Over the last decade or so a number of manufacturers have attempted to tackle the light van market with compelling models that can also be modified to the point that they fit in with family motoring.
The Nissan NV200 is just such a model, as it is available for both commercial drivers and those who want to take the kids on holiday with a bucket load of luggage in the back.
First unveiled as a concept back in 2007, the Nissan NV200 eventually made its debut in 2009 and won awards in its commercial guise from a number of publications.
Nissan has since announced that along with the petrol-powered NV200 models it will also be releasing an electric version that has a lower carbon footprint and ideally a decent range so that it makes sense for commercial use.
There are plenty of European equivalents in this category, but the Nissan NV200 brings Japanese reliability and practicality to the table whether you want it for work or everyday usage.
Bang for your buck
On the outside the NV200 is a fairly typical looking light van, with a chunky body and twin sliding doors on either side to allow easy access to the rear storage space or seating, depending on the model in question.
There is only one engine option available to European customers at the moment, coming in the form of a 1.5 litre diesel power plant that you'll also find onboard a number of cars from Nissan and its partner Renault.
This unit develops 84bhp, which may not be a huge amount on paper, but combines this will plenty of torque to help it pull heavier loads and avoid feeling asthmatic.
Inside you can choose between five or seven seats if you go for the family-oriented NV200 Combi, while the van packs plenty of room to fit a variety of jobs.
The interior is well built and deliberately designed to be able to withstand use in the commercial sector. As such it can deal with some real punishment and not end up tattered or shattered, which is good news for when the kids get rowdy.
Standard kit includes CD player and electric windows, but if you want alloys, air con and a reversing camera you'll need to look for the SE trim package, which also adds the seven seater option.
What you'll pay
If you're buying the Nissan NV200 as a commercial vehicle you'll find it to be relatively affordable in the light van segment. You can get a nearly new model for around £7000 and older iterations sell for £6000.
The family-friendly Combi editions are a little costlier, selling for over £11,000 where they are available. However, the relative rarity means that you might have a difficult time finding one second hand.
What to check
Nissan remains a reliable brand, but you should still pay close attention to the paperwork when buying the NV200 used.
Check for aesthetic damage, wear and tear to the interior and all the usual elements before you decide to go through with a purchase.
The widely used nature of the engine means that you'll find parts to be relatively affordable and easy to acquire if maintenance is necessary. But hopefully the NV200 should give you few problems.
How it drives
The diesel engine should deliver combined fuel consumption of 53mpg and if you've got a lot of people or products to move about the place, you'll be hard pressed to find a vehicle that can achieve it for less.
The driving experience is defined by the good position given to the driver and the well designed wheelbase which means that it is easy to manoeuvre this van in urban environments where space may be tight.
It may have a smallish engine, but the power is delivered well and you won't feel like the Nissan NV200 is lacking anything when compared with its better endowed alternatives.
The turning circle is also impressive, at just 11 metres, which means parking is also easier and you won't end up getting it wedged in to any awkward situations from which you can't escape. In all it's an intriguing proposition in an increasingly saturated area of the market.