Nissan NV200 is First Produced

The Nissan NV200 is a Light commercial vehicle produced by Nissan.

It was first shown as the NV200 Concept at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. Though it is a direct replacement for the Vanette van, it is only available as van model, and the Vanette truck is still available.

It was launched in Japan as Nissan NV200 Vanette on May 21, 2009, and was launched in Europe in autumn, 2009.

An electric vehicle based on NV200 will also be released.

Nissan has made announcement about the launch of the Nissan NV200 Vanette on Japanese market. Powered by a 1.6L HR16DE petrol engine, Nissan NV200 Vanette offers a good fuel efficiency with a low total cost of ownership.

Nissan NV200 Vanette offers a 4.1 cubic of loading space or a seven-seat configuration for transporting people in car-like comfort and features.

Nissan NV200 Vanette will come in two configuration models: the Wagon 16S people carrier and the DX light commercial van.

Nissan is preparing a move into the global small van market with the introduction of its all new spacious yet compact NV200 small van.

At a glance

* Three different configurations of NV200
* Sliding side doors for ease of entry
* 4.1m3 of loading space in van version
* Economical petrol and diesel engines
* Low cost of ownership
* Family version is seven seat people carrier
* Global model for multiple regions

Designed from the outset as both a commercial and a passenger vehicle, the Nissan NV200 brings new levels of space, comfort and practicality to the small van market, both in Europe and other global markets.

NV200 will be available in three different versions: a van with the largest load space in its class and two seven seat variants – the functional Combi version for loads and passengers, and the more plush passenger car version, which will be shown at Geneva Motor Show next month.

“The Nissan LCV business is in a phase of expansion even in these challenging financial circumstances,” said Andy Palmer, Senior Vice President, Global Product Planning, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “We aim to expand our business with smart new products and services that meet the needs of our customers, both in Europe and around the world.”

He added: “The NV200 is our proposal for a global small van. It offers outstanding utility and smart convenience with low cost of ownership, packaged in a highly functional design. With this vehicle, Nissan aims to meet the needs of customers looking for a functional, adaptable light van. We will launch the NV200 in Japan before summer, in Europe in autumn 2009 and then in China and other markets.”

Maximised cargo area
NV200 uses innovative packaging ideas to create the largest and most practical cargo area in its class. Although a little under 4.4m in overall length, the van version of the NV200 has a load bay that’s more than 2m long (2040mm).

With front-wheel drive and the adoption of a highly compact rear suspension system, the NV200 can house two standard Euro pallets in the cargo area at a time. At 1.84m high NV200 is no taller than its rivals, while at 520mm from ground level, the floor itself is the lowest in the class to ease loading, helping to boost the cargo volume to 4.1m3. Maximum payload is 771kg.

Spacious interior
A large cargo area is a vital attribute for a van, of course, but the generous interior dimensions of NV200 also translate into ample passenger space in the Combi version.

Unlike some other manufacturers that fit removable seats – which are invariably heavy to lift and need to be stored elsewhere when not in use – the seats in the Combi stay with the vehicle at all times. The middle row backrest has a 60/40 split to increase versatility and the entire assembly tumbles forward to fold flat against the front seats, while the rear pair fold individually to either side of the load area.

Throughout the creation of NV200, attention has been paid to ensuring the highest levels of quality with shut lines and panel gaps in line with the expectations of passenger car buyers.

While the van optionally is available with a side window it, differs from the passenger versions at the rear where it has twin side hinged “French” doors. Both seven-seaters have a fully glazed top hinged tailgate – though the Combi will be available with French doors – while the windows on both side doors have a sliding section for extra ventilation.

Road car platform
Built on a modified version of Nissan’s B Platform, NV200 has fully independent strut type front suspension mounted on a separate subframe and a compact and lightweight yet robust wide leaf spring rear axle.

Performance comes from a choice of two engines, one petrol and one diesel.

The petrol version will be powered by Nissan’s renowned all aluminium 1.6-litre HR16 engine, as found in Micra, Note and Qashqai. Displacing 1,598cc, the 16-valve unit develops 79kW (108PS) and 153Nm of torque and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

The diesel, also found on Note and Micra, is Alliance partner Renault’s acclaimed 8-valve 1.5 dCi (K9K) 1,461cc engine. Developing 200 Nm of torque and 63kW (86PS), it offers an ideal blend of performance, refinement and fuel economy. Power is transmitted through a five-speed gearbox.

To create more space in the cockpit, the gearlever extends not from the floor but from the two-tone wrap around centre console. Above the gearlever, the centre section houses the heating and ventilation controls and the double DIN radio slot. Heating and ventilation extends to all three rows of seats.

Well equipped
The NV200 is availble with an optional rear view parking camera, a first for a van in this segment, while the cabin is full of storage spaces, pockets and cup/bottle holders. There is also a secret storage space large enough to hide camera, mobile phones or vital documents within the upper portion of the glovebox.

Joining the parking camera, other car-like items of standard or optional equipment include features such as Nissan’s Intelligent Key, power windows and ESP. Safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes with brake assist (BA) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) as standard. Driver and passenger airbags are also standard with side bags available as an option.

Pedestrian safety has also been considered with extra crash absorbing material in the bonnet and the adoption of an energy-absorbing bonnet.

