Nissan Primastar review

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Nissan's Primastar is a mid-sized van that offers a very complete all-round package. Jonathan Crouch checks out the latest version.

Ten Second Review

Nissan's medium-sized van is the Primastar, the Japanese brand's version of a design also shared with Renault. It's very competitive in terms of efficiency and carriage capacity and differentiates itself from its rivals by offering a unique-in-segment five year / 100,000 mile warranty. Now, buyers get sharper looks to go with the sophisticated 2.0-litre diesel engines and the smart, well-connected cabin.


If your business is searching for a medium-sized light van, then you're certainly not short of choice. Ford's Transit Custom, Volkswagen's Transporter and Mercedes' Vito may all be options that spring to mind, though in truth, these stand-alone models account for a relatively small slice of the European market for mid-range LCVs of this kind. No, the biggest sales in this segment are spread across just two main designs shared by a variety of manufacturers. First there's the model badged variously as either a Citroen Dispatch, a Peugeot Expert, a Toyota Proace, a Fiat Scudo or a Vauxhall Vivaro. And up against it is the design that takes nearly 30% of the European market in this segment, the vehicle we're looking at here, badged as either a Renault Trafic or, as in this case, a Nissan Primastar.

The Nissan is less familiar than its two design stablemates on British roads, despite the fact that it's priced sharply and offers a longer warranty. How much else has it to offer today's demanding operators? Let's find out.

Driving Experience

Improved 2.0-litre, turbocharged dCi engines and the availability of a six-speed DCT (Dual Clutch) automatic transmission ensure this Primastar LCV is better suited to the needs of business customers. All engines comply with Euro 6d-TEMP standards and, with a variable geometry turbocharger, achieve useful power outputs: think 110, 130, 150 or 150hp with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Torque outputs range between 300 and 380Nm across the range. The 150 and 170hp versions can alternatively be specified with that six-speed DCT automatic we mentioned, which optimises economy and allows smoother, faster gear shifting.

Nissan reckons that this Primastar will feel pretty much like a large MPV to drive and the driving position's as commanding as you would expect. Big door mirrors with convex surfacing on their lower and outer edges are present and correct to help with manoeuvring that can be aided by the neat wide angle mirror fitted to the back of the passenger sunvisor. Further embellishments intended to help you avoid urban scrapes include options like parking sensors and two kinds of rear view camera. This Primastar should prove to be a tough workhorse whatever its working conditions. Maybe that'll involve towing. If so, this vehicle's able, when equipped with a towing hitch, to pull a 750kg unbraked trailer and up to 2,000kg for a braked unit.

Design and Build

We're very familiar with this design now, though more so when it bears either a Renault badge. But it still has something of an avant garde look that works well with Nissan's distinctive 'V-motion' front grille, especially now that this is compolemented by sharp LED headlights. The outside of the Primastar isn't the big story here though.

We reckon users will like the cabin. The Primastar interior benefits from decent and durable seat fabric, satin chrome finishes, a smart black dashboard colour and improved equipment, including a good quality DAB audio system. The cabin feeling is much more like a modern People Carrier, with higher-end versions getting a chromed console surround, along with a chromed gear lever knob and chrome-finished front speaker trims, plus lidded dashboard stowage and reasonably high quality upholstery. Supportive seats offer high density foam padding. The front bench seat incorporates lateral strengthening for both the seat cushions and passenger seat backs. Comfort is further enhanced by the inclusion of an armrest built into the door panel. There is also a clear interface on the 7-inch touchscreen, which replicates the familiar layout of a smartphone and provides fast access to maps and media services.

Market and Model

The Primastar is a flexible and highly adaptable LCV platform, with potentially diverse use catered for by four sizes of panel van (L1H1, L1H2, L2H1, L2H2), two sizes of six-seater crew van (L1H1, L2H1) plus a floor cab variant (L2H1). Prices start at around £25,000 ex VAT and there are four trim levels - 'Visia', 'Acenta', 'Tekna' and 'Tekna+'. All come with LED headlights, cruise control and an alarm. Numerous rear tailgate and side door combinations - solid or glazed - are available for extra flexibility. For users who need space for passengers, there are two variants of the Primastar Combi (L1H1, L2H1), providing seating for up to nine people.

Factory-fitted protective wooden trim and LED roof lights are available, along with versatile interior racking, solid and glazed body-coloured bulkheads and up to 20 interior hooks for securing cargo. A tow ball with electric hook-up is on the options list, as is Trailer Sway Mitigation. For business customers with more bespoke LCV needs, the Primastar floor cab variant provides the perfect base for conversions across a wide range of industries. From camper vans and refrigerated transport to tipper trucks and multimedia broadcast units, versatility should be assured.

Practicalities and Costs

The Primastar panel van is offered in two lengths. The standard L1 configuration measures 4,998mm from stem to stern, with the L2 breaking the tape at 5,398mm. There are also two roof heights to choose from. Cargo capacity ranges between 5.2 and 8.6 cubic metres. Even in the smallest L1 model, you can carry up to three standard Europallets and accommodate 10 x 2.5-metre plasterboard sheets. Nissan has also been smart about accommodating even longer loads too, with a flap that extends through the bulkhead and below the front seats to allow up to 2.95m long items. Need even more length? Then simply open a secondary flap that extends into the front footwell, allowing up to 3.2m long items to be taken on board. Of course, you could always just opt for the longer L2 model with its cavernous 4.15m load length.

Efficiency is improved in this revised model and a thoughtful touch is the 'Eco Mode' you can select by pressing the button by the gearstick. This restricts the pulling power of the engine and promotes greater efficiency. We shouldn't forget what is possibly this model's strongest selling point either, the five year /100,000 mile warranty that's far better than the packages rivals offer.


This Primastar van certainly looks a competitive proposition. We like the efficient engines, the spacious load bay, the hugely practical cab and the decent quality throughout.

But should you select it with a Nissan badge rather than from a Renault showroom? Aggressive pricing against the alternative Renault Trafic, matched by a superior class-leading warranty suggests that perhaps you should. A tempting package then, for cost-conscious business buyers shopping in this sector. It won't be the first contender you think of in this segment but it remains one of the more sensible choices you could make.

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