Nissan NV200 Combi

Date: Thursday, March 25, 2010

Crew cab vans, or Combis, seem to be gaining in popularity thanks largely to their versatility. The majority of manufacturers offer five-seater versions of both their panel vans and their light vans and the latest to join the fray is Nissan with its NV200.

 

Launched last year to much acclaim the NV200 is a bit of an oddity when it comes to putting it in a category. It has the looks and styling of a downsized panel van with the footprint of a short-wheelbase light van, but at 4.2m3 and a 752kg payload the capabilities of a long-wheelbase one.

It is no surprise therefore that Nissan is now offering it as a five or seven-seater Combi. In essence a compact people-carrier.

As with the van versions, power comes from a 1.5-litre turbodiesel producing 85hp — a 110hp option is in the pipeline — and developing peak torque of 200Nm. Drive is to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox.

A compact suspension system employing wide single-leaf springs is fitted at the rear while the front suspension set-up includes MacPherson struts, springs, dampers and an anti-roll bar. Disc brakes are fitted at the front, drums at the back, and ABS, Brake Assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution come as standard. Electric power-assisted steering is fitted offering a commendably tight 10.6m turning circle kerb-to-kerb and 11.1m wall-to-wall.

 

In standard trim NV200 Combi includes a second row of seats, split 60/40, which can be folded forwards to extend the load length when necessary and provide 3.1m3 of load space. Twin sliding side doors are fitted as standard.

Three specification levels are offered; S, SE and SE Plus. All Combis come with driver and passenger airbags, remote central locking, electric windows and door mirrors, and a radio/CD player with an Aux input socket.

Move up to SE and it adds air conditioning, reversing camera, front fog lamps, heated door mirrors and alloy wheels to the mix. Top-of-the-range SE Plus also includes side airbags and ESP. All models bar S spec can be specified with two additional rear seats that can be folded away and stowed against the sidewalls.

 

On the Road

The relatively high driving position gives good vision of the road ahead and the large door mirrors combined with a tight turning circle make it easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces. Add the reversing camera to the equation and life becomes very simple.

The engine is up to the job for around town work and the only thing that lets NV200 down a little is the ride. For some reason, and we suspect it’s to minimise the rear loading height, it sits on dinky 14in wheels. Not great for tackling the UK’s crumbling road network.

Nissan seems to be marketing NV200 Combi primarily as a people-carrier rather than a five-seater van. We say this because there is side glass behind the B-pillars which means that the VAT cannot be recovered. This situation may change, however, so watch this space.

Verdict

The NV200 Combi is a well specified compact people-shifter, but Nissan needs to get rid of the rear side glass for it to be of interest to commercial users.

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