In March of 2021 I finally pulled the trigger and purchased a new (to me) van: this lovely 2018 Nissan NV200 in ‘Acenta’ trim that I planned to turn in my all-round work vehicle and adventuremobile!
With only 56000 miles since new and 3 years left on the manufacturer warranty, I picked her up in March of 2021 from Western Nissan for a respectable £10,000. I paid almost half in cash and the rest off in monthly installments over 4 years. I felt this was the best balance for me, and it meant I’d only be paying a couple hundred pounds extra in interest.
I had been searching for a few weeks for a suitable vehicle for my needs but it was quite a lucky find. Aside from the great condition of the van both inside and out, locating good vehicles up north can be tricky, and not long afterwards numerous factors saw the prices of second hand vans start to skyrocket – I got her just in time!
Choosing a Van
Choosing the right van for a project can be one of the most difficult aspects of any build. We all need different things from our vans and as a result everyone’s requirements will be slightly different. When looking for this van, I tried to lay out what I’d use my
Uses & Requirements of my van:
- Photography & Videography
- I spend most of my free time and travelling taking photos and video. The van needs to store a variety of camera equiptment safely for extended periods of time.
- I edit photos and video projects on the road. The van needs space to set up a laptop for editing, as well as space to safely store it away.
- The van needs power to charge camera equiptment and devices on the road.
- Sleeping & Working
- I want to be able to sleep two people comfortably in the van for multiple days at a time if necessary.
- For days in which I’m working remotely, the van needs an ‘office’ setup where I can set up my computer and work for extended periods of time
- The van needs a space to store food and supplies that can be stowed away when not in use. It needs space to be able to cook.
- The van needs storage space for toiletries, clothes and camping gear that can be stowed away when not in use.
- The van needs extra heating and insulation for sleeping comfortably in winter months
- Day-to-Day Use
- The van needs to be small enough for easy day-to-day use on the Island roads and for getting on and off small island ferries.
- The van needs to be able to still be used as a conventional van for carrying larger items and supplies when required.
- The van needs permanant space for my tools and equiptment.
- The van needs to be easy to work on and relativey simple mechanically.
As you can see, I had a long list of requirements. The van had to be small and nimble enough to navigate our small island roads, big enough to to carry camera equiptment, tools, camping gear and sleep two people! However, I also didn’t want a fully fledged mobile home- most of the time the van would be used as my ‘daily driver’ vehicle and as such had to be able to still operate as one for carrying anything from building supplies to furniture. In the end, and after a lot of research, I settled on the perfect solution for me: the NV200.
Why Choose the NV200
The NV200 is the smallest of Nissan’s van offerings and one of the more unique car-dervived vans currently on the market. It’s probably most well known for it’s all-electic configuration, the Nissan e-NV200, one of the most common electric vans currently found on UK roads. When it was announced in 2007 at the Tokyo Motor Show, it was actually displayed as a sort of modular system where anything from a mobile office to a diving workshop could be setup!
The diesel-engined NV200 is maybe a bit more basic compared to competitors such as the Peugot Partner and less stylish than something like the Volkwagen Caddy, but it outperforms both in terms of space. To quote WhatCar:
Its size is its real strength, and with 4.2m3 of space in the rear, it is by far and away the most spacious van despite a length of just 4400mm, width of 1695mm and height of 1860mm.
In comparison, a Volkswagen Caddy is 4408mm long, 1793mm wide and 1823mm high, yet has a load volume of just 3.2m3.
Maximum load length is 2040mm (its 1779mm in a Caddy van) while width is 1500mm and height is 1358mm.
Design wise, the cab is pushed further forward on the body which gives it slightly more space in the back and further adding to the look of a ‘shrunk down’ full size van rather than a typical car-dervived van. However, the narrower body and smaller dimensions compared to something like a larger VW Transporter means that it is perfect for the small, narrow roads of the Highlands and Islands. They are also a somewhat uncommon sight on the roads here (especially in black) and I figured the small size and unassuming nature of the vehcile would make the perfect basis for a ‘stealth’ camper that I could work from and sleep in without drawing too much attention.
Sizes and Dimentions of the NV200
If you’d like to know all the relevant interior and exterior sizes and dimentions of the Nissan NV200, this blog post has a fantastic overview with measurements in both inches and cm. I ended up referring to it often when planning apsects of the build.