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Nissan appears to have defied the laws of physics in creating Evalia, a car capable of housing seven adults in comfort yet which takes up little more load space than a typical family hatchback. The designers concentrated on the needs of a family with children on a budget to create Nissan's affordable people carrier.
"Many affordable family cars are compromised by their origins but Evalia is different. The multi-award winning NV200 provides the starting point for this exceptionally clever five or seven seater, which combines a spacious interior with strong driving dynamics in a desirable and well-priced package."
Sergio Alcaraz, Nissan's European Vice President, LCV Business Unit.
Nissan NV200 Evalia
At a glance
‘An affordable family car' is invariably a euphemism for the most basic type of transport available. But, thanks to Nissan, that's about to change.
The new Nissan NV200 Evalia provides affordable family transport with a difference: it's a long, long way from basic. Evalia offers seating for up to seven in genuine passenger car comfort. But there's more. Evalia drives likes a car and rides like a car... but has the interior space no ordinary family car can offer.
Conceived as part of the award-winning NV200 model range from the outset, Evalia is an MPV with LCV roots: tough and spacious, life proof and family resistant.
Although no bigger than rival car-derived vans, Evalia has almost as much interior space as larger light commercial vehicles. The result is an unbeatable combination of practicality and comfort.
"The same qualities that persuaded leading motoring journalists to crown NV200 as International Van of the Year can be found in Evalia. It's compact, easy to drive and extremely practical but it has the added benefits of comfortable seating for up to seven and many passenger car characteristics.
"Best of all it feels like a passenger car with quality features such as unique cloth trim, aluminium-like surrounds to the dials and centre console full trim," says Sergio Alcaraz.
Although sharing the same external dimensions as the other NV200 variants, Evalia has its own distinctive and distinguished looks. There are chrome highlights to the grille, while the bumpers, door handles and mirrors are all finished in body colour. EVALIA's side panels are fully glazed on Evalia.
Available with either five or seven seats, Evalia has ample room for passengers - even the rearmost pair of seats can take adults in comfort - and their luggage: even with all the seats in place, there's 900 litres of load space available. But with the rear seats folded, that available rises to a remarkable 2,900 litres.
At launch Evalia will be available with a choice of a 1.6-litre petrol engine or a 1.5 dCi diesel. A second, more potent, diesel will become available early in 2011.
NV200 Evalia in detail
NV200 is a genuine global project. Designed in Japan but with key contributions from Nissan's European R&D and design facilities, all models destined for sale in Europe are now built in Spain at Nissan's Barcelona manufacturing plant. In addition, the specific demands of the European market have meant that Evalia's detailed specification has been developed in Europe.
Built on a modified version of Nissan's B-platform - as used by a number of passenger cars including the new Juke - NV200 is blessed with road car levels of handling and ride comfort. Its compact external dimensions - 4.4m long, 1.86m tall and 1.69m wide - make it ideal for threading in and out of traffic.
Parking, too, is exceptionally easy, especially in tight car park bays where the pair of sliding side doors allows passenger ingress and egress no matter how little space there is between parked cars. The rear view camera helps to use every available centimetre and offers the tranquillity of constant control of the area behind the Evalia.
The clean, functional design combines styling cues from Nissan passenger cars and commercial vehicles but adds a few unique features such as the dramatic upswept swage line framing the door glass. The line runs all the way around the front of the vehicle to create a dramatic sense of movement, even when Evalia is stationary. The sculpted upswept line on the front doors is matched by a deep crease on the sliding rear side doors which, in turn, blends into the door guide rail on the rearmost side panel.
The rear side windows extend virtually the full length of the vehicle, and are unencumbered by doorframes or body pillars to complete a pure, uncluttered look. For much the same reason, door handles are flush rather than proud of the bodywork.
At the front, NV200 has been given its own unique look with a new interpretation of the Nissan grille which flows into the slim wraparound headlights. Chrome highlights on the grille distinguish Evalia from other versions of NV200, as do the body colour bumpers, doors handles and door mirrors.
At the rear, Evalia has an estate-car-like top hinged tailgate
Despite its compact dimensions, Evalia's long wheelbase - at 2725mm, it's 125mm longer than the Nissan Note, for example - helps create ample interior space.
