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Model Nissan NV200 Combi 1.5DCI SE
WHEN is a van not a van? Well, in the case of Nissan, the answer is this – when it’s a Combi.
Allow me to explain. You can buy the Japanese firm’s roomy NV200 in the form of a van or a passenger carrier, and it was the latter that arrived in the office car park – looking something like a van.
Step inside, though, and there’s a car-like cockpit, plenty of the sort of clever storage area you associate with the modern MPV and seven sturdy seats.
It adds up to the sort of sturdy carrier that would be well suited to family-carrying duties or make a versatile taxi.
A big plus is the inclusion of twin sliding doors in the design, which makes entering and exiting the middle seats a doddle, even though the rear two seats are only suitable for children.
It’s other big selling point will be the price. Where else can you find a people-carrier with this capability for a starting price of £15,250... or even the £18,470 price tag on the tested higher spec model.
The SE and SE+ grade models even come with a small reversing camera, and even the base model gets Bluetooth connectivity.
Electric front windows, complete with a one-touch operation of the driver’s side, and electric mirrors, are standard on the SE van and all Combi models.
In-car entertainment is provided by a CD player and aux-in facility.
It’s sound quality is adequate.
You are surrounded by hardwearing plastics in the cabin, but the seats are surprisingly comfortable.
At the top of the range, the class-leading satnav and cabin control system, Nissan Connect, adds another dimension to the cabin. Cruise control and a speed limiter give further control of petrol consumption – which is a very respectable average 54.3mpg from the 1.5-litre dCi engine paired with five-speed manual transmission.
Don’t expect any fireworks in terms of driving dynamics. The NV200 is a workhorse, with enough pulling power to carry up to six passengers in comfort, and will give only limited pleasure behind the wheel. I took it up and down some of North Yorkshire’s steepest hills and along some particularly bendy roads, and it met the challenges with barely a grumble.
Of more importance to virtually all buyers will be its capability as a load-lugger. So here’s the lowdown.
Thanks to its ample interior dimensions, the Combi has enough space to carry up to seven people in comfort, with three in the middle row and two in the folding third row that’s an option on SE and SE+ grades.
The centre row has a 60/40 split and the entire assembly folds and then tumbles forward to be stored against the rear of the front seats when extra space is needed. The twin rear seats, meanwhile, fold individually and are stored against the sides of the rear compartment. None of the seats needs to be removed from the vehicle to increase load space.
With all the seats in place, the luggage area behind the third row is sufficient to hold two large suitcases, while five large suitcases can be loaded when these seats are folded away.
When all the passenger seats are folded, the load area is large enough to hold three mountain bikes which can be carried without the need to remove their front wheels.
Running and service costs are among the lowest in their class.
Service intervals have been extended to 12,500 miles or every 12 months, while fuel economy is among the best in class, returning 54.3mpg on the combined cycle in 85PS form. CO2 emissions are as low as 137g/km (Combi 138g/km). To underline its low level consumption and emissions, the NV200 will wear Nissan’s Pure Drive badge, which identifies it as being among the most efficient vehicles in Nissan’s range.
A commercial vehicle is primarily a working tool. It needs to be affordable to buy but, perhaps more importantly, cheap to run too. It needs to be reliable and if it gets damaged, needs to be quick and easy to repair to reduce down time. The NV200 has therefore been designed to keep operating costs as low as possible both in terms of day-to-day running and by reducing down time.
Model Nissan NV200 Combi 1.5DCI SE (seven seats)
PRICE: £18,470 (basic price £15,250).
ENGINE: 1.5-litre diesel, developing 85PS.
TRANSMISSION: five-speed manual driving front wheels.
ECONOMY: 53.3mpg combined.
CO2 RATING: 138g/km.