Nissan e-NV200 review: seven-seat full EV tested

Watch out Tesla Model X! On second thoughts, maybe not
£32,358 when new

Why are you bringing that tragically sad looking vehicle to my attention?

Agreed, it looks sorry for itself. But it does have something unique to its name. The Nissan e-NV200 Evalia is the only full-electric seven-seater this side of a Tesla Model X.

Which not very many people can afford…

That's an understatement. So the e-NV has an honest mission as an affordable, green, silent carrier for families, urban cabbing and the courtesy business.

Does it fulfil that mission?

The Evalia does indeed fit seven, though not with much elan. They're plonked on the grey velour that good taste expelled from normal cars round about 1995. The seats ride on exposed metal frames on a floor of grey fuzzy-felt. Elbow-room is pretty tight, as the NV is a surprisingly narrow vehicle. Flexible though, as the seats do fold, even if in awkward finger-jamming ways. The rear ones lean against the side walls like awkward adolescents.

What about the electric bit?

That's mostly borrowed from the Leaf. Which means it's just had a massive upgrade. The battery's reserve has been expanded to 40kWh, meaning longer range. Up to 125 miles on the rather honest new WLTP combined cycle.

That still sounds a bit hopeless for motorway use…

For occasional long hauls, it can use the fast chargers at almost every service station.

More important, electric cars manage better efficiency in cities, unlike combustion vehicles. In town this one is rated at 188 miles.

Have you ever tried to drive 188 urban miles in a day?

Quite. It's impossible. That's why it'll have perfectly adequate range while projecting a CSR-enhancing zero-pollution image. Remember too there's a panel van version, ideal for doing urban parcel drops and the like.

Is the driver to be NV'd?

No. It's a pretty horrid experience in many ways. Not the power – that's quiet and smooth and instant in the way Nissan has long experience of providing.

But the steering is remote and vague. It wanders about disconcertingly at dual-carriageway speeds, not helped by amazingly feeble resistance to crosswind disturbance. On the smallest corrugations, the whole rig pogoes and pitches like an over-sugared toddler. Other vans, and van-derived people-carriers, behave far more calmly and resolutely than this.

But it's unique, so cut it some slack.

OK, yes. There are no electric rivals. But when that opposition does arrive, the case for this Nissan will look a bit discharged.

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