Nissan NV200 For Vanlife: 11 Reasons Why It’s the Best

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Considering the Nissan NV200 for Vanlife?

With low costs, great gas mileage, and a comfortable interior, the Nissan NV200 van is a great option.

But how does it stack up against other popular models like the ProMaster City, Transit Connect, Renault Trafic, VW California, & Mercedes Metris?

In this post, we’ll find out.

Here’s everything you’ll learn:

11 Reasons Why Vanlifers Like the Nissan NV200

The NV200 is inexpensive, reliable, & easy to drive – but is it the best option for vanlife?

Here are 11 reasons why vanlifers like the Nissan NV200:

  1. Fuel Efficient: The NV200 averages 26 MPG, which is significantly better than any larger van.
  2. “Stealth” Factor: The Nissan NV200 appears like a small work van, which makes stealth camping in this vehicle much more doable.
  3. Inexpensive New and Used: New NV200s go for around $24,000, while used vans in good condition can go for as low as $10,000, making the NV200 the most affordable option for a compact travel van.
  4. Easy to Service: The NV200 is a relatively popular van. You’ll easily be able to find a mechanic who is familiar with these vans no matter where you are.
  5. Reliable: Most NV200 users find that their vans have no major issues within the first 100,000 miles of use.
  6. Great Turn Radius: The NV200 is tiny and is super easy to maneuver around tight turns.
  7. Easy to Park in Any Parking Spot: The NV200 will fit into just about any parking space.
  8. Great for City Driving: Unlike a long wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter, the Nissan NV200 is small and nimble. It can easily double as your primary vehicle along with being a great campervan.
  9. Comfortable Seats: The driver’s and passenger’s seats are comfortable enough to sit in for hours on long drives.
  10. Great for Simple DIY Builds: Because the NV200 is so small, it’s great for first time DIY-ers who need a very simple build.
  11. Fully Electric Option Offered in Europe: Europe now offers the e-NV200, which is a fully electric version of the NV200. (The e-NV200 is not currently offered in the U.S..)

9 Reasons Why Vanlifers Dislike the Nissan NV200

As with every vehicle, there are downsides to the NV200.

Here are 9 reasons why vanlifers dislike the Nissan NV200:

  1. Not Enough Height to Stand Up: One of the largest drawbacks of the NV200 is its height. There’s nowhere near enough room to stand up inside. Many owners get around this issue by installing a pop-top.
  2. Small Interior: The interior of the NV200 is simply not large enough to sleep more than two people, or to add special amenities like a shower or fixed dining area.
  3. Not Great Resale Value: The NV200 depreciates in value relatively quickly after purchase, so it may not be a great investment.
  4. Slow Acceleration: The NV200’s engine is slightly underpowered. You might find that the acceleration can be sluggish when entering freeways, especially with heavier builds.
  5. No AWD Options: The Nissan NV200 only comes in FWD, which means it may be difficult or impossible to reach campsites on rough roads.
  6. Noisy Ride: The NV200 can be quite noisy at high speeds.
  7. Low Clearance: The NV200 is very low to the ground, which is great for loading and unloading, but can cause issues when driving down bumpy roads.
  8. May Not be Long Enough for Tall People: The interior cargo length of the NV200 is 6’8”, which may seem like plenty of room, but with added built-ins, a taller person may feel cramped when lying down.
  9. Difficult to Install Rooftop Fan: The structural supports in the roof require that any fan installed is 12 inches in width or less. These smaller fans will be hard to find since most van fans are 14” or 16” wide.

 

14 Amazing Nissan NV200 Van Builds

With a low price tag & stealthy exterior, the Nissan NV200 provides a good platform for designing a layout… but which is the best?

Here are 14 of the coolest NV200’s ever:

Build #14: Sunny NV200 Build with Slide-Down Bed

  • Highlights: This bright NV200 build has a cozy couch that slides out into a bed. There’s closet storage next to the bed, plus a large countertop area for cooking.
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @welcometopipandjos

 

Build #13: Professional NV200 Build with Expandable Bed

  • Highlights: Apex Vans’ NV200 comes with a small bed that can expand to double in size. Across from the bed is a sink, a slot for a large cooler, and lots of storage.
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @apexvans

 

Build #12: NV200 with Captain’s Chair that Seats Four

  • Highlights: This DIY NV200 build has slide-down rear seats that function as extra passenger seats when folded up. Across from these seats is a kitchen area with a gas stove and sink. Plus, the owners swapped out the passenger seat for a captain’s chair.
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @evie_the_nv

 

Build #11: Beachy NV200 Build with Kitchenette and Rooftop Tent

  • Highlights: This NV200 has a small extendable bed across from a large kitchen area. The kitchenette has tiled backsplash, a large sink, and room for a camp stove. The owners also installed a rooftop tent for extra sleeping room.
  • Van: 2017 Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @vanbuild360

 

Build #10: Professional NV200 Conversion with Pop-Top that Seats Four

  • Highlights: This NV200 conversion from Recon Campers has two rear seats that fold down into a full-sized bed. The kitchenette area has a sink and room for a camp stove, plus the van has a pop-top roof for standing room.
  • Van: 2018 Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @recon_campers

 

