The new Nissan NV200 we first saw in concept back in 2007 will debut at the Geneva Motor Show boasting either commercial cargo-carrying or passenger-carrying applications. Maybe the Ford Transit Connect should watch its back.
The Nissan NV200 was previously telegraphed as an in-development product last fall but Nissan was tight-lipped on details. Now they've spilled the beans on what is going to be a very fierce competitor in the compact commercial market. The headline figures which set it apart from the current market leader the Ford Transit Connect are a seven passenger option and a maximum interior cargo length of 6.5 feet — half a foot longer than the Ford. It also boasts a higher payload capacity of 1700 lbs versus 1600 lbs along with a lower liftover height. Seems the Nissan folks set their sights at class leading figures when it comes to cargo space. An odd choice was to make the seven passenger seats fixed in the van, and fold away for cargo duties. Maybe a good idea, maybe an Achilles heel.
The avenue where it falls behind a bit is in the powertrain with a relatively weak 1.6 liter four cylinder developing 106 HP and 112 lb-ft of torque. Also optional is a Renault-sourced 1.5 dCi diesel making 84 HP and a much more stout 147 lb-ft of torque. Both engines get mated to five speed manual or automatic transmissions all powering the front wheels. It rides on a McPherson strut front, leaf spring rear suspension just like the rest of the competition.
The NV200 will make it's global debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March where hopefully we can get an idea of pricing to go along with these new details.
NV200: NISSAN'S NEW SMALL VERSATILE PEOPLE CARRIER AND VAN
ROLLE, Switzerland (February 24, 2009) – Nissan is preparing a move into the global small van market with the introduction of its all new, spacious yet compact, NV200 small van.
At a glance:
* Three different configurations of NV200
* Sliding side doors for ease of entry
* 4.1 m^3 of loading space in van version
* Economical petrol and diesel engines
* Low cost of ownership
* Family version is seven seat people carrier
* 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, which will be shown at Geneva Motor Show next month.
"The Nissan LCV business is in a phase of expansion even in these challenging financial circumstances," said Andy Palmer, Senior Vice President, Global Product Planning, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. "We aim to expand our business with smart new products and services that meet the needs of our customers, both in Europe and around the world."
He added: "The NV200 is our proposal for a global small van. It offers outstanding utility and smart convenience with low cost of ownership, packaged in a highly functional design. With this vehicle, Nissan aims to meet the needs of customers looking for a functional, adaptable light van. We will launch the NV200 in Japan before summer, in Europe in autumn 2009 and then in China and other markets."
Maximised cargo area
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).
With front-wheel drive and the adoption of a highly compact rear suspension system, the 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, while at 520mm from ground level, the floor itself is the lowest in the class to ease loading, helping to boost the cargo volume to 4.1m3. Maximum payload is 771kg.
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 version.
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 the Combi 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.
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.
While the van is optionally 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, 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.
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) 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.
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.
The NV200 is available with an optional rear view parking camera, a first for a van in this segment, while the cabin is full of storage spaces, pockets and cup/bottle holders. There is also a secret storage space large enough to hide a 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 and passenger 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, but 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.