With a range of efficient new engines offering more performance and lower fuel consumption, new safety equipment, greater comfort and a host of new technologies, the 2015 Nissan NV400 is ready to continue Nissan’s offensive on Europe’s light commercial vehicle market.
Introduced to great acclaim in 2011, the NV400 has proven to be a front-runner in the heavy van and chassis cab segment of the market – thanks to its versatility, the wide choice of models and the strength and standing of the Nissan dealer network.
The new NV400 builds on this reputation to create a formidable range of highly efficient vehicles perfectly in tune with today’s demands for a practical working van with a low cost of ownership.
Some the most significant changes can be found behind Nissan’s familiar grille where the range of dCi engines has grown to five, offering more performance and greater refinement. But despite the power increases, fuel economy is actually better than before.
All have a common base – a state-of-the art 2.3-litre common rail/direct injection, four-cylinder, 16-valve turbo diesel developed by Alliance partner Renault.
A pair of single turbo units produce 110hp/285Nm (previously 100hp) and 125hp/310Nm and these are joined by a pair of newly developed Twin Turbo units, developing 135hp/340Nm and 165hp/360Nm. Also available is a 150hp/350Nm version of the engine that has a variable geometry single turbo and is available only with a robotised semi-automatic gearbox.
The new Twin Turbo models are seen as ideal for vans and chassis cabs needed for heavy-duty work or for longer journeys. The technology uses a small turbocharger to generate increased torque at low revs (up to 1,500 rpm) for more rapid acceleration at city speeds or when fully laden.
At higher engine speeds, the larger turbo takes over to provide more power and a usefully wider torque band that is especially appreciated at motorway speeds. Thanks to this increased flexibility, there is less need to change gear to maintain momentum. This not only reduces driver fatigue but also enhances fuel economy.
The Twin Turbo models also benefit from Stop & Start technology and regenerative braking via a new Energy Smart Management (ESM) system that together enables the 165hp version, for example, to return an impressive economy figure of 6.9litres/100km over the combined cycle.
It is estimated that the new 165hp NV400 will consume up to 1.5 litres/100km less than its 150hp predecessor, a significant saving of up to €1,500 over three years.
Drivers can contribute to improved fuel economy as well: the new NV400 has a number of on-board eco-driving aids including driving style and gear shift indicators and an ECO mode switch which limits harsh acceleration by limiting available engine torque as well as optimising the climate control system settings.
New NV400 also benefits from a number of advanced technologies providing greater safety and enhanced cabin comfort.
One such feature is Extended Grip, which is available on both front- and rear- wheel drive versions of NV400. Operated via a dashboard button, Extended Grip works with the new ESC system to optimise traction in tricky conditions such as mud, sand and snow. Extended Grip transfers engine torque between each of the driven wheels as required and by as much as 25 per cent to help start off and to maintain traction.
Another feature is Hill Start Assist, which automatically operates when pulling away on a slope with a gradient of more than 3 per cent. Primed by pressing the footbrake, when the driver moves his foot from brake pedal to throttle the system ensures the van will not move backwards for two seconds… by which time the driver will be ready to pull away.
Towing safety is addressed by Trailer Sway Control, which is fitted when the tow bar option is specified. Should a trailer start to sway from side to side, the system reduces available engine torque and applies the brakes to the driven wheels to bring the trailer back into line.
A new Wide View Mirror enhances driver visibility. Mounted on the passenger side sun visor, the mirror more than doubles the angle of vision towards the far side of the vehicle, helping the driver to keep a check on traditional blind spots. It also operates as an extra visual aid when reversing.
Passenger versions of NV400, meanwhile, benefit from a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System that alerts the driver to a loss of pressure in any of the tyres via a dashboard warning light.
Improvements have also been made to the in-cabin sound system, with a new single-DIN DAB digital radio that incorporates Bluetooth hands-free telephone connectivity and a CD player.
The premium sound system combines a CD player and MP3 playback with Bluetooth hands-free telephone connectivity and USB and iPod inputs. Albums and tracks can be selected via steering wheel remote controls with the titles displayed on the multi-media screen.
As before, the NV400 range encompasses a vast array of models and configurations. There are front- and rear-wheel drive versions, three wheelbase options, four different lengths and three different heights while cargo volumes range from 8 to 17 cu m.
There are also a variety of different bodywork options. In addition to factory-built panel vans, combis and chassis cabs for specialist body builders, conversion companies offer crew vans, box vans, tippers, drop-side trucks and minibuses.
NV400 is practical, too, with wide sliding side doors and rear French doors which can be glazed or unglazed and which can open up to 270 degrees. Depending on the model, a standard Euro pallet can be loaded sideways through the side doors: the opening on the three longer models is 1270mm wide - easily capable of taking a 1200mm wide pallet.
Generous cargo lengths start at 2583mm in front-wheel drive versions and rise to 3733mm, while rear-wheel drive models start at 3733mm with an impressive 4383mm available in the largest version. This can hold up to, five Euro pallets.
The cargo area can be supplied with wood side paneling and floor trim for maximum protection and there are no fewer than four different partition walls available, ranging from a 1/3 tubular partition behind the driver to a full width glazed wall with protective grille. Lashing hooks are provided on the floor and in the C and D pillars.
“NV400 has already proved to be a versatile and popular vehicle with fleet operators and owners/ drivers alike, and the new 2015 model year version is certain to build on that popularity.
“The improvements we have made not only make it a safer and even more pleasant place to be, but also significantly enhance the driving experience at the same time as reducing overall running costs, thanks to improved fuel economy. It’s a win/win for everyone,” said Ponz Pandikuthira, Director of Light Commercial Vehicles in Europe.