When Nissan decided to replace the champ bakkie, I’m sure there were plenty of loyal fans who were totally devastated. It was cheap and affordable and certainly had its own demographic. It was also tiny and there weren’t many six foot plus guys that would fit it.
Meet the NP200; The replacement for the model previously mentioned. Now we big okes at least have a small bakkie that we can fit in.
The top of the range model we tested is the 1.5dci SE and it retails at R188 000. A lot of money for a little half tonner in this category, you might think, but a really nice looking bakkie with some extra features over the stock entry level models. For starters, the bumpers are color-coded and fitted with nice black plastic arches. There are also foglights fitted and the dials are surrounded by a nice chrome ring and white dials. It does look sporty in its own way.
The engine is a1.5 Turbo diesel mill making 63kw and 200nm – torque is really the only thing about the engine that makes it preferable over the regular petrol models. Torque is available from low and, as expected with such a small engine, there is a little Turbo lag present. When you eventually get in boost there is a loud roar and a wave of torque; great for hauling loads or towing a trailer!
The 5 speed box is smooth and copes with the torque well. It does not feel like a typical diesel where you stirr the gears about a gazillion times before you tick over 100kph. Perhaps its because it takes about 13 seconds to get to 100, I honestly I thought it was a little quicker.
The suspension is a little firm, but usually all unladen bakkies in this class is no Rolls Royce. It feels sporty and there is no excessive bodyroll though the corners.
The wheels are 185/65/14 and at first they seem a little small, but they actually work very well on corrugated roads. As they say; profile is king on the bumpy stuff.
Why choose the NP200 over the other rivals? Well this one actually loads 800kg, about 200 or so more than the other models, which is great when you have a purpose in mind for a workhorse, but if you are buying just for a lifestyle, the extra space is nice.
Speaking of space, the cabin space is pretty impressive. I can comfortably sit in the driver or passenger seats and I’m 1,95cm. Front seat is height adjustable so that’s nice. Space behind the seat is also pretty adequate. For example, it fits two full face motorcycle helmets behind the passenger seat with the seat fully back.
The center console fits the air ducts and also the electric front windows and the hazards. The hazards are placed a little far down, but you get used to it, I would imagine.
The 50 liter tank gave us 600km and we had a quarter tank left. So, give or take, I would estimate the fuel consumption at around 8 liters per 100km under normal driving conditions. Its a little over the 6liter claimed by Nissan, but like I said, I drove it like I would drive any other car. Drive it with care and you could probably get the quoted figures.
So if you are looking for an alternative to the bantam or Corsa, have a look at the NP200, its a strong conteder in this market if you are looking for a great alternative. It also features a great 6 year 150 000km warranty.