Nissan Interstar review (2003-2011)

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0


  • Good cargo capacity
  • Wide range of convenience options


  • Base spec comes without vital safety kit
How much to insure this van?
Compare quotes at


Nissan's big panel van came courtesy of its alliance with Renault and the French company's existing partnership with Opel/Vauxhall to produce the Renault Master and Opel/Vauxhall Movano.

Nissan Interstar 2003-2011 review on Parkers Vans - exterior

Thoroughly refreshed in 2003, the Interstar provided a strong challenge to the large panel van sector favourites like the Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. A choice of three body lengths, three roof heights and four common rail turbodiesel engines ensured broad appeal, but the Interstar also benefitted from a wide selection of options to modify the van to either individual or business requirements.

Nissan Interstar (03-11) driving experience

4 out of 5 4.0

Engine choices included an 82hp, 1.9-litre diesel (SWB only) which offers 200Nm at 2,000rpm. A choice of two 2.5-lire diesel units with either 100hp (260Nm at 1500rpm) or 115hp (290Nm at 1600rpm), made up the mainstream choices, while at the top of the range there was a 3.0-litre diesel with 136hp and 320Nm at 1800rpm.

The two more powerful versions came with six-speed manual transmissions as standard, and the 3.0-litre we tested proved more than up to the job of carrying heavy loads.

Nissan Interstar 2003-2011 review on Parkers Vans - rear exterior

The six-speed gearbox also meant a fairly relaxed environment at a steady 70mph on the motorway. Double wishbone front suspension means precise turn in, while leaf springs at the rear provide the best option for carrying loads, although it can feel a little skittish at the rear when empty.

Nissan Interstar (03-11) cabin & interior

4 out of 5 4.0

Entry level E models came with a radio/cassette player, driver's airbag, power steering and a tubular bulkhead. An SE upgrade added a CD player, full metal bulkhead, electric windows, electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors, and a rear parking sensor.

Options included the climate pack (comprising a heat-reflective windscreen and air conditioning), technology pack (adding satellite navigation, cruise control and telephone pre-wiring), and the glazed pack (glazed bulkhead and rear doors with window demist).

Nissan Interstar 2003-2011 review on Parkers Vans - interior, cabin

The cabin is exceptionally comfortable for up to three adults, even over long distances, and there is a good range of seating adjustment for the driver. Large door mirrors provide good visibility to the rear. Two cup holders are provided, as well as under-seat storage and a dash-mounted document clip. Our test vehicle was also fitted with optional shelf/drawer units in the cargo compartment.

Nissan Interstar (03-11) running costs & value

4 out of 5 4.0

Not much to choose on cost between the Interstar and the Renault and Vauxhall equivalents, although the entry-level Interstar 1.9-litre diesel E model had less kit and a lower entry price than either a Master or a Movano.

Nissan Interstar 2003-2011 review on Parkers Vans - cabin detail

The 1.9-litre model offers servicing at 18,000 miles or two years and 35.5mpg on the combined cycle. The 2.5-litre (both outputs) has a service interval of 24,000 miles and combined cycle fuel consumption of 31.7mpg, while the 3.0-litre can go 24,000 miles without an oil change.

Glow plugs in the 3.0-litre will last for 120,000 miles and the timing chain lasts 240,000 miles. Nissan offered a class-leading three-year mechanical warranty on the Interstar, as well as a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Nissan also provided three years' RAC roadside assistance.

Nissan Interstar (03-11) reliability, common problems & faults

4 out of 5 4.0

Using proven mechanicals also used by Renault and Opel/Vauxhall, the Interstar should prove reliable. No major problems were reported when we drove it.

Nissan Interstar (03-11) safety & security

3.5 out of 5 3.5

Drivers of the E spec Interstar have to do without ABS, although SE models have ABS with emergency braking assistance as well as seatbelt pre-tensioners.

A driver's airbag was standard across the range, and all versions had automatic door locking and side-impact protection beams in the doors.

Rear parking sensors were standard on SE models and both E and SE had a lockable glovebox, alarm and immobiliser.

Which Nissan Interstar (03-11) is best for me?