The Nissan Primastar looks quite memorable and striking at first glance due to its unconventional front end design. The van received several cosmetic and technical facelifts during its production run, which extended from 2001 to 2014. A successor to the Primastar was finally announced by Nissan in 2016, taking the form of the Nissan NV300, making this a prime time to snap up a used Primastar with plenty of miles left to run. The Primastar might not be a household name, but it packs in all the features of the higher-priced contenders and is on offer as a second-hand buy for a much smaller price tag.
The Nissan Primastar packs one of the largest load-spaces in its class, offering between 5m3 and 8.4m3, depending on the chosen configuration. Buyers can choose between automatic or six-speed manual transmission, and four engines are on offer: a 2.0l petrol engine or diesel variants in 1.9l, 2.0l or 2.5l capacities. There are also three trim grades, starting with the basic ‘E’ grade and rising to ‘SE’ and ‘SE+’, and multiple gross vehicle weights (GVW) work to provide payloads of between 1 and 1.2t, so prospective buyers are almost spoilt for choice and bound to find something that will meet their requirements.
The Primastar comes in six different body formats plus the two crew van variants, each with long and short wheelbases (3,498mm and 3,098mm respectively) and low and high roof heights. What this ultimately means for load-space is a minimum of 5.0m3 for the smallest possible configuration and a massive 8.4m3 with the largest wheelbase and high roof.
Features are good, with elements across the range including a CD player with audio input jack for MP3 players, tinted windows and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. It’s worth bearing in mind that the lowest-spec ‘E’ Primastar doesn’t come with electric windows or a full-height bulkhead, but both are included as standard in the higher trim grades. The ‘SE’ and ‘SE+’ also come with Bluetooth connectivity, parking sensors and a trip meter. The optional add-on Comfort Pack even provides an armrest on the driver’s seat and air-conditioning.
Safety-wise, standard provisions include a driver’s airbag, ABS disc brakes and seatbelt pre-tensioners. ESC (electronic stability control) is not provided as standard across the range - this is reserved only for the ‘SE+’. Second-hand buyers concerned about safety should look out for a Primastar fitted with the additional Safety Pack, which includes ESC alongside a passenger airbag and front fog lamps.
The ‘E’ Primastar comes with just one passenger seat, but the other two grades come with two passenger seats as standard, while the crew van configurations can seat up to six with a full-height bulkhead and still provide a large load-space for this class of vehicle. The Primastar was designed with cargo in mind, as the 1,268mm loading width perfectly accommodates a standard Euro pallet. Further standard features include a minimum of six load-lashing rings on the floor and double rear doors that open a full 180 degrees. The side sliding door opens to 1,000mm wide, making it possible to load a Euro pallet from the side.
2010 Nissan Primastar Upgrade
2010 saw the Primastar getting a facelift. Cosmetic changes include a re-modelled front end, colour-coded bumpers and extra body options. Under the hood, the Primastar gains eco-friendly Euro 4 and Euro 5 engines with slightly higher horsepower ratings, from 82hp, 100hp and 135hp to 90hp, 115hp and 150hp respectively. Safety is improved, with ‘SE’ and ‘SE+’ gaining automatic door locking once the van is in motion.
Load-space is remarkably improved even more, with the rear doors opening right out to 250 degrees and the option of a second sliding side door. The crew version was only available as ‘SE’, limiting engine choice to the 115hp or 150hp options. The crew van includes dual front passenger seats, a full bulkhead for passenger protection, and electric windows and mirrors - not to mention the optional Technology and Comfort Packs.