CommercialFleet

Nissan Kubistar 1.5dCi

Nissan

Review

Fleet operators who admire the Renault Kangoo van are likely to take a keen interest in the Nissan Kubistar – after all, it is the same van with a different badge.

Nissan picked up the Kubistar – and the larger Primastar and Interstar – after Renault took a stake in the company back in 1999.

The result is that Nissan now has a full range of light commercial vehicles on offer, plus of course its own extensive spread of cars.

The Kubistar is offered with two powerplants – 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5dCi diesel – and the diesel variant has three different power ratings, 60bhp, 70bhp and 80bhp.

Payloads range from 620kg to 800kg and load volume is 2.75 cubic metres.

The van tested here is the highest powered version and comes at £10,447 (ex-VAT).

This van was originally launched in 1996 but it still looks chic, modern and stylish – that’s Renault for you all over.

Entry is by remote central locking and the cabin proves to be neat and stylish without being garish as well.

The driver’s seat is rather too soft for my liking and lacks lumbar support as offered in the rival Fiat Doblo Cargo.

It doesn’t adjust for height either – nor does the steering wheel – but nevertheless I managed to find a comfortable position easily.

Our test vehicle was loaded to the rafters with options, including side sliding door at £235, climate pack featuring air conditioning and pollen filter for £550 and safety pack with passenger and side airbags at £350 (prices ex-VAT).

It is probably the only Kubistar that will be built with a full complement of extras as few buyers are likely to specify them all.

The van also features a single slot CD?player (hooray - none of your mouldy old cassette players here) and grab handles on both a pillars in case the going gets rough.

In the back, our van also had the optional fold- flat seat and swivelling bulkhead at £295.

It’s an ingenious bit of kit that increases the load length to 2,466mm and is well worth having.

Kubistar’s load volume is 2.75 cubic metres, which is smaller than the Citroen Berlingo at 3.0 cubic metres and the Doblo Cargo at 3.2 but in practice, you’d hardly notice the difference.

The load floor is of the plastic wipe-clean variety and there is plenty of padding all round to stop damage from runaway bits of cargo.

Fire up the van and that sweet Renault powerplant comes into its own.

Measuring just 1.5-litres, it has plenty of grunt in all the right places – and I noticed with amusement that the rev counter was rather optimistically calibrated up to 7,000rpm.

While the Kubistar runs out of ‘puff’ at around 4,500rpm, it will nevertheless propel its occupants to 96mph with no problem whatsoever.

It’s nice to see too that ABS?brakes are a standard fitting.

At motorway speeds there is a fair amount of boom from the rear end and it could become tiring over long distances.

I also noticed a couple of annoying rattles emanating from the load area. But in general, this van seems to be taut and well put together.

Verdict

Renault or Nissan – take your pick. Both versions of this van are star performers.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.



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