Nissan unwrapped the production version of its new NV200 compact van here at the Geneva Motor Show after first showing a concept version of it back in 2007 at the Tokyo Motor Show. The basic shape and a lot of the body surface details actually survived the transition from concept to production form intact, although some were obviously subdued. Most notable among those are the wheel arches and the wheels they contain. The small wheels on the production version give the compact van a more top-heavy appearance than the concept. Viewed from the front, the narrow width to height ratio exaggerates this effect even further.
Under hood Nissan is offering a lineup of 1.5 and 1.6L gas and diesel engines to drive the front wheels. When used for cargo rather than carrying up to seven passengers, the NV200 can swallow up to 145 cubic feet and 1,700 lbs. When Nissan showed its NV2500 concept for its new U.S.-built light commercial vehicle back in December, it also showed the NV200 concept, which suggests that the NV200 will be sold in the U.S. as a competitor to the Ford Transit Connect as Nissan moves into the LCV segment.
Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
NV200: THE EXPANDING FAMILY
Nissan's spacious yet compact new small, light van – NV200 – is more than a mere cargo carrier. Two passenger models are also available, offering practical and affordable transport for upto seven. The family-oriented passenger car version makes its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show.
"Larger families demand space, practicality and comfort from their car. But in the current economic climate, the need for that car to be as affordable as possible has never been greater. NV200 offers the largest cabin in its class with plenty of luggage space even when all seven seats are in use."
Simon Thomas, Nissan's European Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing
At a glance
Seven seat people carrier
Practical and functional
Innovative engineering solutions provide...
...class leading interior space
Sliding side doors for ease of entry
Economical petrol and diesel engines
Low cost of ownership
One of three vehicles based on new NV200 van
Global model for multiple regions
Designed from the outset as both a commercial and a passenger vehicle, the Nissan NV200 brings new levels of space, comfort and practicality to the small van market, both in Europe and other global markets.
NV200 will be available in three different versions: a van with the largest load space in its class and two seven seat variants – the functional Combi version for loads and passengers, and the more plush passenger car version.
Designed and built in Japan but with a key contribution from Europe, NV200 uses innovative packaging ideas to create the largest and most practical cargo area in its class. Although a little under 4.4m in overall length, the van version of the NV200 has a load bay that's more than 2m long (2040mm). This can even be stretched to 2.8m when the front passenger seat is folded flat, allowing items such as ladders to be carried with ease.
Maximised cargo area
With front-wheel drive and the adoption of a highly compact rear suspension system, the width between the rear wheel arches has been maximised while at 520mm from ground level, the floor itself is the lowest in the class to ease loading. As a result NV200 can house two standard Euro pallets in the cargo area at a time
.At 1.84m high NV200 is no taller than its rivals, but the low floor helps boost the cargo volume to 4.1m3 or around 25 per cent more than the opposition. Maximum payload is 771kg.
And although it's narrower overall than the competition (1.7m as against 1.8m) careful design has ensured that while there's no penalty inside the cabin – shoulder width is on a par with the rivals – there is a benefit in the urban environment where NV200 can be threaded through narrow gaps with ease.
A large cargo area is a vital attribute for a van, of course, but the generous interior dimensions of NV200 also translate into ample passenger space in the Combi and the family version.
Both models share the same basic layout though the family has more luxurious features including chromed coloured elements to the instrument panel and door handles, different seat coverings, fabric rather than painted metal on the wheel arches and fully trimmed interior panels in the rear.
Unusually for the class, both are available with seven seats in three rows as standard: seating for three in the middle row and for two in the rear. Every seat can be reclined for greater comfort and all seven have three point seat belts.
Such is the space available that leg- and knee-room in the passenger compartment is best in class, while even with all seven seats in use there is still ample room in the luggage area for two large suitcases... something seven seat MPVs cannot achieve. With the two rear seats folded away, the luggage area can carry five such suitcases.
Unlike some other manufacturers that fit removable seats – which are invariably heavy to lift and need to be stored elsewhere when not in use – the seats in NV200 stay with the vehicle at all times. The middle row backrest has a 60/40 split to increase versatility and the entire assembly tumbles forward to fold flat against the front seats, while the rear pair fold individually to either side of the load area.
