Review: Nissan Townstar EV

From £32,445

Slotting below the mid-size Primastar and larger Interstar in Nissan’s LCV (Light Commercial Vehicle) range, the Townstar compact van is available with both electric and petrol powertrains.

Unlike the now retired Nissan e-NV200 van, which shared its electric powertrain and platform with the Nissan Leaf, the Townstar is a Renault-Nissan Alliance vehicle, meaning that it’s almost identical to the latest Renault Kangoo E-Tech Electric. And just to complicate matters, it’s also very similar to the new Mercedes-Benz e-Citan, thanks to another collaboration.

Buy new: Nissan Townstar EV

Buy used: Nissan Townstar EV

Other rivals in this competitive sector include the Citroen e-Berlingo, Vauxhall Combo Electric, Toyota Proace City Electric and Peugeot e-Partner.

Crowned Electric Van of the Year at the 2024 What Van? Awards, it’s available in two body lengths and four trim levels – Visia, Acenta, Tekna and Tekna +. There’s also a crew van variant which has seating for five people.

Nissan Townstar EV side view

Entry-level Visia comes with air conditioning, LED headlights and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. Acenta adds an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with smartphone connectivity, electric folding door mirrors, cruise control and rear parking sensors. Tekna includes front and side parking sensors and a rear-view camera, body-colour bumpers and keyless entry.

The range-topping Tekna + adds a 360-degree camera system, a heated steering wheel and a digital instrument cluster. It also gets the best safety and driver assistance kit, including Intelligent Park Assist, Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition and Adaptive Cruise Control.

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Additionally, the Townstar EV also benefits from an industry-leading five-year/100,000-mile warranty, plus an eight-year warranty on the battery state of health up to 70%.

We drove the new Nissan Townstar EV for over a week on various UK roads and motorways in early winter, to find out whether it’s the perfect zero-emissions city van.

Nissan Townstar EV – Exterior

Built on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s CMF-C platform, the Townstar EV is one of the best-looking small vans on the market.

Nissan says the design reflects aesthetic cues from the 100 electric Ariya SUV and features an aerodynamic V-motion grille design incorporating an intricate Kumiko pattern and charging point, plus LED daytime running lamps and LED main beams as standard.

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The rear lights cluster sport a distinctive LED signature, while top-grade versions get diamond-cut alloy wheels.

Two body lengths are available (L1 and L2), providing 3.3 and 4.3 cubic metres of loadspace respectively, with a payload 500kg or 702kg. In addition, the maximum braked towing capacity is a superb 1,500kg.

The loading length of the L1 is 1810mm (enough to accommodate two Euro pallets), increasing to 2,230mm in L2 models. You can also specify two or three seats up front.

It’s also blessed with wide-opening side sliding doors and rear doors which can be swung through 90 degrees, or 180 degrees if you release the stays.

Nissan Townstar EV interior cabin

Nissan Townstar EV – Interior

Inside the front cabin, the Townstar EV looks and feels car-like. The seats are comfortable and the driving position is good. There’s a decent amount of space, though taller-than-average drivers might want to push their seats back more.

The overall dashboard layout is logical and attractive, while the hard black plastic surfaces seem robust enough to cope with everyday wear and tear.

The drive selector is a tad notchy but is suitably high-mounted. We also like the built-in smartphone holder on the top right of the dash.

Visibility is an issue with all panel vans. Thankfully, the top-grade Townstar EV we tested also featured a 360-degree camera system in addition to the front, rear and side parking sensors, plus a rear-view camera.

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There are lots of storage solutions too, including a large overhead storage tray, a good-sized centre console and a handy lidded storage box above the instrument binnacle which has USB charge points and a 12v power socket, and is ideal for hiding valuables. The door bins can also accommodate litre-sized water bottles.

The 8.0-inch touchscreen on Acenta models and above is a little dated, but it does the job and there are shortcut buttons next to the display. There’s also integrated navigation and full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, plus steering wheel commands for the audio and phone.

Nissan Townstar EV – Performance and economy

The Townstar EV is only available with one modest 45kWh lithium-ion battery choice, so it’s more at home in urban environments than plying the motorways.

The battery is mated to a 121bhp front-mounted electric motor which drives the front wheels. Nissan claims the Townstar will return up to 183 miles of range, or up to 247 miles in town-driving. For the record, the 0-62mph acceleration time is 14 seconds and the maximum speed is 84mph.

The Townstar EV offers both AC charging (11kW or 22kW) and 80kW DC quick charging, which boosts the battery from 15% to 80% in as little as 37 minutes. An overnight charge on a 7kW wall box will take seven hours.

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On average we achieved an average efficiency of 3 miles/kWh (mostly in Eco), potentially giving a range of about 135 miles. However, thanks to the cold temperature, we couldn’t get above 150 miles fully charged, so you’re looking at a real-world range closer to 100 miles on longer runs.

That said, the clue is in the name of the Townstar, and you can still do a lot with a 100-mile+ range in an urban environment.

Naturally, if you’re also looking to eke out every mile from the system, then three levels of regenerative braking are available. These are activated by knocking the gear selector to the right, and then moving it up and down to move between the settings. Nissan aficionados will be disappointed to find out that there isn’t an ‘e-Pedal’ option.

Nissan Townstar EV – Handling

As vans go, the Townstar EV is a delight to drive. Quiet and quicker off the mark than the official data would make you think, the steering is light and direct, and it drives more like a small car.

The cabin is well insulated from road and wind noise, even on the motorway. It delivers a comfortable ride and is especially nippy in town. The ride is a tad firm, but perfectly acceptable.

Floor it in slippery conditions and the front wheels will struggle for grip, but generally, there’s plenty of traction and it feels planted. You can even have a little fun in it because it stays surprisingly flat in faster cornering.

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Nissan Townstar EV – Verdict

The smart new Nissan Townstar is a great small van choice, ideally suited to shorter trips. Smooth, refined, well equipped and easy to drive, it’s reasonably priced and comes with a generous five-year warranty.

Tech Specs

Price: £32,445 (exc VAT and the government’s £2,500 plug-in van grant)
On sale: Now
Engine: 45kWh
Power: 121 bhp
Transmission: Single-speed
Performance: 0-62mph in 14s, top speed 84 mph
Weight: 1,608kg
Dimensions: 4,486/2,159/1,813 (L/W/H)

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The smart new Nissan Townstar is a great small van choice, ideally suited to shorter trips. Smooth, refined, well equipped and easy to drive, it’s reasonably priced and comes with a generous five-year warranty.
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Performance

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Range

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Comfort

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Dynamics

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Fast Facts

Price

£32,445

Battery Capacity

45 kWh

WLTP Range

183 miles

Maximum Power

121 bhp

Torque

181 lb-ft

0-60

13.8 secs

Top Speed

84 mph

Boot Capacity

2100-
3100 litres

Pros and Cons

Smart, refined and comfortable
Good value for money
1,500kg towing capacity
Five-year warranty
Modest driving range
Only one battery option
Charging speed could be faster
Low payload on L1 version
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