A stop/start system that kills the engine if it is allowed to idle wastefully at the lights or in a traffic jam should help keep fuel consumption and CO2 emissions down. All you need to do to start the engine again is dip the clutch. The system can be switched on and off using a button on the dashboard.
Press the Eco button on the gearbox console and you immediately decrease engine power and alter throttle pedal response. By doing so you make little noticeable difference to your on-the-road performance if you are unladen or lightly laden but can enjoy up to 10% better fuel economy. The only time you may struggle is if you are tackling a steep hill fully laden.
Permanently functioning is Smart Energy Management, which recovers energy every time you brake or decelerate. It too helps minimise fuel usage. Quoted fuel consumption is 47.9mpg on the official combined cycle. We averaged closer to 44.0mpg with extensive use of the Eco button on motorway journeys.
An alarm is fitted and side rubbing strips help protect the paintwork from minor damage.
The manufacturer is to be praised for the comprehensive warranty package it has assembled – a key reason for putting the NV300 on your shopping list.
It is protected by a five-year/100,000-mile warranty with roadside assistance provided for the duration. The paintwork warranty lasts for five years too, while the anti-perforation corrosion guarantee lasts for 12 years.
Service intervals are set at two years/25,000 miles and in our view should be complemented by interim safety checks, especially if the van is working in an arduous environment.
Nissan NV300 L1H1 125 2700 Acenta
Price (ex VAT) £23,455
Price range (ex VAT) £21,015-£28,210
Gross payload 1,081kg
Load length 2,537mm
Load width (min/max) 1,268/1,662mm
Load bay height 1,387mm
Load volume 5.2m3
Loading height 552mm
Rear door aperture 1,320x1,391mm
Side door aperture 1,284x1,030mm
Gross vehicle weight 2,820kg
Braked trailer towing weight 2,000kg
Residual value 15.3%*
Cost per mile 46.0p
Engine size/power 1,598cc, 125hp @ 3,500rpm
Torque 320Nm @ 1,500rpm
Fuel economy 47.9mpg
Fuel tank 80 litres
Service intervals 2yrs/25,000mls
Insurance group 37
Price as tested £24,085
(* after 4yrs/80,000mls – source: KwikCarcost)
Options fitted: Ply lining (£630)
Ford Transit Custom
Verdict: The van to beat in this sector of the market is Ford’s all-conquering Transit Custom, and beating it is going to be a big ask for any manufacturer. Performance, ride and handling are all class-leading, residuals are to die for and it is now on offer with an auto gearbox. Facelifted models goes on sale early next year with a plug-in hybrid due for 2019.
Verdict: Once again the badge engineers are in the ascendancy, with Peugeot’s Expert also available through Citroen dealers as the Dispatch and through Toyota dealers as the Proace. A big improvement on its elderly predecessor, it’s a well-thought-out package boasting most of the facilities the driver is likely to need.
Verdict: Look beyond the uninspiring internal and external styling and you will discover a van that sets a praiseworthy standard of safety and is rewarding to drive at almost all levels. Built to an extraordinarily high standard that gives you the impression that it will last forever, the Transporter remains a cost-effective workhorse.