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2012 Nissan NV 2500 High Roof V6 Utility Van Review By Steve Purdy

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2012 Nissan NV 2500 High Roof

SEE ALSO: Nissan NV Specs, Comparisons and Prices - Nissan Buyes Guide

2012 NISSAN NV 2500 High Roof V6 SV UTILITY VAN

A Brief Respite from Car Reviews
By Steve Purdy
Detroit Bureau

We had to do some serious hauling this weekend and the good folks at Nissan were kind enough to offer up a new “High Roof” NV 2500 cargo van for the job. You may be surprised to know that Nissan is a player in the utility van market. A couple years ago when Nissan announced they would compete in this, what they saw as an underserved market, I was surprised to learn they make this vehicle all over the world but are just now bringing it here.

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Our project involved hauling a big load of artwork and dozens of large display panels. We were just finishing up the Detroit Knows Cars – Motor City Automobile Fine Art Show in downtown Detroit to coincide with the Detroit auto show and needed to essentially move the show to the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, where you can see the show still. See for details on the show. The art show, by the way, was co-sponsored by, Quicken Loans, Bedrock Real Estate, Studio Couture, The Automotive Hall of Fame, and the Concours d’Elegance at St. Johns.

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The Nissan NV “High Roof” 2500 SV was just what we needed. With the high roof option we have tons of cargo space tall enough to accommodate our six-foot panels vertically. We used most of that space. We ended up stacking the heavy display panels horizontally along the middle about 4 feet wide, then many more layers flat on top of that. Along both sides we had artwork, tools and equipment enough to nearly fill the 10-foot-long by nearly 6-foot-wide by 6.4-foot-high cargo area. We found a wealth of handles and hooks and d-rings and everything we needed to secure the load with our bungies and ropes. The floor came well padded so we needed no extra protection below.

The NV comes in two sizes (standard roof and high roof), two trim levels (S and SV) and three duty levels (1500, 2500 and 3500). Two engines power this brute (a 4.0-liter V6 and a 5.6-liter V8) and one transmission (5-speed automatic) gets the power to the road. Nissan offers no 4-wheel drive option for the NV yet, nor is a diesel available.

Our loaner NV 2500 has the 261-hp, 4.0-liter V6 making 281 pound-feet of torque with duel overhead cams and 4 valves/cylinder. While acceleration felt entirely adequate for our purposes we were not hauling a great deal of weight. We were certainly pushing a lot of air with that high roof, though. We can only imagine the coefficient of drag must be about like that of a brick. According to the van’s onboard trip computer it had been averaging 15.2 mpg. I’m guessing that probably does not reflect much heavy hauling or trailer towing.

Speaking of towing and payload, the NV 2500 is rated for about a 3,000-pound payload and a towing capacity of 7,000 pounds with the proper hitch. Total cargo volume for the high roof is 323.1 cubic-feet. The standard roof version provides just about 2/3rds that at 234 cubic-feet. Competitors include Chevy Express, GMC Savana and Ford E-250. The tall roof version of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (formerly Dodge badged) is longer and can be had with an efficient 3-liter, diesel V6 engine. We reviewed 2008 Dodge Sprinter a few years ago finding it quite a nice ride, and we got nearly 20-mpg on that long road trip.

Built in the same U.S. plant as the Nissan Titan pickup truck, the NV shares very little architecture. NV, in fact, has its own, particularly sturdy, full ladder frame. Engines are shared with other Nissan products – the V6 with Pathfinder and the V8 with Titan.

The businesslike interior offers good functionality but no frills. Materials appear durable but not particularly attractive. Controls are simple and practical. The huge center console is designed to accommodate whatever the delivery guy or plumber, hauler or workman needs to do his job. A tray-backed, foldable passenger seat also adds to functionality.

Driving dynamics are better than I expected for this purely utilitarian vehicle. The high, upright seating position, relatively slow steering and heavy-feeling suspension reminds me of some of the super-duty pickups we’ve tested, though without the luxury and sophistication that tends to be included with the latter. On the highway I never felt overwhelmed by the NV’s size and the huge, multi-view mirrors kept me appraised of my position relative to other traffic.

A full compliment of safety and handling features come standard on the NV 2500: air bags, seat belt pretensioners, active head restraints, steel door beams, engineered-in crumple zones, ABS, traction control, vehicle dynamic control, security alarm and immobilizer, DRLs and tire pressure monitoring.

Our NV 2500 V6 SV shows a base price of $29,590. Glass in the rear doors costs $190 extra and floor mats add another $95. We have the optional side curtain airbag package that includes both seat and roof-mounted airbags for extra rollover protection costing $390. The $950 Technology Package on our tester includes a 5-inch screen navigation system, and fully capable audio system with Bluetooth, USB input and XM radio. With a $760 destination charge we’re looking at a bottom line of $31,975.

So, thanks to our benefactors at Nissan we got the hauling job done admirably. About half way through the job, though, a serious snow squall blew in and greased up the roads. While the rear-wheel drive NV held the road reasonably well it did get a bit squirrelly once unloaded, but not unexpectedly so. It turned out to be well balanced and predictable as we skated down the highway.

Here is another great product from a Japanese manufacturer that is built in the U.S. and focused on our needs. (SEE WHERE ALL CARS AND TRUCKS SOLD IN USA ARE REALLY BUILT)

For serious hauling the 2012 Nissan “High Roof” NV 2500 cargo van would be worth considering.

Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved