First Drive: 2016 Nissan NP200 ICE

First Drive: 2016 Nissan NP200 ICE
 

Too often in the macho world of bakkies it’s all about size. But as Bruce Fraser finds out, the limited edition NP200 ICE is a reminder that half tonne bakkies can still provide lots of practicality and fun to boot.

What is this car all about?

Looking to get in to the bakkie segment without not necessarily busting the bank? Then this is a pretty good place to start. The leisure/commercial segment continues to grow in popularity and the NP200 manages to cross the divide between work and pleasure with ease.

NP200 ICE

What’s under the hood?

No surprises here. First up is an engine we have come to enjoy in the Micra, Qashqai and Juken – the super reliable and fuel-friendly 1.5 dCi turbodiesel. Pushing out 63kW and 200Nm it sips a claimed 5.3l/100km. Also available is the 8-valve 1.6 litre petrol engine which delivers 64kW and 128Nm and chugs down a reasonable 8.1l/100km. Both engines are mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.

NP200 ICE

Does is stand out from the crowd?

The limited edition ICE certainly received a few admiring glances as we headed down the M4 that hugs the scenic KwaZulu-Natal coastline. This is probably helped by the stylish 15-inch alloy wheels (unique to this vehicle), daytime running lights, a special aluminium nudge bar, sports bar and dark tinted safety film on the windows. Just about forgot to mention the ICE decals which are quite tastefully positioned on the vehicle.

NP200 ICE

What’s noteworthy on the inside?

The design and layout of the cabin revolves around functionality and practicality. Think along the lines of rubber carpets and cloth seats. The entertainment system – complete with hands-free Bluetooth, USB connection and audio streaming – worked a treat. Must admit, though, the manual window winders took me back in time!

NP200 ICE NP200 ICE

Is it good to drive?

I’ve always enjoyed the NP200 and this new addition is no different. There is nothing complicated about it from a driver’s perspective and the practicality of that large load bin (800-kilogram payload) means you will never be short of friends at the weekend.

NP200 ICE

Who’s going to lose sleep about this car?

The direct competitor to this vehicle is obviously the Chevrolet Utility – and believe me, they have some pretty good specials on at the moment. But where the NP200 ICE scores is in its exclusivity (just 1600 will be produced) along with an excellent 6-year/150 000km warranty.

Fast Facts: Nissan NP200 ICE (petrol)

Engine: 1.6 litre petrol
Power: 64kW
Torque: 128Nm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
0-100km/h: N/A
Top speed: N/A
Fuel: (combined) 8.1l/100km
CO2: (combined) N/A
Price: From R191 900

Fast Facts: Nissan NP200 ICE (diesel)

Engine: 1.5 dCi turbodiesel
Power: 63kW
Torque: 200Nm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
0-100km/h: N/A
Top speed: N/A
Fuel: (combined) 5.3l/100km
CO2: (combined) N/A
Price: From R204 900