Nissan NV200 (2009 - 2019) used car review

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

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Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

By Jonathan Crouch

Introduction

Nissan's NV200 is the largest small van you can buy from the 2009-2019 period. Its 4.2 cubic litre loading capacity is matched with value pricing to make it an option from this period that businesses really shouldn't ignore in this sector of the market.

Models

4dr small van (1.5 dCi diesel/EV)

History

Back in 2019, Nissan approached the compact sector of the van market with fresh ideas and a clean sheet approach. After years of simply re-badging Renault LCV products, the Japanese brand decided to launch alone with a brand new range of commercials that began with this one - the NV200. It competed in the Citroen Berlingo and Ford Transit Connect-dominated compact van sector where the prices in the 2009-2019 period were often anything but compact for the long wheelbase high capacity versions that many businesses need.

The NV200 took a different approach. For less than the kind of money that would buy you many conventional small vans, here you could have one that was 50% bigger. It's a simple sales proposition that many business customers liked, particularly as it included up-to-the-minute design and low running costs courtesy of frugal diesel power.

In 2014, a full-electric version, the e-NV200, joined the range - and that EV variant continued on until 2022. Both models could be had either as a panel van or a combi, the latter with the choice of either five or seven seats. The diesel-powered NV200s lasted only until 2019, at which point it was replaced by the NV250 model, basically a re-badged Renault Kangoo.

What You Get

Nissan's designers were very clear about their objectives with this vehicle. From the B-pillars forward, it's a car: after that, it's a van. As is common in the compact LCV sector, its underpinnings are based on those of a supermini - in this case, a MK3 Nissan Micra. So far, so predictable. But what makes this NV200 different is the way that it combines the footprint of a short-wheelbase van with the carrying capacity of a much pricier long-wheelbase one.

So how exactly did Nissan manage this Tardis-like result? Well the reasons are so simple that you wonder why other makers didn't copy them. First, the cab is designed so that the seats are set as far forwards as they can go. Second, the 55-litre fuel tank is unusually sited under the seats. And thirdly, the leaf-sprung rear suspension is very compact.

At the wheel, you sit up high on a supportive seat with excellent views of the road ahead, the gearstick well positioned for easy access from a steering wheel that adjusts for rake but not for reach. The instrumentation is clear but minimalist, with a multi-function digital trip computer to the right of the speedo that can be set to display engine revs, fuel consumption and other journey data. Storage areas - 13 apparently - are everywhere, most notably with a deep box between the seats but as well as the usual glovebox and slim door pockets, the tally also includes cup and bottle holders, coin trays and a large bin beneath the driver's seat.

Practicality is the NV200's No.1 selling point. Despite compact dimensions that see it only 1,695mm wide and 4,400mm long, no other compact van from this period can match its 4.2 cubic metre carrying capacity and most need pricey long wheelbase design to get within half a cubic litre of it. That's important, for it means that when you open the a 60:40 asymmetrically-split rear doors, the wider one on the nearside, you'll find a cargo bay boasting a loading area of a size that before 2009 had been previously unheard of in a small van.

There's 1358mm of loading height, 1220mm of width between the wheel boxes and 2040mm of load length - though that last figure can be extended to 2,800mm if you go for a model whose original owner specified the optional Versatility Pack, which included a folding passenger seat and an opening mesh bulkhead. Even the standard version however, can accommodate two standard Euro pallets, with six sturdy load-tie rings on the floor to stop them moving about. In other words, for many businesses, there'll be no need to buy a larger Transit Custom-sized van with the higher running costs that would entail. If that's the case, you might have to watch your weights a little - the 752kg payload isn't class-leading - but again, you can't match it for the kind of money Nissan was asking for this vehicle. The gross vehicle weight is 2,000kgs.

Talking of weight, if you're trying to hump heavy boxes in, you'll be pleased to find that the compact rear suspension design means that there's a surprisingly low rear loading height figure of 524mm. As is usual with a van of this sort, the designers have made provision for a pair of sliding side doors and the driver is protected by a ladder frame behind the seat, though higher spec variants get a solid steel bulkhead that also does wonders for refinement.

As for running costs, well the Euro4-compliant diesel manages competitive CO2 emissions of 137g/km while combined fuel consumption is measured at 54.3mpg, with a gearshift indicator to help operators emulate that figure. Those are NEDC figures. Trips to the dealer are every 12,500 miles - or once a year.

