Nissan Cabstar review (2007-on)

Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5


  • Good carrying length
  • Very manoeuvrable
  • Wide range of conversions
  • Double-cab option


  • Noisy engines
  • Feels dated to drive
  • Utilitarian cabin
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The Cabstar bridges the gap between a normal van and truck. Its cab over engine layout makes for impressive carrying capacity and makes it very easy to manoeuvre - ideal if you're working on a busy construction site or delivery in tight city streets.

Nissan Cabstar review on Parkers Vans - exterior

The cabin is larger than the previous Cabstar and has plenty of stowage, although it can't match most vans for overall comfort. But there's a good choice of wheelbases and gross vehicle weights while Nissan's Good-To-Go range offers ready made conversions from box vans and fridges to flat beds and tippers.

Like the previous model, it's very robust and strong while improved fuel consumption and longer service intervals make it cheap to run.

Nissan Cabstar (07-20) driving experience

3 out of 5 3.0

Thanks to the cab over engine layout, the Cabstar has a tight turning circle and is easy to manoeuvre, with light steering. It doesn't feel as composed as many large vans though and the ride is very bumpy without a load.

Nissan Cabstar review on Parkers Vans - drop side model exterior

The entry-level engine is a 2.5-litre common rail diesel which delivers 110hp and 250Nm of torque. There is also a high power version which boasts 130hp and 270Nm. The top model is a 3.0 dCi with 150hp and 350Nm of torque which offers impressively strong performance.

Short wheelbase models (with the exception of the 4.5 tonne model) are equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox, while all other models have a six-speed manual that features a special short first gear designed for operators of vehicles that make frequent stops.

Nissan Cabstar (07-20) cabin & interior

3 out of 5 3.0

While Nissan has attempted to give the interior of the Cabstar a more modern appearance, it still feels a little utilitarian, especially compared to many of its  competitors. It's incredibly well built though and the instrument dials are easy to read plus there's a useful multifunction trip computer.

There's also impressive storage with an A4-sized slot above the instrument panel, which stops paperwork and maps sliding about on the dash top. Among various other cubby holes on the central console, there is a refrigerated storage area which can cool two half-litre bottles of water.

Nissan Cabstar review on Parkers Vans - cabin, interior

Air conditioning is optional on Basic+ models and above, while LWB double cab models have a separate rear heater. The steering column moves for both reach and height, but there's limited adjustment in the seat. The cab over engine layout also means it's very noisy, especially on the motorway.

Nissan Cabstar (07-20) running costs & value

3.5 out of 5 3.5

The Cabstar is good value, although the entry-level Basic models are - as their name suggests - pretty sparse. But there's a huge choice of models thanks to three wheelbases, three GVWs and a lengthy choice of conversions from the Nissan Good-To-Go range which offer instant delivery and the same warranty as the rest of the vehicle.

In terms of equipment, the Basic has a driver airbag, an alarm and immobiliser, a CD stereo, electric windows. The Basic+ adds ABS, EBD and auto-door locking while the Pro gets easy hill start, power and heated mirrors. The top Pro+ comes with front fog lights and a rear heater (on double cab models).

Nissan Cabstar (07-20) reliability, common problems & faults

4 out of 5 4.0

The previous Cabstar model built up a good reputation for being robust and durable and this model continues that tradition. While the interior isn't very plush, it is strong and hardwearing, while both engines have been well-proven in a variety of Nissan vans, pick-ups and passenger cars.

It comes with a three year/60,000 mile mechanical warranty along with six years’ paint and anti-corrosion cover plus three years’ RAC roadside assistance.

Nissan Cabstar (07-20) safety & security

4 out of 5 4.0

A driver airbag is standard across the Cabstar range while a passenger airbag is available as an option (on Basic+ and above models).

Elsewhere, all models (except the Basic trim) get ABS and the cabin structure has been reinforced with beams mounted in the doors to offer greater protection in a side impact. The seatbelts have pretensioners while rear visibility is aided by larger door mirrors than the previous Cabstar.

Nissan Cabstar review on Parkers Vans - load area access

Electric mirror adjustment is available as an option. Medium and long wheelbase models come with a system called Easy Hill Start, which holds the vehicle on the brake when stopped on a hill without the driver having to use the handbrake or keep a foot on the brake pedal. This not only makes hill starts easier but also preserves the clutch.

An alarm and immobiliser come as standard.

Which Nissan Cabstar (07-20) is best for me?