Despite being offered in passenger configuration since its launch in the US in 2013, the Nissan NV200 model was stripped down to a two-seat cargo van for the 2021 model. This is, however, the last model year that Nissan will produce the NV Cargo, NV Passenger, and NV200 commercial vans, citing a new strategy as the reason for the discontinuation.
The unprecedented trend toward a more eco-friendly way of driving has also sparked low interest in this compact LCV as Nissan turns its attention to the new 100% electric eNV200, touted for its low operating costs, high efficiency, and unexpectedly good overall performance. We’ll have more information on this model once the market takes hold.
Let’s now take a look at some of the Nissan NV200 problems and questions you may have.
Are Nissan NV200s Reliable?
The small-size NV200 commercial van is often regarded as a reliable alternative to the competition out there, including the Ford Transit and the Ram ProMaster.
A compact commercial van, the NV200 is also well-known as one of the most fuel-efficient small vans in its class, offering drivers an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in combined highway/city driving. The NV200s overall compact length, short wheelbase, extended legroom, and affordability make this an ideal choice if you need to get in and out of tight spaces, are very tall, or have to operate on a small budget.
Quick-look pros and cons:
- achieves high fuel economy, thanks to the four-cylinder engine
- easy maneuvering due to its compact size
- accessible cargo loading because of the low load floor
- Double-door access (back and side)
- slow reaction and long stopping distance in reactionary braking situations
- interior materials seem of a lower quality than rivals (box-y effect)
- smaller cargo space and less power than the competition
- lacks driver assistance features
The Nissan NV200 ranks 14th out of 54 Nissan generations in overall reliability, according to nissanproblems.com. As with any other vehicle, there are a few common Nissan NV200 problems you should be aware of before purchasing this LCV, to avoid sudden breakdowns or unscheduled repairs in the future.
Nissan NV200 common problems
The biggest trade-off you’ll have to consider when thinking about buying the NV200 is how heavy your loads will be or how full the cargo area needs to be packed. Cargo and payload capacity are amongst the most common compromises you’ll need to make, followed by a lack of overall capability or any real performance acceleration.
Some other common Nissan NV200 problems reported include:
Sliding Door Problems
Overuse of any door handle and actuator can cause early wear and tear, resulting in sliding door problems. This, together with dirt, dust, hair, or packaging litter can also contribute to sliding doors becoming stuck more often. Not restricted to the Nissan NV200, this is a problem that can be prevented with regular cleaning and maintenance.
Air Bag Problems
The Nissan NV200 has had quite a few air bag recalls (see recall info below), reportedly due to faulty Occupant Classification Systems (OCS) that incorrectly classifies adult passengers as children or occupied seats as empty. No matter which vehicle you drive, if your air bag warning light flashes when the front seats are occupied, contact your dealer immediately.
Clogged EVAP Systems
All Nissan vehicles manufactured between 2013 and 2017 were credited with a warranty extension due to faulty Evaporative Emissions Control Systems (EVAP), which may or may not include later model years and the Nissan NV200. A malfunctioning EVAP can cause headaches from exposure to the fumes that circulate the cabin, can affect vehicle performance, and may also cause refueling issues when unburned vapors fill up space inside the EVAP. If your Nissan NV200 has a strong fuel smell inside the cabin, get to a mechanic as soon as possible to rule out EVAP issues.
Nissan NV200 Electrical Problems
The battery, starter and alternator make up the basic components of the electrical system in a vehicle, and are the most common culprits behind your NV200 failing to start. The Nissan NV200 battery should see you through a good 3 to 5 years, however your driving habits, the battery size, weather conditions, and type of battery all impact your battery’s health and longevity.
The battery’s job is to start the car, and the alternator’s job is to keep it running so the battery can build up a charge for the next time you need to start it up. It’s normal to look at the battery as faulty when the vehicle won’t start, but the starter and alternator could be at fault and indirectly affecting your battery’s performance, too.
When you hear a clicking noise after turning the key in the ignition, you can safely assume it’s a starter motor problem in your Nissan NV200. This may be caused by a faulty ignition switch, broken solenoids, or failing battery connections.
The top four symptoms of a bad alternator in a Nissan NV200 include:
- a dead battery
- spluttering or stalling engine
- dim or no headlights
- accessories (radio, windows, blower) stop working
Nissan NV200 transmission problems
The Nissan NV200 continuously variable transmission (or CVT) uses a heavy duty steel drive belt (or pulley system) to move gears in what should be a smooth, continuous motion, if you listen to the hype about it (don’t). To give you an idea of what to expect, here are a list of common Nissan NV200 transmission problems:
- bad solenoid: a noticeable delay in shifting gears or erratic shifting, no gears or reverse
- faulty solenoid regulator valve: low transmission fluid pressure, increased slippage, poor acceleration, delayed shifting, or fail-safe/limp-home mode
- bad transmission speed sensor: no shifting, check engine light, or a bang when you move the shifter from Park to Drive or use Reverse gears
- failed radiator or transmission fluid cooler: if integrated into the radiator, this can cause engine coolant to mix with the transmission fluid, which will damage the bands
- incorrectly connected speed sensors: limp mode
- worn, leaking, or faulty Torque Converter Clutch switch valve: poor acceleration, excessive engine speed, transmission fluid pressure loss, juddering, and stalling
Nissan NV200 suspension problems
Your tires are a fundamental part of your suspension system, which would be worthless without them. The suspension system carries the weight of the vehicle, ensuring an even distribution that balances the weight of your vehicle across the amount of tires on your vehicle.
The rest of the suspension system includes the springs, shock absorbers, struts, arms, bushings, and joints. Because your tires are the only part of your vehicle that comes into contact with the road, they are one of the most important factors to think about when buying a vehicle.
Shock absorbers, brakes, and tires are designed to absorb the bumps and shocks from the road, which is a large part of the visible wear and tear you can see and feel. A malfunctioning or defective suspension can cause accidents with oncoming traffic, sidewalks, barriers, and even pedestrians. Rollover accidents are more common in SUVs, LCVs, and trucks, because they have a higher center of gravity.
Safety, design, or manufacturing defects combine with cheap materials and low-quality workmanship which results in suspension problems. In the Nissan NV200, those suspension problems have resulted in frequent mechanical problems, premature or abnormal tire wear patterns, and a serious condition called cupping, which causes diagonal wear marks in tires and increasingly bumpy rides.
Any major recall for the Nissan NV200
Recalls are free repairs to faulty vehicle systems or components that may cause widespread safety problems for vehicle owners. Despite its long list of problems, the Nissan NV200 has had surprisingly few recalls:
- battery fuse recall
- air bag sensor recall
- Occupant Classification Systems (OCS) recall
- faulty Evaporative Emissions Control Systems (EVAP) recall
- exploding sunroof recall
- ignition switch recall
How many miles can a Nissan NV200 last?
The Nissan NV200s fuel tank capacity is 14.5 gal. The EPA-estimate of 25 mpg in combined highway/city driving therefore indicates that you should get anywhere between 350-400 mi per full tank refuel. Mileage statistics indicate that your Nissan NV200 should last between 75,000 and 300,000 miles, depending on how you treat your vehicle and how hard it works. Switch over to high-mileage oil when your NV200 reaches 15,000+ mi.