Review: Nissan NV300 (2016)
All versions will carry three Euro pallets, powered by Renault's 1.6 or 2.0 dCi diesel engines, backed by Nissan's comprehensive five-year warranty.
More expensive to buy new than the Renault Trafic and Vauxhall Vivaro, Ford Transit Custom is better to drive.
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Nissan NV300 (2016): At A Glance
The Nissan NV300 is the sister van to the impressive Renault Trafic. Like its French counterpart, it majors on everyday comfort and practicality. However, unlike Renault, Nissan backs its medium-sized panel van with a comprehensive five-year 100,000 mile warranty as standard.
Available in two load lengths and two heights, the NV300 will easily carry three Euro pallets or up to 10 plasterboard sheets of 2.5 metres, while a bulkhead hatch - standard on Acenta and Tekna trims - will extend the load length to accommodate a couple of ladders or large planks of wood.
With maximum payloads ranging from 1073g to 1310kg and gross vehicle weights spanning from 2.7 to 2.9 tonnes, the NV300 is hugely capable when it comes to moving considerable loads.
The single sliding door provides a wide loading space that measures almost a metre in width, while the rear doors open to 180 degrees and lock for simple loading and unloading. The NV300 can also be fitted with a tow bar and pull up to 2.0 tonnes, when hooked to a braked trailer.
The NV300 is powered by a Renault-sourced 1.6-litre dCi engine, available with 95PS, 120PS, 125PS and 145PS - the two former are single turbo, while the latter pair use a twin-turbocharger. All are linked to a six-speed manual gearbox (there's no auto option) and all of the engines use AdBlue. Claimed economy ranges from 43 to 47mpg.
In 2020 a 2.0 dCi engine was added to the NV300 line-up, with 120PS, 145PS or 170PS. A dual clutch automatic gearbox was also added, while the 1.6 dCi was scaled back to a sole 95PS version.
All versions of the NV300 are easy to drive, with nicely weighted steering and a comfortable, car-like, driving position. The ride is excellent and this, combined with the low levels of exterior noise, makes it easy to drive the NV300 for long periods without feeling tired.
Like many modern vans, the interior has a number of features that allow the driver to transform the cab into a mobile office. There's an optional laptop table, clipboard and mounting points for a smartphone and tablet computer. All NV300s get three seats up front, although legroom in the middle seat is a little restricted due to the position of the gearbox, which might make it a tight fit for a trio of large adults.
If the truth be told, the NV300 is not very much different to the Trafic and older Vauxhall Vivaro in the metal. It uses the same body and engines. The interior is almost identical too, bar some slight changes in trim. However, the Nissan is backed by a longer warranty, which makes it much more appealing when it comes to long term running costs.
What does a Nissan NV300 (2016) cost?
Nissan NV300 (2016): What's It Like Inside?
The load area of the NV300 is identical to that of the Renault Trafic, which means even the smallest L1 version is capable of carrying three Euro pallets. All get a full height steel bulkhead as standard, along with a nearside sliding door and pair of unglazed rear doors that open 180 degrees and lock in place for easy loading and unloading.
An additional side sliding door is available as a factory fit option, while Acenta and Tekna models get a load hatch at the bottom of the bulkhead. This allows ladders, metal poles and planks of wood to be loaded. For builders, this hatch will be a must have, owing to the fact that it increases the load length of the van to 3.75 metres (L1) and 4.15 metres (L2).
Both the side and rear doors provide wide loading areas, which makes it simple to load the NV300 up in the shortest amount of time. Nissan offers a range of factory-fit options to improve the van's practicality too, with protective wood trim for the sidewalls, LED lighting and up to 18 interior hooks for securing loads. A tow bar, with electric hook up is also available, allowing the NV300 to tow up to 2.0 tonnes.
Maximum payloads range from 1073g to 1310kg, while the gross vehicle weights span from 2.7 to 2.9 tonnes, depending on which roof height and load length you choose. In its largest form (L2, H2) the NV300 will provide an impressive load volume of 8.6m3, while the smallest provides 5.2m3.
The cabin is one of the best of any panel van on sale today, with three seats and lots of all-round comfort. Admittedly, the middle seat is a little cramped, owing to the position of the gear stick, but only the largest of passengers will find this to be a problem. The driver's seat is well supported and comfortable, with lots of adjustment and padding across the upper leg and lower back.
Cabin storage is plentiful too, with deep door pockets and a pair of large gloveboxes. There is no shortage of cup holders either and there are also useful hooks for hanging work clothes and jackets.
If you find that your van doubles up as a mobile office half the time, then the NV300 in Acenta trim will be suitable. The middle seat folds down to provide a laptop table, while a smartphone dock and A4 clipboard is also included. The middle seat also lifts up to provide storage for a hard hat, workwear or hiding valuables away.
What's the Nissan NV300 (2016) like to drive?
Easy to drive and comfortable, the NV300 handles more like a large car than a van. Road and engine noise levels are well-suppressed, while the nicely weighted steering makes the Nissan a rewarding drive on a twisty A or B road. The supple ride also makes it a good motorway van, with the refined body control and low noise levels cutting driver fatigue over a long journey.
The NV300’s high driving position and large door mirrors make it an easy van to park and drive around town. The comfortable driver's seat has lots of height and lumber adjustment while there's a central armrest, fitted as standard.
The Renault-sourced 1.6 dCi diesel engine is extremely strong and comes with single or twin-turbocharging. The latter providing the best balance between economy and performance. The single-turbo units - with 95PS or 120PS - are not particularly bad, but they can feel a little breathless when it comes to long distance driving with a full load.
The twin-turbo engines - with 125PS or 145PS - provide a much better acceleration, without punishing you at the fuel pumps. Officially, both will exceed 46mpg, while the higher torque levels - a respective 320Nm or 340NM from 1500rpm - makes them ideal for motorway work, with the van happy to sit in a higher gear for longer.
All of the engines are linked to a six-speed manual gearbox - there are no automatic options - while hill start assist is fitted as standard across the range. This should help improve clutch life when it comes to pulling away on a steep incline.
In 2020 Nissan revised the NV300 model line-up by adding a Renault-sourced 2.0-litre diesel. The four-cylinder unit produces 120PS, 145PS or 170PS and meets the Euro6d-TEMP emissions standards. Fans of the old 1.6 dCi engine can still order it with the updated NV300, but it's limited to 95PS only.
Tech levels are sparse on the entry-level Visia trim, but Acenta models do get rear parking sensors, a smartphone dock and a foldable middle seat along with a fixed table backrest, A4 clipboard and under seat storage for a hard hat or work bag. The range topping Tekna trim adds a seven-inch colour touchscreen, navigation and cruise control to the van, along with automatic headlights and windscreen wipers.
Grip control, with settings for mud, snow or sand, is available as a paid-for option, along with an anti-rollover system that automatically applies the brakes to one or more wheels if it detects a potential hazardous situation. A reversing camera - with a display in the rear view mirror - is also available as a factory-fit option.