First Drive: Nissan NV200 N-tec

Date: Thursday, April 26, 2012

Late last year Nissan enhanced its NV200 range with the addition of a higher-powered engine, which it mated to a six-speed manual box.

The 1.5-litre dCi unit employed in the small van is now offered with a top-of-the-range 110hp version, driven here. The powertrain offers an official CO2 figure of 139g/km and consumption of 53.3mpg on the combined cycle.  It is up for grabs in SE and N-tec grades but not in the entry-level E-grade model, which continues to be marketed with power output of 85hp and five-speed manual transmission.
The addition of the 110hp engine and six-speed transmission has unquestionably improved the NV200 line-up, and the combination surpasses the respectable rather than exceptional performance provided by the 85hp engine and somewhat notchy five-speed transmission, which are not best suited to motorway journeys in particular.
The six-speed transmission is slick and crisp, adapting comfortably to urban and open road journeys alike and, although we did not drive our test van fully loaded, with peak torque of 240Nm at 1750rpm there was no sense that it would lack muscle and power if called for.
The driving position is high and upright when compared with rivals such as the Citroen Berlingo or Volkswagen Caddy Maxi, and the steering wheel is rake-adjustable to suit individual comfort. The cab is protected by a full-steel bulkhead.
The cargo area is conveniently reached via twin rear loading doors and sliding doors on both sides of the van, rather than just on the near side, which can make life easier. Our van also included a cargo floor covering to protect it from scratches and scrapes during loading.
A tight kerb-to-kerb turning circle of 10.6m compares favourably with competitors in
the small van sector and aids manoeuvrability when ducking
and diving about town.
The new addition features the same upgrades fitted to the rest of the line-up earlier this year, including standard Bluetooth connectivity, and as befitting a flagship model, this version of the NV200 is generously specced.
Nissan broke new ground with the NV200 in terms of creating such generous load capacity in a small van and the addition of the new engine and N-tec trim make the overall package even more impressive.

 

Verdict
The NV200 is a slick, sophisticated choice as well as a practical load carrier.



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