The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2014 Nissan NV 200 Cargo Van Review By Steve Purdy

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2014 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van


By Steve Purdy
Michigan Bureau

While in San Diego for the launch of the new Nissan Versa Note we had a chance to experience the new small cargo van from Nissan called NV200 as well. You’ve probably seen the larger, distinctively shaped NV1500/2500/3500 running around your town hauling, delivering and generally being useful to businesses. While Nissan has been in the utility van business around the world for many years they’ve only sold them here for a few. To augment the big van and give businesses a more efficient option Nissan recently introduced the NV200 compact cargo van.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

NV200’s claim to fame is that soon it will be the exclusive vehicle for New York City taxicabs. An extensive competition was held over the past couple of years as the city decided that more efficient taxis are crucial to the future transportation needs of that megalopolis. While no passenger version of the NV200 is planned for sale to the public we think the NY taxi version will be great with easy ingress and egress, lots of cargo capacity and remarkable efficiency, especially compared to those old Crown Vics that still ply the streets of the city.

The NV200 we get here in the US has but one powertrain - the one from the last generation Sentra - a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine making 131 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque mated to an efficient CVT. Depending on how much cargo you intend to haul, the power is adequate and mileage decent at around 24-mpg average.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The NV200 has only one configuration currently with two trim levels beginning at just under $20,000 for the S and just over $21,000 for the SV. The S comes with 15-inch steel wheels (that look tiny because of the shape of the van), cloth bucket seats, fold-down passenger seat, business-friendly center console with a deep storage bin, 40/60 split rear cargo doors that open to 180-degrees, sliding doors on both sides, roof rack mounts, ABS and six airbags. The upgraded SV model adds heated mirrors, extra D-ring cargo tie downs inside, power door locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control with steering wheel controls and extra power outlet in the console. Both are purely utilitarian in terms of trim.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Cargo is the name of its game, of course, and The NV200 has a payload of about 1,500 pounds. The van weighs just over 3,200 pounds so the GVWR is about 4,700 pounds. Cargo volume comes in at 122.7 cubic-feet with total interior volume at 178 cubic-feet. The passenger seat back folds flat for better cargo versatility and for use as an extra work surface. Maximum cargo length is 82.8 inches, width is 54.8 and space between the wheel intrusions is exactly 48 inches, so your 4’X8’ materials will fit nicely. Maximum cargo height is 53 inches.

So, for many businesses this small van is just right and has little competition at this point. The Focus-based Ford Transit connect is nearest in size, was earlier to the market and has found a substantial niche. Nissan is betting this is a market that will grow substantially.

I decided to explore Coronado, just across the big bridge from San Diego, in the NV200. After cruising around the city a bit and nearly entering the huge Navy base by mistake I headed out the main road where I could do highway speeds.

Driving dynamics are about what you would expect for a cargo van. You certainly wouldn’t want to take it on a sports car track but it is stable, easily maneuverable and pleasant to drive. Suspension is truck-like with independent front and solid axle with leaf springs in the rear. Large mirrors with distortion insert make it easy to view surrounding traffic. The driver’s seat is well bolstered and even has a wear patch to prevent repeated sliding in and out from prematurely destroying the side of the seat. Behind me is just the large open cargo area waiting to be customized for someone’s business needs. I was a bit surprised at the lack of the unpleasant noises we would expect from a bare bones van.

Nissan’s new vehicle warranty is 3 years/36,000 miles on the whole van and 5 years/60,000 miles on the powertrain.

A fully electric version of the NV200 is under development and a diesel version is available in other parts of the world. The diesel gets about 44-mpg. Let’s demand that one here. Whadaya say?

Chevy plans to sell a rebadged version of the NV200 called City Express beginning in 2014.

ęSteve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved