Nissan Vanette NV200 review

Nissan Vanette NV 200 Van Review.
Kieran Reid.

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Known globally as the NV200, Nissan have decided to name the new van in Ireland as the Nissan Vanette NV 200. A wise move, as the Vanette is well remembered as a reliable workhorse, but the engine was too big for the size of the van, giving an agricultural feel and sound to it. But it sold well, and suited the needs of many tradesmen and businesses.
A completely new model designed from scratch, which resulted in it being honoured International Van of the Year 2010, the Vanette is a bit of an odd ball in the Light Commercial Vehicle sector. Despite being built from a similar chassis dimension as the Micra, it could not be described as a car derived van. But yet it is not big enough to be a panel van. Therein lies what could be the secret to its success. This van will suit drivers and businesses who want a small car like van for the convenience of easy manoeuvrability and parking and yet need more room for the business end of things, but don’t need or want a Hiace type van.
In this case, the Vanette will certainly fit the bill. Forget the old model, this van is a big improvement, modern, more user friendly, economical and very easy to drive. The driving position is high, giving good visibility with large electric mirrors more than capable of giving a clear view of what’s happening behind and aiding reversing manoeuvres. The cab is very much designed with the needs of a driver who will spend a lot of time on the road and all controls are within easy reach. The gear lever is very well positioned on the dash, and gear selection is very slick and comfortable. There is plenty of room, mainly due to having kept it a two seater, and the intelligent use of space coupled with the layout of all the necessary switches and controls in what is a very compact and streamlined dash works well to give an airy, uncluttered and comfortable feel to what is essentially an office environment for many business users. With this in mind, Nissan have designed the cab to cope with all the needs of service providers and delivery drivers. For instance, the passenger seat back folds forward to give a flat, desk like work surface and there seems to be a pocket or compartment for everything. A4 paperwork can be stored in the glovebox, in the open space on top of the dash or in the door pockets. With security in mind, there is a concealed drawer under the driver’s seat, a very well designed secret compartment in the centre console, and another one in the glovebox. All accessible, but not apparent to the opportunistic thief. Another security feature is the dash-mounted switch, which will lock or unlock all the doors while in the cab, peace of mind at night or while in undesirable locations. Drink holders at each lower end of the dash and also in the centre console, coin trays, and pockets in the sunvisor for cards, licence etc all add to the overall driver comfort. Getting in and out is no problem, the seat height helps, and the large doors allow plenty of room for access. Comfort levels are further enhanced by the inclusion of a very adequate radio/cd with an MP3 auxiliary jack, and plenty of room behind the seats for storing raingear, jackets or even a briefcase/rucksack.
On the road, the first thing you will notice is the extremely light feel to the steering due to being electrically powered, and this is no fault, and indeed will prove a joy to use in tight areas. This is where the Vanette will shine, as it is ideally suited to town or city driving, as it is extremely manoeuvrable, helped by a kerb to kerb turning circle of 10.6 metres, or 11.1 metres between walls. The 1.5 dci diesel engine, which produces 200nm of torque, is relatively low powered at 86 hp, but because it is mated to a 5-speed gearbox with well-selected gear ratios it is well up to the job and performs well. Brakes are good, helped by Brake Assist, ABS and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. A driver’s airbag is standard, with passenger and side airbags and Electronic Stability Protection available as optional extras.
The onboard trip computer is well positioned within the clock housing unit and displays engine revs and a gear change indicator to tell you the ideal time to change up or down, thereby helping to improve fuel consumption. It will also display the actual l/100km for the current trip, and the distance left before refuelling. The fuel used on our test of mixed driving conditions averaged 5.2l/100km or 54 mpg, which is pretty impressive in these times of high fuel prices. The full steel bulkhead ensured a quiet environment, and overall the van gave a very comfortable ride.
The load area has a generous 4.2 cu/m of volume and dimensions are as follows; Length 2040mm, Width 1500mm, Width between wheel arches 1220mm, Height 1358mm. Ground to floor height 524mm. To put this into perspective, the van can easily accommodate two europallets. There are tie-down hooks in the floor to help secure loads, and two sliding doors for easy access with an opening size of 693mm wide by 1171mm high. The twin rear doors are un-glazed and can open to 180˚. The opening sizes for these are 1262mm wide by 1228mm high. The only fault I have with the Vanette is in this area. The only light in the load area is a tiny roof mounted one located directly inside the rear doors, which is not operated by a door switch and can only be operated manually. There are no lights at the side doors, and the one at the back door is totally inadequate for the size of the van. I find this unacceptable and a major inconvenience that is completely avoidable, especially as the van is so well equipped in all other areas.
Optional accessories include a roof rack, mats, protective plastic panels for the sides of the load area and side rails for load ties. I would recommend specifying the rear view camera, which gives a full colour view on the dash of the area directly behind the van, and activates the second you select reverse gear. Considering that the rear doors are unglazed and therefore has no centre rear view mirror, the cost of this option could be a small price to pay to avoid costly rear damage, particularly for users who tow trailers.
The Vanette has a maximum payload of 731 kg and can tow an 1100 kg trailer with brakes. Service intervals are 20,000 km and Nissan offer a 3-year or 100,000 km warranty, which can be extended (at a cost) to 5 years or 200,000 km, excluding wear and tear parts. They also offer a 12-year anti-corrosion and a 3-year paint warranty. Overall, a very good package at €15,900.