Nissan launches Townstar small van with gasoline and electric options, but no diesel

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PARIS – Nissan is launching the Townstar, a small van based on the Renault alliance partner’s Kangoo, as part of a rebranding of its light commercial vehicle offerings.

The Townstar will be available with a gasoline or fully electric transmission, but there will be no option for diesel, which has dominated the commercial van market for decades.

The Townstar will be built at Renault’s Maubeuge plant in northern France, as will a Mercedes-Benz variant, the Citan. Like the Kangoo and the Citan, it will be available in passenger and commercial versions. The launch date and price have not been announced.

Nissan’s other two vans, the mid-size NV300 and the large NV400, will be renamed Primastar and Interstar respectively, the brand said in a press release on Monday. The Primastar is based on the Renault Trafic and the Interstar is based on the Renault Master.

Nissan is looking to increase its light commercial vehicle market share with the rebranding and the new Townstar, Emmanuelle Serazin, director of corporate and commercial vehicle sales for Nissan Europe, said in the statement.

“We are prioritizing our pickup truck portfolio and capitalizing on the strength and expertise of the Alliance to contribute to sustainable growth,” she said.

The Townstar’s gasoline option will be a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine (co-developed with Daimler) that produces 130 hp. The all-electric version will have a 44 kilowatt-hour battery producing the equivalent of 122 hp. Nissan estimates that the range will be 285 km (177 miles), pending homologation.

Nissan has added advanced safety and driver assistance features, including a 360-degree camera and, on electric models, the brand’s ProPilot system, which incorporates adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping on highway. Vehicles equipped with ProPilot can negotiate smooth curves and slow to a stop without operator intervention.

The interior has an 8-inch central touchscreen and a “floating” console that allows more storage space under the gear lever.

The electric version of the Townstar will succeed the e-NV200, one of the first and most popular fully electric delivery vans in Europe. The e-NV200 has recorded around 42,000 sales since its introduction in 2014, according to Nissan. It has long been the most popular small electric van in Europe, with the Renault Kangoo ZE.

The Townstar, like the Kangoo and the Citan, is built on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s CMF-C / D platform for compact and midsize vehicles. It will stand out with its front styling, which Nissan says is inspired by the upcoming Ariya all-electric compact SUV.

The Kangoo offers a wider choice of engines, including two gasoline, three diesels, an all hybrid (in 2023) and an all electric. It will also be available in two lengths.

In addition to the Kangoo and Citan, the Townstar will compete with small van offerings from Stellantis (Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner), the Volkswagen Caddy (new this year), the Toyota ProAce (a variation of the Stellantis small vans) and the Ford Transit Connect.

The Kangoo ZE and Nissan e-NV200 have been the best-selling electric vans in recent years, but Peugeot, Citroën and Toyota small vans are now available as electric vehicles. The Caddy and Transit Connect don’t have EV options, but the VW Group is preparing to launch a small electric van to share with Ford that will be based on the ID Buzz concept.


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