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Sold between 2003 and 2008, the Nissan Kubistar shares the same platform as the Renault Kangoo, albeit with tweaks made to the exterior styling to help distance it from its sibling. With petrol and diesel engines on offer, as well as competitive payloads and on-board features, the Kubistar’s odd name was not enough to put a dent in sales. And it remains a solid option on the second-hand market.
As a compact and affordable van, the Kubistar is just as capable as the Kangoo. In fact, they are functionally identical in terms of specifications, so if you are choosing between two used models, then do not let the differing badges distract you.
In terms of payload, it can manage a respectable 800kg, which is the kind of feature that smaller businesses and sole traders will value. Even with a lot of items stored in the rear, performance is respectable. The 1.2 litre petrol-powered model has just 60bhp, which is efficient but not exactly a spectacularly powerful option. The 1.5 litre dCi engine is a better choice, available with up to 80bhp at its disposal. Average fuel consumption tops 50mpg for the diesel models and means that whether it's used in towns or on motorways, the Kubistar will be able to deliver excellent overall economy.
Internally, the Kubistar is set up to allow the driver a good view of the road ahead while also permitting him or her to get a good perspective on what is to the side and behind of the van. Combined with a 10.4 metre turning circle, this makes it agile enough to cope with even the narrowest of streets in towns and cities, where larger vans might be wedged in.
As standard, a number of features were included on the Kubistar from new, including things such as remote central locking, power steering and even tinted windows. Purchasing the slightly better-equipped SE allows you to access benefits such as a CD player, electric windows and mirrors, as well as ABS. A sliding door on one side and hinged doors on the rear allow for quick access to the contents of the load space, and again this is something that small businesses and courier firms will value.
There are very few problems reported with the reliability of the Kubistar, which is a testament to the partnership between Renault and Nissan that produced it. And although it has since been superseded, it remains a good option for commercial buyers. It is particularly suitable for those who want to buy a van which still feels as if it has the driving qualities of a car. The newer Nissan NV200 may offer more space and modern features, but even after it has been discontinued the Kubistar is still capable of winning fans. It merely requires that buyers are made aware of what features are on offer and they can then pick the right van for their needs. Whether that is a petrol- or diesel-powered Kubistar will depend on this more than anything else.
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