NV400: DISTINCTIVE LOOKS AND DELIVERING REAL VERSATILITY
Low operating costs and a configuration to suit every need
Nissan's growing reputation in the LCV market, already riding high thanks to the praise given to NV200, will enjoy a further boost with the launch of the NV400 medium-sized van and truck range.
Based on architecture common to the Master from Alliance partner Renault, NV400 has a distinctly different look developed specially for the vehicle by designers and engineers at Nissan Design Europe and Nissan Technical Centre Europe respectively.
The result, which adapts Nissan's now familiar ‘balanced angle strut' look and other Nissan models, but also underlines the rugged nature of the range. Everything ahead of the windscreen is new, NV400 having its own bonnet, front wings, grille and front bumper. Even the headlights, complete with integrated running lights, are unique to NV400.
"The bold Nissan look helps us differentiate NV400 from its competitors and gives us a distinctive face in the market. With NV200 and now NV400, there is no doubt Nissan means attractive functionality and great choice in the LCV market," said Sebastien Danvel, General Manager, Marketing Vans and Trucks, Nissan Europe.
On paper, NV400 replaces the respected Nissan Interstar range. In reality it is a far larger and more versatile range of models with gross vehicle weights (GVW) ranging between 2.8 to 4.5 cwt. There are front- and rear-wheel drive versions, three wheelbase options, four different lengths and three different heights. Cargo volumes range from 8 m3 to 17 m3 and there are three power options along with six-speed manual and robotized transmissions.
Among the key development goals have been ease of use, overall comfort and practicality - plus low operator costs.
The NV400 offers versatility, too. As well as factory-built panel vans, combis and chassis cabs for specialist body builders, conversion companies will offer crew vans, boxbodies, refrigerated vans, tippers and drop-side trucks.
"NV400 is the most versatile vehicle to wear the Nissan badge," said Danvel. "It takes us into a much wider market segment thanks to the great breadth and depth of the range."
NV400 in detail
The distinctive face of NV400 has been developed from the ‘balanced angle strut' look that dominates the company's tough 4x4 models. Elements unique to NV400 are the bonnet, front wings, headlamps, bumper and grille.
Dominated by the circular Nissan badge, the central black honeycomb grille is dissected by wide angled struts. These extend the distinctive twin indentations on the bonnet to form a broad ‘V' shape to the nose of the vehicle. On either side of the silver painted struts are smaller air intake grilles which are themselves flanked by broad trapezoidal lamp assemblies.
The deep and robust matt black bumper incorporates indentations for driving/fog lamps and a central air intake grille on either side of which are distinctive scoops which not only add strength to the assembly but also adds to the purposeful look of the van. ‘Self-assured' is the impression designers at NDE have successfully created for NV400.
The design team was led by Studio Chief Designer Atsushi Maeda. He said: "NV400 has a genuinely different look.
"The bonnet line on NV400 is very high, which helps give a more pronounced and dominant front end. This, in turn, has allowed us to use a taller and broader version of the angle strut grille.
"We have ensured the headlamp treatment is quite distinctive, too. The grille and headlight assemblies have been designed as a single piece of architecture rather than a series of interlocking shapes to give that grounded, stable shape which has the added benefit of better light performance. The result exaggerates the vehicle's width making it appearing more dynamic," he added.
From a practical perspective, NV400 offers a far wider range of model types, sizes and options than the outgoing Interstar.
For example, operators have the choice between front or rear-wheel drive versions for the first time with Nissan vans. Front-wheel drive means a lower kerb weight for improved payloads, a lower frame height and improved fuel economy. Pneumatic rear suspension is an option on front-drive versions, keeping ride height constant no matter whether the van is loaded or empty, and it also permits the rear of the van to be lowered to ease loading.
Rear-wheel drive, on the other hand, offers greater choice for chassis cab conversions and thanks to its high rear axle capacity is better suited to medium duty applications. With its revised payload distribution it performs better when fully loaded. Rear-drive versions are available with single or twin rear wheels.
To underline the versatility of the NV400 offering, there are no fewer than three wheelbase options, four different lengths and three different heights. GVWs range from 2.8 cwt to 4.5 cwt while cargo volumes range from 8 to 17 cu m.
Three lengths: 5048mm; 5548mm; 6198mm
Three heights: 2307mm; 2499mm; 2749mm
Three GVWs: 2.8T; 3.3T; 3.5T
Cargo lengths: 2583mm to 3733mm
Two lengths: 6198mm; 6848mm
Two heights: 2557mm; 2815mm
Two GVWs: 3.5T; 4.5T
Cargo lengths: 3733mm to 4383mm
Engine and drivetrain
Power comes from a direct injection, four-cylinder, 16-valve turbo diesel newly developed by Renault. Displacing 2.3-litres, power outputs range, as before, from 100, through 125 to 150HP (74kW, 92kW and 107kW respectively) but torque figures have improved to 285, 310 and 350Nm respectively. All are Euro 5 compliant.
The 100HP and front-wheel 125HP versions feature a fixed turbocharger as standard, though a variable geometry turbo is optionally available on the fwd 125HP model. The variable geometry turbo delivers greater torque and, therefore, engine flexibility and is standard on all 150HP models as well as all rear-wheel drive versions powered by the 125HP engine.
