Nissan Launches Their Answer to Public Transport

Nissan is back in the taxi game, which for many years was dominated by Toyota. They confidently predict that their latest Impendulo (which means ‘the answer’ in Isizulu) will be just that and will help reestablish Nissan’s presence in this key market.

The all-new NV350 Impendulo, which was launched in Windhoek last week is bigger, better, safer and very affordable, all of which should make it very attractive to both transport operators and passengers.

Although the new 16-seater was engineered in Japan, it’s been built to comply with local taxi industry regulations, and has also benefited from considerable input from South African taxi and transport and association members so as to achieve the best product to suit the needs or operators and passengers in this region.

Even its name – the Isizulu word for ‘the answer’ – was the winning entry in a competition among members of the South African taxi industry.

Seating Plan

Developed from Nissan’s NV350 Panel Van released in South Africa in 2013, it shares the van’s crisp-edged, slightly blocky styling and high roofline, making it easier to get past the 14 other passengers when getting in or out.

What it does not have is the van’s right-side sliding door (a crucial safety issue in an industry where passengers hop in and out without warning) or a diesel option. It’s also available in any colour you like, as long as it’s white and there’s also no negotiating its standard decals.

NV350 minibus is styled to have a cleaner and rounder look even while remaining tall and slightly blocky. The high roofline is also a welcome change and makes a huge difference for passengers when moving in, out or around inside the NV350.

Given that the average person is noticeably larger and wider than ten years ago, this makes a world of difference.

The cockpit has been revised, with extra attention given to ease of entry, head and shoulder room and drivers’ knee room, important elements for operators who spend most of every day behind the wheel.

Behind the two individual front seats there are 14 seats arranged in four rows – four across, then two rows of two-plus-one with a central ‘aisle’ and a back row of four across the tailgate.

Standard kit includes easy-to-clean PVC flooring, adjustable power steering wheel, a multi-info trip computer, two cup holders, sliding rear windows, seatback handles and 15-inch steel rims – including a full-size spare – with plastic wheel covers.

A two-speaker audio system is available as an option and so too is an air-conditioning unit, which should set you back an extra N$20 000, but is a must given our hardcore heat and soul encroaching cold.

Safety equipment includes driver and front passenger airbags, antilock braking, seat belts for all 16 seats, a driver’s seatbelt warning buzzer, an emergency exit escape hatch in the roof and an immobilizer.

Power Trip

The NV350 Impendulo comes with a 2.5-litre petrol engine rated for 108kW at 5600 revs and 213Nm at 4400rpm, mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.

While Nissan doesn’t make any claims for fuel consumption (that depends on how much wieght is being carried and towed), it does make mention of the appropriate use of modern automotive technology, such as a low-friction timing chain, an ‘intelligent’ voltage regulator and an idle speed of just 600rpm, rather than a complex and expensive idle-stop function.

Overall there is quite an air of excitement about Nissan’s new people mover and NPPTA Secretary General Nathan Africa commented that he predicted it will help achieve more comfort and economy for both transport operators and their passengers alike.

Price

NV350 Impendulo 2.5 Petrol – N$306 900

That includes a three-year or 100 000km warranty service intervals are 15 000km.

Source : The Namibian