With all the passenger seats folded, the load area is large enough to carry three mountain bikes. And while traditional MPVs can also carry three bikes, there's no need to remove the front wheels when stowing them in NV200.
In most other respects NV200, the Combi and family versions are identical vehicles. Externally, NV200 marries styling cues from existing Nissan passenger and commercial vehicles and then adds a twist of its own.
But NV200 adds its own styling elements such as the dramatic upswept swage line framing the window and is complemented by a matching styling crease on the twin sliding side doors. NV200 also has its own stylish light assemblies with a one-piece upswept assembly at the front and distinctive rounded taillights at the rear.
Throughout the creation of NV200, attention has been paid to ensuring the highest levels of quality with shut lines and panel gaps in line with the expectations of passenger car buyers.
The van version has steel wheels and black painted front and rear bumpers while both passenger versions are available with body coloured bumpers and wheel trims. Alloy wheels are optionally available on the full range, while the family version also has body coloured door handles and wing mirrors and a chromed grille.
While the van optionally is available with a side window it, differs from the passenger versions at the rear where it has twin side hinged "French" doors. Both seven-seaters have a fully glazed top hinged tailgate – though the Combi will be available with French doors - while the windows on both side doors have a sliding section for extra ventilation.
Road car platform
Built on a modified version of Nissan's B Platform, which also underpins Note and Micra, NV200 has fully independent strut type front suspension mounted on a separate subframe and a compact and lightweight yet robust wide leaf spring rear axle. With anti-roll bars front and rear and ripple control shock absorber at the front, the driving experience is more car than van-like. NV200 enjoys excellent straight-line stability and a comfortable ride.
Performance comes from a choice of two engines, one petrol and one diesel.
The petrol version will be powered by Nissan's renowned all aluminium 1.6-litre HR16 engine, as found in Micra, Note and Qashqai. Displacing 1,598cc, the 16-valve unit develops 79kW (108PS) and 153Nm of torque and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission.
The diesel, also found on Note and Micra, is Alliance partner Renault's acclaimed 8-valve 1.5 dCi (K9K) engine 1,461cc engine. Developing 200 Nm of torque and 63kW (86PS), it offers an ideal blend of performance, refinement and fuel economy. Power is transmitted through a five-speed gearbox.
Strong body structure
The on-the-road experience is heightened by the commanding driving position and by the rigid body structure which is designed to prevent twist and deformation yet still be as light as possible. Wind noise, performance and economy are also enhanced by NV200's CD figure, which is one of the lowest in its class.
To create more space in the cockpit, the gearlever extends not from the floor but from the two-tone wrap around centre console. Above the gearlever, the centre section houses the heating and ventilation controls and the double DIN radio slot. Heating and ventilation extends to all three rows of seats. While rearmost passengers are optionally provided with their own independent heater fan control.
Ahead of the driver is just a single instrument – the speedometer – though a digital tachometer is included as one element of a comprehensive on-board display within the panel. This provides an array of vital information including clock, drive computer, trip and odometers and a shift up display designed to promote economical driving. The computer can be programmed to show service intervals, speed limit warnings and even tyre rotation advice
The display also doubles as a screen for the optional rear view parking camera, a first for a van in this segment.
NV200's cabin is full of storage spaces, pockets and cup/bottle holders. There is also a secret storage space large enough to hide camera, mobile phones or vital documents within the upper portion of the glovebox.
Joining the parking camera, other car-like items of standard or optional equipment include features such as Nissan's Intelligent Key, power windows and ESP. Safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes with brake assist (BA) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) as standard. Driver's airbags are also standard with side bags available as an option.
Pedestrian safety has also been considered with extra crash absorbing material in the bonnet and the adoption of an energy-absorbing bonnet.
Low cost of ownership
Cost of ownership is projected to be among the lowest in the class thanks in part to the low running costs and high efficiency of the engines and drivetrains and also thanks to the safety structure which helps to minimise crash damage to vulnerable under bonnet parts such as the radiator.
"With its intelligent layout and packaging helping to give it the largest cargo area in its class, NV200 delivers the right combination of functionality and efficiency. That same practicality can be found in both the Combi and passenger version, but with the added benefit of car-like comfort and features", said Dominique Correze, Vice President, Nissan's European LCV Business Unit.