Nissan’s new medium van has been a long time coming.
Back in November 2015, the brand confirmed its long-awaited successor to the Primastar would arrive in the second half of this year, before finally unveiling the NV300 at the Hanover CV Show in September – with the model hitting UK showrooms in November 2016.
The van itself is not a surprise, being a rebadged version of the Trafic from Nissan’s Alliance partner Renault, which has already served as the template for Vauxhall’s Vivaro and from June this year, Fiat Professional’s Talento.
All of these variations upon a theme are built at Renault’s plant in Sandouville, France.
What is surprising, however, is just how long it took Nissan to bring its model to market. The Primastar was withdrawn in early 2015, so Nissan has been left without a presence in the largest segment of the light commercial vehicle market (about 35% in the UK), for nigh on two years.
Nissan claims it delayed introducing the NV300 because it did not want its launch to clash with that of the Navara pick-up, its biggest selling LCV, in January 2016.
The NV300 is available in two wheelbases (L1 and L2), both of which can be specified with a standard (H1) or high roof (H2).
There are also two double-cab crew vans with seating for six occupants based on L1H1 and L2H1 derivatives, and a chassis cab based on the L2 platform.
Two NV300 Combis based on L1H1 and L2H1 formats give seating for up to nine.
Nissan claims all the vans, including short-wheelbase models, can accommodate three standard Europallets and adds that it has a load bed 110mm longer than the Primastar.
Just like with the other Trafic-based vans, an optional load-through hatch in the bulkhead allows for objects of up to 3.75m long in L1 derivatives to be carried – extending to 4.15m in L2 versions. This hatch provides an opening that is 510mm wide by 228mm high, and extends the maximum load length by 410mm. It is held open by two magnets. A second flap, situated under the passenger seat, increases maximum load length by a further 800mm.
The NV300’s gross vehicle weights extend from 2,700kg to 2,900kg, with payloads for the panel vans ranging from 1,073kg to 1,310kg and load volumes going from 5.2m3 up to 8.6m3.
The NV300’s power comes from the Renault-Nissan Alliance 1.6-litre dCi diesel engine that is also found in Nissan’s Qashqai and X-trail crossovers as well as the Trafic, Vivaro and Talento vans. It is up for grabs with outputs of 95hp, 120hp, 125hp and 145hp, with the two former being single turbo and the latter pair twin turbo, an expansion from the Primastar’s single turbo-only line-up.
All of the NV300’s engines are mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The drivetrains meet Euro6 emissions standards thanks to a diesel particulate filter and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology using a 20-litre AdBlue tank.
Ed Kelleher, LCV product manager for Nissan GB, says the AdBlue tank will be filled by the factory prior to delivery.
The twin-turbo models have stop/start engine technology for reduced fuel consumption, plus an Eco mode switch with gear shift indicator, which is optional on the 95hp unit.
Nissan claims its five-year/100,000-mile warranty will be a major selling point for the NV300 and it also offers service intervals of two years/25,000 miles.
In the UK, the NV300 comes in three trim levels – Visia, Acenta and Tekna – and the 125hp twin turbo L2H1 van we drove on the international launch was most closely aligned to the top specification with features such as a seven-inch touchscreen navigation and entertainment system, cruise control, parking sensors, leather stitching on the steering wheel and gear knob, and tyre pressure monitoring.
Kelleher says the load-through hatch and rear parking sensors are included from the Acenta upwards, whereas a reversing camera will only be available as an option. He claims the fog lights, which Nissan offers as a standard fit on N300 vans, are only optional on the Trafic and its other rebadged models.
Also unique to the NV300 as a standard feature, according to Kelleher, is a key enabling the driver to open just the driver’s door while leaving the load bay locked.
Otherwise, Nissan’s take on the Trafic feels predictably familiar. The wide-angle mirror fitted to the passenger’s sun visor remains an excellent device to eliminate the near-side blind spot, and the cabin includes ample storage provision, including a space under the passenger seat.
Reach- and rake-adjustable steering makes it easy to find the best driving position, and the 125hp engine delivers generous pulling power and was unperturbed by the half-load in the cargo bay.
The engine is quiet too, and nor does road noise, even on poor surfaces, penetrate the interior to intrusive levels. The dash-mounted gear lever is easy to reach, provides slick changes, and gets the best out of the engine.
A bold front grille based on Nissan’s SUVs distinguishes the NV300 from the other models with the same platform to give the van a “robust, modern and masculine” appearance, according to Paulo D’Ettore, Nissan’s head of LCV marketing.
|Price (ex VAT) £25,360|
|Price range (ex VAT) £21,015-£28,210|
|Service intervals 25,000mls|
|Load length 2937mm|
|Load width (min/max)||1,268/1,662mm|
|Gross payload 1,243kg|
|Load volume 6.0m3|
|Engine size/power 1,598cc/125hp|
|On sale November 2016|
|Combined fuel economy 46.3mpg|