Low cost of ownership
Cost of ownership is projected to be among the lowest in the class thanks in part to the low running costs and high efficiency of the engines and drivetrains, but also thanks to the safety structure which helps to minimise crash damage to vulnerable under bonnet parts such as the radiator.

On the face of it, Nissan has one of the best light commercial vehicle ranges of any manufacturer in the UK.

There’s the diminutive Kubistar, the Primastar medium panel van, the Interstar heavweight, the class-leading Navara, the down-to-earth yet aging NV300 truck and the timeless – and very popular – Cabstar.

But in spite of this stunning array, Nissan has never really achieved what many would see as its full fleet sales potential.

One of the problems is that Kubistar is a rebadged Renault Kangoo, while Primastar is a recycled Renault Trafic/Vauxhall Vivaro and Interstar, apart from its moniker, is a Renault Master/Vauxhall Movano.

And while Vauxhall and Renault are very much geared up for big fleet business, Nissan has largely remained the domain of the one-man band.

But things are about to change. Within five years, Nissan plans to have largely cut its LCV ties with Renault by launching six new models, all styled in its own unique fashion rather than being clones of the French maker.

First off the blocks is the van on test here, the NV200, which goes on sale in the UK this month and will go head-to-head with the likes of the Citroën Berlingo, Volkswagen Caddy and Ford Transit Connect. Next year we’ll be seeing a new 3.5-tonner.

Both will be based on Nissan platforms, although the NV200 will sport Renault’s ubiquitous 1.5 dCi diesel powerplant. A 1.6-litre petrol engine will be offered outside the UK, while a Combi version with five or seven seats joins the UK line-up in February.

Corporate sales director Tony Lewis is fresh in the job after being recruited from LDV – and he’s all set to crank up Nissan’s fleet credentials.

He said the firm had 185 dealers in total, of which 54 have been designated as LCV specialists. In addition, Nissan LCVs are sold through six Volvo truck dealerships. These dealers have made additional investment in people, facilities and service and will be able to offer expertise both before and after a sale is made.

Lewis said the NV200 was a truly sector-breaking van that focused on cargo space, value and comfort. He said: “From the B pillar forwards it’s a car and after that it’s a van.”

This year, Lewis aims to sell just 491 NV200s, rising to 2,000 in 2010 and 3,000 in 2011.

One model will be available, with E and SE grades. E features ABS brakes as standard, along with electronic brake distribution, driver airbag, one-third bulkhead, manual windows and immobiliser. SE adds electric windows and mirrors, keyless entry, a full bulkhead and driver’s seat height adjustment.

Various option packs will offer air conditioning, a reversing camera and rear glazed doors, while ESP traction control will be a paid-for option. The NV200’s real strength comes in its size.

Although it looks like a standard small van, it offers a load volume of 4.2 cubic metres – more than in the old Citroën Dispatch – and has a tight turning circle for urban manoeuvring but will carry two Europallets.

Load length is 2,040mm while height is 1,358mm, which should make this van of interest to those converters who make wheelchair-accessible vehicles.Gross vehicle weight, meanwhile, is 2,000kg, while payload is a respectable 752kg.

The Renault engine hardly needs any introduction as it graces most of the French maker’s cars and vans.

It offers 85bhp at 3,750rpm and 147lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm, while offering 54.3mpg on the combined cycle and emitting 137g/km of CO2. Prices will be revealed later this month.

Behind the wheel

First glance of the NV200 shows it to be very much a Japanese product. It looks more than a trifle odd at first. But, then, didn’t we all laugh at the “Postman Pat” looks of the Citroën Berlingo when launched? And consider how normal it looks today.

But whatever the looks, there’s no doubt that this van truly breaks all the old segment rules – it’s a small van that has big van capabilities.

My only reservation on the exterior is that there isn’t a lot of padding on the outside to soak up any annoying knocks and scrapes.

Inside, the driver’s seat is perched up high, which means that for multi-drop users, getting in and out is very easy. It gives excellent views of the road ahead and makes the NV200 feel bigger than it really is.

The passenger seat folds down to allow extra cargo space and there’s also a little desk on the back, which should prove useful now that white van man is expected to carry out all sorts of other tasks.

A variety of bulkheads are available – including a meshed one which swivels round in the middle so the driver is still protected when long loads are carried.

Sidewall padding and a rubber floor will be extra, although a sliding side door comes as standard and another can be added at a cost. There are the usual four load-lashing eyes and the rear doors split 60/40.

Renault’s familiar dCi unit fires up smoothly and without fuss and a slick dash-mounted gearlever ensures smooth changes.
Our test vans came with half a load on board but on the road I felt the power steering was a little on the light side. But there’s no faulting the NV200’s excellent road manners.

The 85bhp on tap is plenty to ferry this van a long nicely and I’m glad to see that Nissan won’t be offering any performance versions that some manufacturers seem to delight in.

Having said that, the van wasn’t exactly a ball of fire on some of the steep inclines, although it never threatened to give up altogether.

The standard fitting of ABS brakes gets the thumbs up from Fleet Van but it’s a shame Nissan couldn’t have really made this van really stand out by making ESP traction control standard too, as with the Ford Transit Connect.

Verdict

It’s a tough time to be launching a new van into an even tougher sector. But the NV200 can hold its head up against any of the
opposition – it’s now down to Nissan’s salesmen to persuade Britain’s big fleet buyers to abandon their Citroëns, Fords and Vauxhalls.