The front suspension is mounted on a rubber-insulated subframe to isolate road noise and vibrations and features combined coil-over-strut assemblies and a forward lower link. An anti-roll bar is attached directly to the strut assembly for better body roll control under cornering while ripple control shock absorbers enhance ride comfort.
Ride comfort, safety and handling are further enhanced by NV200's rigid shell which features reinforced sills with no fewer than four cross members. Yet despite the added strengthening, the entire structure has been created to reduce overall weight as much as possible.
Other safety features include a high intensity cabin structure and extensive door impact absorption material to provide a safety shield around the occupants. Driver and front passenger airbags are standard. Pedestrian safety considerations include energy absorbing materials in the bumper, bonnet and cowl.
Standard features include electric power steering with variable assistance. Specially tuned for European tastes, the system gives strong self-centring at lower engine speeds for easier manoeuvring and less assistance at higher speeds for greater feel. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake Assist (EBA) and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) are standard. For added security, the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) is standard or optionally available depending on the model.
There are two engine options available at launch, one petrol and one diesel. Another diesel engine will be made available later. The petrol is Nissan's familiar light-weight, low friction HR 1.6-litre twin cam. Developing 110hp and 153 nM of torque, the all-aluminium design has four valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing, multi-point port injection and vane-type continuous intake cam phasing.
Lively performance is matched by long service intervals, low emissions and strong economy.
Both diesels are powered by versions of the Renault-Nissan Alliance K9K 1.5-litre dCi unit. Developed by Renault the 1,461cc common rail unit has been acclaimed for its economy, low emission and exceptional driveability.
At launch, the engine will be available in 85hp guise with 200 Nm of torque, and will be upgraded to 90hp on the Euro 5 compliant versions. In early 2011 a second version, fully Euro 5 compliant, developing 110hp and an impressive 240Nm will be added to the line up.
Oil changes on the Euro 5 compliant versions are needed every 20,000 kms or one year for the diesel versions and only every 30,000 kms or every one year for the petrol versions, while fuel economy highlights include a combined cycle figure from 7.2 l/100 kms for the petrol versions and from 5.2 l/100 kms.
In all cases, the engine is transversely mounted at the front and drives the front wheels through a five speed manual transmission.
The key to Evalia, however, can be found inside the spacious cockpit.
The commanding driving position is enhanced by unique dials and instruments, while the centre console is enhanced by aluminium-like effect trim around the radio and dash-mounted ‘joystick' gear lever. Aluminium effects can also be found around the door handles and on the steering wheel giving a quality look and feel.
Unique cloth trim also provides a quality feel at the same time as being easy to keep clean - a vital attribute of a practical family car. The centre row of seats, which have thicker backrests and longer cushions for added comfort, split on a 60/40 basis to increase load space. The seat backs fold flat and each assembly tumbles forward to ease access to the rear.
Folding tables incorporating cup holders are fitted to the rear of the front seats, beneath which are double pockets: a mesh outer pocket and a zippered interior one for added security. Another practical feature is the incorporation of a 12v power socket in the bottom of the front seat and accessible to passengers in the middle row - perfect for charging a mobile phone, using a portable DVD player, a portable console or a mobile fridge.
With sliding side doors on both sides, access to the middle seats couldn't be easier, especially with the provision of sturdy grab handles mounted high on the B-pillars.
Where fitted, the twin rear seats in the third row have enough head and leg room for adults to use them comfortably. When not needed for passengers, they can fold flat to increase load space or be folded away completely to either side of the rear cabin. All the seats remain with Evalia at all times.
There's full carpeting throughout while doors and side panels are covered in neat plastic mouldings many of which incorporate extra storage opportunities. There are fold-away cup holders in the panels beside the third row of seats, bottle holders in the sliding side doors as well as at either end of the instrument panel. The full-length roof lining incorporates three interior lamps, one above each row of seats.
"Evalia provides exceptional levels of space and comfort for families on a budget. Despite the compact exterior, clever packaging has maximised interior space.
"But there's much more to Evalia than good looks and a spacious interior - as part of the NV200 family, its pedigree is unchallenged: owners can be assured that its dynamic performance is outstanding," says Sergio Alcaraz.