Nissan NV200 van review

Category: Small Van

The Nissan NV200 is a surprise package, with load carrying capacities above and beyond its rivals. Supported by a generous five-year warranty and high levels of standard equipment, the Nissan city van is a tempting proposition.

Nissan NV200 front action close up
  • Nissan NV200 front action close up
  • Nissan NV200 rear action
  • Nissan NV200 front seats and storage
  • Nissan NV200 interior layout
  • Nissan NV200 sat-nav
  • Nissan NV200 front action close up
  • Nissan NV200 rear action
  • Nissan NV200 front seats and storage
  • Nissan NV200 interior layout
  • Nissan NV200 sat-nav
What Car?’s NV200 deals


What Car? says...

The Nissan NV200 is something of an anomaly in the small van sector. Its compact footprint makes it instantly comparable to the likes of the Volkswagen Caddy, Ford Transit Connect or Citroen Berlingo, yet it’s slightly higher body and much narrower width really set it apart from all rivals.

Load volumes are the most obvious benefit of the NV200’s unusual proportions, with the taller van able to carry as much as 4.2m3.

Launched in 2009, the NV200 has to-date only ever undergone minor changes during its lifespan, but the concept of a taller city van has won it many admirers, not least in New York, where it was  approved and launched as a replacement for the ageing and world-famous Lincoln Town Car and Ford Crown Victoria yellow taxis.

What's the best small van to buy?

If it’s not a taxi you are after then there are panel van and crew van versions available, plus a refrigerated model. There is also the possibility of tailor-made conversions from a number of approved body-builders.

A 1.5-litre dCi engine powers the NV200 and is available with either an 89bhp or 110bhp power output.

The NV200 is front-wheel-drive only and there’s no option of an automatic transmission. Instead, a six-speed manual is fitted on the higher-powered van while the base- level 89bhp vehicle gets a five-speed gearbox. The NV200 is also available as a full-electric van, the Nissan eNV200.

Three different levels of trim are available on the NV200, with Visia, Acenta and Tekna options each adding improvements on top of the other.

While the obvious competition is the wealth of city vans available including the Transit Connect and Berlingo, extended wheelbase versions offer a closer match for carrying capacity.

The Volkswagen Caddy Maxi and Renault Kangoo Maxi offer similar load volumes but in a longer footprint, while the short-wheelbase versions of mid-sized vans that offer as little as 1.5m3 additional space could even be considered as rivals – although the purchase price and running costs of vans including the Vauxhall Vivaro or Mercedes-Benz Vito are considerably higher.

The NV200 is no longer available from new, but you can find examples on the used van market. This review will let you know how to buy a good example, and you can see our picks for the best small vans in our dedicated feature.

Read more: How we test vans


The Nissan NV200 is a surprise package, with load carrying capacities above and beyond its rivals. Supported by a generous five-year warranty and high levels of standard equipment, the Nissan city van is a tempting proposition.

  • Big volume capacity
  • Quiet and smooth ride
  • Five-year warranty
  • Dated interior
  • Limited storage

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

There’s no doubting the NV200 has been set up to thrive in the city, but that doesn’t mean it’s not at home out on the open road.

Nissan NV200 image
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The fact it is tall and narrow could cause issues when it comes to handling, but the NV200 is actually quite adept at taking the corners. The ride is smooth and - despite having skinny tyres - it copes with all manner of roads well.

The power generated by the entry-level engine is just on the fringes of being acceptable. Most small vans tend to have around 100bhp and that additional 10% makes a significant contribution.

If you’re just going to be using the NV200 around town then the 148 lb ft of torque is sufficient to drag you away from a standing start but if you’re planning on stretching the legs of the NV200 we’d recommend the 110bhp engine. Not only is there more power, but torque is increased to 177 lb ft and there’s also an extra gear to improve fuel economy and the engine speeds while at a cruise.

Both engines are pretty quiet, but if you do plan to do motorway miles the six-speed gearbox will pay dividends.

Nissan NV200 rear action


The interior layout, fit and finish

The tall and thin nature of the NV200 makes the cabin feel a little unusual when compared with some of the other vehicles in the city van segment - but it’s not small.

Up front, the cabin is spacious cabin, although it does give an impression of being a little out of proportion, which leads to a rather upright and awkward driving position. It’s not uncomfortable but it does take some getting used to.

The interior plastics are quite shiny and particularly hard, while the silver edging around the wheel and centre console no longer adds to the appearance in the way Nissan would have hoped all those years ago. Storage, meanwhile, is particularly poor, with cupholders at either side of the cabin, an open glovebox and an awkward A4-sized area above the rather small infotainment/navigation console.

The passenger seat does fold down to produce a tabled surface, however, and there are additional A4-sized pockets in the doors.

Our advice is to opt for the optional storage trays between the seats and the under-seat storage tray if you really want to fill out the interior.


Nissan NV200 front seats and storage

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Want to carry large or bulky items, but don’t want a larger van? The NV200 is for you.

Its size is its real strength, and with 4.2m3 of space in the rear, it is by far and away the most spacious van despite a length of just 4400mm, width of 1695mm and height of 1860mm.

In comparison, a Volkswagen Caddy is 4408mm long, 1793mm wide and 1823mm high, yet has a load volume of just 3.2m3.

Maximum load length is 2040mm (its 1779mm in a Caddy van) while width is 1500mm and height is 1358mm. Add the Versatility Pack, which includes a folding mesh bulkhead and a folding passenger seat, and you can carry 2800mm lengths. Loading height is 524mm while the side door has an opening of 1171mm. The rear doors both open to 180 degrees.

Of course, it is not just about volume: payload is also important in a van, and the NV200 is capable of moving up to 752kg. That’s still quite a hefty payload for a city van and is important if you are to consider the electric version of the van, the Nissan e-NV200, as those batteries eat into the total payload allowance.

Nissan NV200 interior layout

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Not only is the NV200 a good load carrier, it also represents good value for money when it comes down to the equipment on offer.

Entry level Visia vans get Bluetooth telephone connections, an alarm, trip computer and electric mirror mirrors amongst the equipment.

Mid-range Acenta adds front fog lights and a rather good colour reversing camera.

Top of the range Tekna provides alloy wheels, cruise control, speed limiter, air-conditioning and body coloured bumpers front and rear.

It’s hard to ignore the value of the Visia trim, but unfortunately the higher-powered engine is not an option at that level. As we’d recommend the more powerful engine, Acenta is the first trim option.

All models get ABS with electronic brake force distribution to improve braking when fully laden, and there’s also Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), which is an advance form of electronic stability control.

On top of that, there are Nissan’s generous warranty term in the NV200’s favour. As with the Nissan NV400 and Nissan NV300 vans, there’s five year back-up, and for NV200 it’s covered up to 100,000 miles.

Servicing is a respectable 28,000 miles or every 12 months.

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About the author

George Barrow is one of the leading van and truck reviewers, and is the UK’s only representative on the prestigious International Van of the Year jury. He has written about vans and commercial vehicles for the past 15 years, and can be found in titles including The Sun and What Van?, alongside What Car?.

Barrow is well regarded in the commercial vehicle industry, securing access to the latest models – and the people who made them – long before other titles.


Nissan NV200 sat-nav