What You Pay

Obviously, prices vary widely, based on age, spec and condition. An early 2010-2012 diesel model could be yours from between £2,500-£3,500. Budget around £4000-£6,000 for a 2014-2015 model. 2016-2018 diesel versions are in the £6,000-£8,500 bracket. Think £10,000-£12,000 for the last 2018-2019 diesel models. For the e-NV200 electric model, think in the £7,000-£20,000, depending on age and mileage (sold 2014-2022). All quoted values are sourced through industry experts cap hpi. Click here for a free valuation.

What to Look For

This NV200 generally has a strong reliability record, but our ownership survey did throw up a few issues to look out for. We've heard of problems with the sliding door(s) getting stuck. And some owners have had airbag issues which have been fixed with recalls. If the NV200 you're looking at was made between 2013 and 2017, it may have a faulty Evaporative Emissions Control system, which can cause headaches from exposure to fumes in the cabin. Make sure the appropriate recall has taken place.

The battery in an NV200 should last a good 3-5 years. If the vehicle won't start, it might be the battery - but it's just as likely to be the starter or the alternator. If you hear a clicking noise after turning the key in the ignition, it'll be a starter motor problem, which could be caused by either a broken solenoid, a faulty ignition switch or failing battery connections. If the problem is a bad alternator, symptoms include dim headlights, a spluttering engine, a dead battery or accessories like the radio not working. If you're looking at a CVT automatic NV200, there are potential issues including a bad solenoid, a faulty solenoid regulator valve, a bad transmission speed sensor, a failed radiator, incorrectly connected speed sensors and worn, or faulty torque converter clutch switch valves.

The interior isn't the last word in sophistication but it is hardwearing. Check for damage to locks, tired rear suspension, rogered clutches and brakes and make sure that the load bay tie-downs aren't bent or broken. As usual, look for a full service history.

What about recalls? Well, there was a recall for models produced in early 2010 regarding brake issues - the clevis pin may displace from the brake pedal input rod assembly. Make sure that this has been attended to if it applies. There was a recall for diesel models produced between April and May 2017 concerning an ineffective internal ignition switch. This could cause the engine to unexpectedly stop when driving and in certain circumstances could affect the operation of the airbag. There was also a recall for models made between July and September 2019 concerning the welded joint on the park lock actuator plate being poor quality.

On the Road

Nissan may have cut its ties to Renault in developing this design but it was still very much dependent upon its French partner when it came to what was under the bonnet. The diesel range was based around 1.5 dCi power - with either 90 or 110PS under the bonnet. True, that doesn't sound a lot but with 200Nm of torque (in the 90PS version) from low down in the rev range, it's a muscular little unit strong enough to tow a 1,100kg braked trailer and compares well against the entry-level diesel engines offered in rival products. It does start to look a little outgunned against models that can match the NV200's prodigious carrying capacity, but this Nissan should still have enough verve around town and a 98mph maximum suggests decent open road performance.

The tall panel van shape gives rise to an upright seating position that will help drivers who are forever clambering in and out of their vehicle during the working day. The dash-mounted gear lever that controls the five-speed gearbox is ideally located and the steering column adjusts for rake, thought not for reach. With the front wheels pushed right to the front of the vehicle, the NV200 offered a very tight 10.6m kerb to kerb turning circle (11.1m between walls) which is better than the majority of the compact van class and even out-manoeuvres some superminis. The electric power steering is precise, weighting up with speed and with good all-round visibility, it promises to be an ideal partner for urban driving.

The e-NV200 EV version offered a 40kWh battery and offered an official WLTP-rated range of 124 miles. That battery can be recharged to 80% in around 40 minutes to an hour on a quick charger. Connected up to a 6.6kW charger, charging to capacity takes about 7 and a half hours. If all you can do is plug into a 3-pin domestic socket though, you'll need 21 and a half hours. Bear in mind that rapid charging ability only applies from mid-level 'Accenta' trim upwards.

Overall

Before this van came along in 2009, most of us thought the market's existing small LCVs to be pretty space-efficient. The NV200 though, re-set this standard. True, there may be more exciting small vans to look at but there are certainly few more practical ones from this period to own.

Who needs long wheelbase price and complication when so much can be squeezed out of a standard body shape. In this respect, this Nissan really did offer another dimension to the compact van sector. As a result, it's easy to see how open-minded operators could be persuaded to give the NV200 a go.

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