Build #9: NV200 Conversion with Hidden Dinette

  • Highlights: This NV200 conversion from Contra Vans includes a large bed that takes up the whole rear of the vehicle. Hidden underneath the bed is a dinette table and bench seat for cooking or a workspace.
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @contravans

 

Build #8: Pop-Top NV200 with L-Shaped Convertible Couch and Indoor Kitchenette

  • Highlights: Wild Van’s gorgeous NV200 conversions feature a large L-shaped convertible bench across from a kitchenette unit with a propane stove and sink. All of their NV200’s come with a pop-top so owners can fully stand up inside these tiny vans.
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @wild_van_conversions

 

Build #7: Minimalistic NV200 Build With Pull-Out Camp Stove

  • Highlights: This simple DIY NV200 build has a large and cozy platform bed that spans the rear of the van. Underneath is some storage and a large pull-out with room for a camp stove.
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @nicola.navigates

 

Build #6: Professional NV200 Conversion that Seats Four

  • Highlights: This custom Rover Vans conversion has two rear seats (which fold down to a bed) so it can comfortably transport four people. It also has a small wardrobe, a drawer fridge, a sink, and lots of storage.
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @rover_vans

 

Build #5: NV200 with Slide-Down Bed

  • Highlights: This DIY NV200 build has a slide down bed and tons of cabinetry throughout. When the bed is folded to a bench, a pop-up table comes out of the side wall so the space functions as a seating area.
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @nv200experiences

 

Build #4: NV200 with Convertible Bed and Solar Panel

  • Highlights: This NV200 build has a convertible bench seat to bed across from a large countertop area with lots of storage underneath. Under the bed is a small refrigerator powered by a solar panel on top of the vehicle.
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @rosie.goes

 

Build #3: NV200 with Large Kitchenette that Sleeps One

  • Highlights: This NV200 build sleeps one in a cozy bed with drawer storage underneath. It also has a large kitchen area with a full-sized sink, plus a swing-around table and work desk. 
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @louvanlife

 

Build #2: NV200 with Pull-Out Table and Rooftop Gear Storage

  • Highlights: This NV200 has a convertible bench seat/couch across from a pull-up table for a work space or kitchen area. The owners have also installed a large gear rack for kayaks on top of the van, and a cooler carrier on the rear.
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @zuoteng1229

 

Build #1: Modernist-Design NV200 with Slide-Out Table

  • Highlights: This simple but functional NV200 build has a slide-out bed that converts into a bench seat for the adjacent shelf area. The rear has a pull out table for outdoor cooking. In front is a small wooden shelf and a curtain which separates the driver’s cab from the rear.
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @3355_sunsungogo

 

Cost, Dimensions, & Fuel Economy

Now that you know a little more about the Nissan NV200, let’s see how it stacks up against ProMaster City, Transit Connect, VW California, Renault Trafic, & Mercedes Metris.

 

Nissan NV200 Cost

Cost: Nissan NV200 vs Ram ProMaster City vs Ford Transit Connect vs Renault Trafic vs Mercedes Metris vs VW California

ModelNewUsedPrice
Nissan NV200$23,500$13,985Check Price
Ford Transit Connect$29,365$17,995Check Price
Ram ProMaster City$30,475$27,950Check Price
Renault Trafic$51,952$28,594Check Price
Mercedes Metris$34,900$27,954Check Price
VW California$73,385N/ACheck Price

 

Nissan NV200 Dimensions

Dimensions: Nissan NV200 vs Ram ProMaster City vs Ford Transit Connect vs Renault Trafic vs Mercedes Metris vs VW California

ModelInterior HeightInterior Length (cargo)Interior WidthExt Length
Nissan NV20053.5 inches80.3 inches59.1 inches173.2 inches
Ford Transit Connect49.5 inches117.5 inches48.7 inches190 inches
Ram ProMaster City51.8 inches87.2 inches60.4 inches187.5 inches
Renault Trafic54.6 inches99.9 inches65.4 inches196.8 inches
Mercedes Metris55 inches105.4 inches66.3 inches202.4 inches
VW California55.5 inches101.3 inches66.9 inches193.1 inches

 

Nissan NV200 Fuel Economy

Fuel Economy: Nissan NV200 vs Ram ProMaster City vs Ford Transit Connect vs Renault Trafic vs Mercedes Metris vs VW California

ModelCityHighwayCombined
Nissan NV20024 MPG26 MPG25 MPG
Ford Transit Connect24 MPG27 MPG25.5 MPG
Ram ProMaster City21 MPG28 MPG24.5 MPG
Renault Trafic24 MPG34 MPG29 MPG
Mercedes Metris19 MPG23 MPG21 MPG
VW California36.2 MPG42.2 MPG39.2 MPG

 

Conclusion: Is the Nissan NV200 Right for you?

There are a lot of reasons to like the NV200: It’s cheap, reliable, & gets great gas mileage – but it may not be for you.

Biggest factors:

  • Inexpensive new & used
  • Reliable
  • Fuel efficient
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Small interior

So should you get one?

Yes! We’d recommend the Nissan NV200 for vanlife over the ProMaster City or Transit Connect (others) for vanlifers who like the Nissan brand and want a new(er) van that’s affordable and reliable.

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