink.
In addition to the rooftop tent, which is accessed by a ladder outside the van, the interior cabin includes a modular bed. This allows both vans to comfortably sleep up to four people, with room to spare for luggage and other camping supplies.
Toyota is marketing these camper vans as vehicles that you can serve as a daily driver as well as an outdoor adventure vehicle. The diesel engines are efficient enough for commuting during the week, while the interior modifications make transitioning to the campsite a breeze. This harkens back to a time when auto manufacturers like Volkswagen and Chevy routinely made similar vans for a mainstream audience, opening up weekend camping trips to the masses.
In Spain, the Camper and Minicamper are sold by both Toyota and Tinkervan, but sadly there are no plans to bring them to the U.S. That’s a shame considering the growing popularity of camping right now. Especially since these vans are priced at $42,600 and $31,945 respectively.