In a small market segment, the NP200 asserts itself with its big-heartedness...
Built locally by Nissan SA at its Rosslyn factory, the NP200 is a rebadged version of the Dacia Logan bakkie that's sold mainly in Eastern Europe. In our market, the base-model NP200 is powered by a torquey 64 kW eight-valve 1,6-litre, followed by a 77 kW, 16-valve 1,6-litre and, finally, the most expensive model, a 1,5 dCi turbodiesel that develops 63 kW and 200 N.m of torque. The payload is class-competitive at 800 kg and there's useful space behind the seats for storing luggage or tools.
Owners feel the gearshift is notchy and one shift linkage came adrift due to a missing locating pin. A clutch pedal that had no resistance turned out to be a dislocated clip holding the clutch cable to the pedal pivot.
A CAR reader reported a broken engine mounting that resulted in a bent side-shaft. Replacement parts took two weeks to arrive. Turbochargers, injectors and pumps can give trouble, as can EGR plumbing, but this seems to be common to most diesels in the market, so it is difficult to predict what mileage can be reached before maintenance is required.
Computer issues worried a few, while some locks and windscreen wipers needed repair. Note the wipers are set for left-hand drive, affecting visibility slightly.
Suspension, steering and brakes
Some readers complained about the life of the brake pads, but otherwise no issues were reported.
Body and interior
Owners were impressed with the interior space, something sorely lacking in the trusty 1400 (Champ) bakkies. As you would expect from a small bakkie at this price point, trim issues were noted. The silver-painted plastics, for example, scratch easily. As mentioned earlier, the NP200's load-carrying ability is very good, handling a full 800 kg without fuss. This makes it a good bet for small-project builders, as well as sports and leisure purchasers.
There is a shortage of contenders in this market sector and, broadening the field to more than our trio of three-quarter-tonne rivals (Chevrolet Utility, Ford Bantam, and Fiat Strada), highlights other options such as the Daihatsu Gran Max, Nissan NP300 and the larger Hyundai/Kia 2,7 diesels. Remember that diesel-engined vehicles are more economical than the petrol versions, but they may require frequent and more expensive maintenance work.
CAR road test data
Model: 1,6 16 V SE
Issue: July 2009
Fuel index: 8,52 L/100 km
0-100 km/h: 13,37 sec
Max speed: 169 km/h
Price (new): R151 800
Price (now): R85 000
Model: NP200 1,6 16-valve SE (2009)
Oil filter: R105,34
Air filter: R166,11
Headlamp: R2 456,44
Water pump: R978,81
ECU: R7 345,20
(Prices include VAT, as published in our May 2016 issue)
Also read our Gumtree feature on 4 second-hand light bakkies for under R100 000...
Second hand cars for sale