The engine is mounted transversely in front-wheel drive versions and longitudinally in rear-wheel drive models and linked to the driven wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. This is also available in robotized form as an option across most of the range.
Derived from the 2.5 dCi unit that powered Interstar, the new engine offers up to 30Nm more torque than before despite being 200cc smaller. The reduction in cubic capacity has no adverse effect on performance but does result in improved fuel consumption, while the fitting as standard of a diesel particulate filter also helps lower emissions and ensure compliancy with Euro 5 regulations. The lowest CO2 figure is an impressive 195g/km.
Other benefits include a quieter engine and lower maintenance requirements - major oil change service intervals are now 40,000 kms or every two years while coolant changes are now every 160,000 kms or six years. In addition, the unit now features a maintenance-free camshaft drive chain rather than a belt. The vehicle warranty is a full three years.
Such is the efficiency of the new engine that fuel consumption improvements mean the driver of a standard 100hp panel van can expect a range of around 1080 km on a tank of diesel. But if the standard 80 litre tank is replaced by an optional 105 litre tank, the range rises to a remarkable 1350 kms, an increase of more than 20 percent.
Suspension features a MacPherson strut-type independent system at the front with an anti-roll bar, while rear suspension incorporates sturdy leaf springs. Front-wheel drive versions have a single leaf spring while rear-drive models have either a dual spring (single rear wheel) or triple leaf (double rear wheel).
Interior and equipment
In developing NV400, engineers have made the driving experience as close to that of a passenger car as possible. The new cabin is slightly longer than before (+5.7cm) to create extra leg room while the seats are wider and longer and feature a practical arm rest for extra comfort on long journeys. Heating elements and a suspended driver's seat are available as options.
To create the ideal driving position, the smaller diameter steering wheel is height adjustable and set in a more vertical position than before while the driver's seat is also height adjustable. Driver comfort extends to a more logical cabin layout with conveniently placed controls.
Standard or optional equipment levels also reflect passenger car values with available features including Nissan Intelligent Key, automatic air conditioning, automatic lights and wipers, daytime running lights, parking sensors, cruise control with speed limiter, trip computer, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity and USB and iPod playback through the sound system. A rear view parking camera is also optionally available to make parking manoeuvres as easy as possible.
Another option is a sophisticated real-time navigation system developed jointly with one of the acknowledged experts in the field. Called Nissan Connect by TomTom, the system has fully integrated roof-mounted screen with separate remote control operation.
As well as conventional mapping and route planning, owners can subscribe to TomTom's Live Service content which includes live HD Traffic updates, fixed and mobile speed camera warnings, weather forecasting and access to Google Local Search, a vast database which lists the most up-to-date contact information of literally millions of business and services: perfect for checking delivery address. A fully integrated roof-mounted tachograph is also available as an option.
Practical touches include ample interior storage space including under seat storage, plentiful cup holders and door pockets not to mention a folding centre seat which, depending on the trim level, can incorporate a swivelling table on the backrest...
Safety is also a priority with twin front airbags as standard and side airbags optionally available. Active safety extends to the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) which is standard on all rear-wheel drive models and optional on front-wheel drive versions. Anti-lock brakes are standard on all grades.
Practicality and versatility
But the real key to NV400's success will be the practicality and versatility offered by the wide variety of vehicle configurations.
The panel van alone, for example, is available in 20 different versions - based on dimensions and cargo capacity - before trim grades and engine options are considered. NV400 is practical, too, with wide sliding side doors and rear French doors which can be gazed 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 which can hold no fewer than five Euro pallets.
The cargo area can be supplied with wood side panelling and floor trim for maximum protection and there are four different partition walls available 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.
Also available are no fewer than four Nissan branded conversions, fitted to the vehicle at the end of the production line by leading specialist companies Durisotti, which is responsible for a crew van and box body, and Scatollini, which builds the tipper and dropside versions of NV400.
Building these variants on the line gives many benefits for customers. Each is covered by Nissan's comprehensive three-year warranty, lead times are reduced and each vehicle is fully in line with the Nissan's promise of delivering quality at an affordable price.
Both tipper and dropside versions are available on a wide variety of bases including chassis cab and crew cab, front and real-wheel drive and in a number of different lengths. The tipper is made from galvanized steel - aluminium is an option - and is available with one way or three way tipper actions.
The crew van, ideal for a number of industries including construction, can seat up to seven: three in the front and four in a second row - and still leave ample cargo space behind, while the box version provides an exceptional cargo space of up to 22 m3 with the option of a tail-lift for easy loading and unloading. Both are also available on front and rear drive models and in a number of different lengths.
Chassis cabs will also be made available for other conversion firms to provide a wide range of specialist equipment, anything from refrigerated vans to recovery vehicles.
"NV400 does far more than replace Interstar. It is a far wider range of vans and trucks offering greater payloads, cargo space and many more features. Engines are more powerful, more economical and cleaner and the cabin is quieter and more comfortable with more storage space and plenty of practical touches," said Danvel.
"In short, NV400 offers far greater operator choice and will quickly become the benchmark vehicle in what has become, for Nissan, a much wider market segment."