The Nissan NP200 seemed a bit lacking when we tested it in 1,6 8V petrol form last year. But, that’s not the case at all with the diesel model, discovers GAVIN MYERS.
It’s amazing how a simple change can make something feel so different. When the difference is between a petrol or a diesel engine, I usually find (depending on the application, of course) that the petrol engine makes for the better experience. It was a pleasant surprise, then, when the Nissan NP200 1,5dCi arrived for testing and completely threw a spanner in the works.
In September last year we tested the 1,6 8V petrol version, which was a bit lethargic and a slight disappointment. However, with 63 kW at 3 750 r/min and 200 Nm at 1 900 r/min from its 1,5 litres, the dCi proved to be a very enjoyable vehicle to drive.
The small-capacity diesel pulls energetically and smoothly so from low in the rev range, sustaining the urge to the next gear. On that subject, we did miss third gear on more than one occasion. Nissan claims that the NP200 1,5 dCi returns fuel consumption of just 5,3 l/100 km and 140 g/km CO2 emissions.
The diesel powerplant also complements the NP200’s other strong features. Its ride, for instance, is very good; the NP200 feels solid on the road and does not “jitter” over bumps and ruts as is typical of most unladen bakkies. The good ride and chassis control are welcome and make the vehicle easy to live with. Thankfully so; as the seats are flat and (at first at least) not very comfortable.
The driving position is ever so slightly compromised by the lack of steering wheel adjustment – something that would be welcome. The interior is well put together, despite some minor rough finishes, and offers good space. There is a handy 300 litres of storage space behind the seats, but not much else in the way of convenient storage space.
Our high-spec SE model included niceties such as: air-conditioning; a Blaupunkt CD/radio with auxiliary input; front foglamps; electric windows and mirrors; remote central locking and a height-adjustable driver’s seat (this very welcome feature addressed some of our previous issues with the NP200’s ergonomics and driving position).
External distinguishing styling features include 15-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured bumpers, chunky fender over-runners and side sills – all adding a bit of zest to the usual neat styling. It also has dual airbags and ABS braking with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD).
The standard rubberised load bay offers up 1 807 (l) x 1 024 (w) x 535 mm (h) of loading space, and an 800 kg payload.
Retailing at a competitive R199 800, the NP200 1,5 dCi SE comes with a standard six-year/150 000 km warranty and six-year anti-corrosion warranty. With the fitment of the diesel engine, the NP200 becomes a vehicle one could happily live with every day.