Nissan NV200 (2009 - 2019)


1.5dCi SE

reviewed by Anonymous on 22 August 2023
Overall rating
How it drives
Fuel economy
Tax/Insurance/Warranty costs
Cost of maintenance and repairs
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Overall reliability

Good but...

At the ripe old age of 23, hiring a van from one of the main rental companies (think Enterprise, Arnold Clark...) to relocate from the North-East of Scotland to Norwich was near as damn it impossible at a reasonable price. Man-math dictated, at the time, that the only solution was to swap my then faulty 16 plate Skoda Fabia for a 109,000 mile, 63 plate NV200. So, a short drive down to Edinburgh, an unsuccessful haggle, a week and £6k later, I was the happy owner of my first white van.

At time of purchase, I knew a few bits needed doing to it, notably a cambelt (due every 95K miles) and gearbox oil service, neither of which had ever been done. There was also a knock from the rear which I initially thought might be the plywood floor rattling as we went over bumps, but later turned out to be worn anti-roll bar links. Sadly, due to time constraints of the move, these bits would have to wait as we were due to drive the 500 or so miles to our new home the day after pickup. Needles to say, the drive, with the back full to the brim with years worth of stuff, was very sedate, not knowing how much life the cambelt still had in it.

The van successfully completed the drive though and I was happy to report no issues for the first few weeks. I booked it in with the local Nissan dealer for a cambelt service (£500+) and their CitNow video came back fine, aside from a loose fuel pump cover (missing bolt) and tyres which had seen better days.

By the time autumn gave way to winter and cold weather started setting in, a strange rattle developed on start-up and disappeared within a few seconds. I booked it in to the dealership again who this time came back with a list of faults and repairs which added up to over £1500. So much for a cheap van.

It turns out that the van had suffered a lower front end bump of some sort which had crumpled the lower front cross member causing the intercooler to be insecure and the radiator to move and touch the engine.
The under tray was also missing, presumably from the impact, and the wheel arch liners were also broken and insecure. I had not noticed these when I inspected the van initially, and have never been in an accident so how these came to be is still a mystery.

Thankfully, I knew a local mechanic who was able to complete the work for a fraction of the dealer's price and we managed to get the van in a tidy condition. The start-up rattle, despite my concerns that it was coming from the engine itself, turned out to be the intercooler hitting the engine block on cold starts so it disappeared after the cross member was replaced.

By November, the van had done a few thousand miles, predominantly taking my partner and I to various social activities in town, and had also completed a few thousand motorway miles back and forth to Scotland. In town, the torquey 1.5 diesel achieved a respectable 44mpg, with 46mpg achievable with careful driving at 65 on a long run.

Needless to say, the NV200 is not designed for motorway driving and it is unfair to grade it on its performance there. That said, despite the noise (3,000 rpm at 70mph) thanks to the back which turns into an amplifier, the NV200 proved to be relatively comfortable on longer journeys, with the high seating position beating that of any SUV on the market. A 6 speed 'box would have been a nice touch and I did consider a conversion but by December, had decided that I wasn't going to keep the van long enough to justify the cost.

Indeed, bills were already racking up for the little NV200. New brakes, pads, anti-roll bar links and a cabin heater fan ended up costing a few hundred pounds, none of which were particularly easy to fit myself, so became my mechanic's problem. The heater fan is especially tricky as, on right hand drive cars, it requires you to remove the clutch pedal which can only be achieved using multiple socket extensions and extra long sockets. This cost over an hour and a half in labour, but at least ended up costing far less than what the dealership quoted.

The final nail in the coffin for the van was when the started motor died and left me stranded. This seems to be a relatively common issue on these engines but is not an easy fix. A call to the AA and a bump start later, I drove the van to my mechanic's once again (I had become a regular at this point) and was relieved of £300 for the fix. Not a nice bill to receive when you have just been made redundant!

On top of that, the lateral door seals had started trapping water which inevitably led to rust forming on the underside of the roof. Two thing pieces of metal sandwiched together in such a vulnerable spot really isn't great design from Nissan. Sadly, that wasn't the only piece of poor design.

We decided to spend Christmas in Scotland and the week before we were due to head up, Aberdeen was blanketed in a thick layer of snow, shutting down half the city and causing numerous accidents. With family based 40 or so minutes north of city in a very rural location, I desperately searched for winter tyres to fit to the van. It turns out that very few manufacturers make 14inch van tyres, and even fewer suppliers stock them. Even the local Nissan dealership was unable to find any and recommended talking directly to their supplier who ultimately never answered. That said, we survived on summer tyres just fine and made our way up and down without too many issues.

An issue we did encounter however, was condensation in the rear which lead to the van wanting to rust from the inside out. Even with 2 UniBond Aero 360 dehumidifiers, by the time spring came, rust was visibly eating away at some of the metal in places which would have been nearly impossible to fix. If you do intend on buying an NV200, be prepared to buy some car dehumidifiers and keep them in there year-round.

In May, we headed to the south of France by the Spanish border to pick up some furniture and a few cases of wine. We decided to avoid motorways as much as possible, as 130kph/80mph is achievable (and far more pleasant than 70mph on UK roads) but not really ideal. Over the entire trip, averaging 50mph, we achieved a very respectable 49mpg which I was very impressed by. What was also impressive was how capable the van felt as a road-trip vehicle. It takes a double mattress with not too many issues in the back, has ample storage throughout and can, allegedly, be insulated and carpeted at a reasonably low cost. Cabin storage is spectacular with a very generous glove box, ample space beneath and behind the seats, cupholders, and other storage doted around the place. Without the bulkhead (which is a nightmare to remove), and a few little upgrades, this would make a fantastic lifestyle vehicle.

However, by the time we had completed that roadtrip, we felt it was time to move on. The van spent most of its time on the driveway as I work from home, and we really couldn't justify having it sit there just to take the bikes to the broads at the weekend.

That said, for someone looking for a van bigger than a Caddy but not quite as big as a Transit or Transporter, this is a great little runaround. It fits perfectly in multi storey car parks, has great visibility and, if you are lucky, can be reliable. Insurance costs are high though (£700/year for 2 youngsters under 25 with clean licences - quoted £1,800 by Aviva to renew this year) and road tax has also gone up which may deter some. Parts are easily accessible (EuroCarParts were my go-to) and relatively cheap if you stay away from dealers.

For anyone looking to buy one, I highly recommend spending some time on the NV200 owner's forum ( where there are some very supportive owners who are always willing to share their experiences.

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reviewed by T44RXX on 26 January 2020
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About this van

MPG53.3–57.6 mpg
Real MPG82.1%

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