2012 Nissan NV Van Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Nissan NV Van

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Nissan NV Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 5.6 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 317 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 0/0 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Nissan NV

  • A tall roof option, a pair of capable engines, relatively pleasant driving dynamics and attractive pricing make the 2012 Nissan NV a solid new entry into the commercial van market.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Available high top; simple model and option structure; strong value proposition.

  • Cons

    No diesel option; hard plastic in armrest areas.

  • What's New for 2012

    The 2012 Nissan NV is all-new.

Full 2012 Nissan NV Review

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Nissan NV is all-new.


Like Coke and Pepsi for soda, there have traditionally been two segment favorites for full-size vans: the Chevy Express (and its GMC Savana twin) and the Ford E-Series. But for 2012, Nissan is hoping to shake things up with its all-new 2012 Nissan NV van.

There would seem to be room for improvement, since the Chevy and Ford haven't changed that much since Chevy Van was a top 10 single. Their snub-nose architecture and lack of a high-roof option can mean limited legroom, sore backs (from stooping) and bonked heads. Only the European-influenced Mercedes-Benz-built Sprinter offers a high-roof option, but it's also expensive and arguably underpowered. The Nissan NV promises to offer the best of both worlds.

The NV will come in three models (1500, 2500 and 3500), two roof heights (standard and high-top), two trims (S and SV) and with two strong engines (V6 and V8). By using an SUV/pickup-like front end, the Nissan NV provides more spacious footwells than the typical big van. And the high-roof option allows even those up to 6-foot-3 tall to stand up inside the truck. Other key features, such as the available massive center console box that can accommodate hanging files and a laptop computer, further make it an amenable ally for small businesses.

Compared to the E-Series and Express, the NV provides more driver and passenger space, more pleasant driving dynamics and more practicality via the available tall roof. It's also priced very competitively. Pitted against the Sprinter, the NV provides more power for hauling and towing (up to 9,500 pounds) while listing for about $10,000 less. True, there's no diesel engine option or passenger van configuration offered yet, and reliability and service support are nascent. But by offering the burly work capability of the traditional American van and the practical advantages of an available high roof, the 2012 Nissan NV should be a solid pick for commercial users and fleet operators.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Nissan NV is a full-size cargo van available in three models: 1500, 2500 and 3500. The 1500 comes only with a standard roof, while the 2500 and 3500 offer a choice between a standard or high roof. They all have the same wheelbase and length, but as you move up in the model range, payload and towing capacities increase.

There are two trims. The base S comes with the bare necessities including cloth upholstery (with vinyl bolsters in high-wear areas), air-conditioning and a two-speaker audio system (with a CD player and auxiliary jack). The SV adds chrome exterior accents, full power features, upgraded audio (four speakers instead of two), cruise control and rear park assist. Available options (depending on trim) include rear door windows, a glass breakage sensor, a rearview camera and a Technology package (which includes satellite radio, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and a rearview camera).

Powertrains and Performance

Depending on model choice, the 2012 Nissan NV is available with either a 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine or a 317-hp 5.6-liter V8. The 1500 is V6 only, the 3500 is V8 only and the 2500 offers a choice of either. Both engines are paired to a five-speed automatic and all NVs are rear-wheel drive. Properly equipped, an NV 3500 has a payload capacity of 3,925 pounds and a maximum tow rating of 9,500 pounds.


Standard safety features on the 2012 Nissan NV include antilock brakes, stability control and traction control. Front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are optional. Also optional is a rearview monitor (which is mounted in the rearview mirror).

Interior Design and Special Features

The NV's seats are well-shaped and firm enough to provide solid back and leg support on longer drives. The van's longer nose provides notably more space for the driver and front passenger's legs and feet than a typical van. The sun visors are huge and the available center console storage box is large enough to accommodate a laptop computer and hanging files.

All gauges and controls are large and intuitive and there are plenty of small cubbies for things like parking cards, cell phones and Power Bars. The four cupholders between the seats are generously sized for voluminous morning-size coffee cups. Unfortunately, Nissan uses industrial-grade plastic for the armrests and the console lid, a lone glaring defect in an otherwise comfortable cabin.

The NV cargo cabin sports nearly vertical side walls, which means more space inside for racks and such without encroaching on center walk-through space. Getting into the business end of the van is aided by rear doors that swing open 243 degrees (and stay open thanks to magnets on the van's sides), well-placed grab handles and a relatively low step-in height.

The standard-roof NV offers 234 cubic feet of cargo space, while the high-top version provides 323 cubes. In the latter, people up to 6-foot-3 can stand up straight. Six D-rings on the floor allow you to secure cargo, and each is rated for a tensile strength of 1,124 pounds. Integral mounting points (bolt holes) in the cargo area make the NV easy to modify with racks or mounts.

Driving Impressions

For its considerable size -- 18 inches longer than a Chevy Suburban -- the 2012 Nissan NV is fairly easy to handle, with good sight lines to each front corner, precise steering and wander-free tracking at freeway speeds.

Even when carrying a moderate load of building materials, the V6 provides smooth and ample performance on city streets and while merging onto freeways. As expected, the V8's thrust is more effortless and its performance less affected when the van is burdened with a full payload. With either engine, the automatic furnishes smooth and timely gearchanges.

When not loaded with cargo, the NV gives a decent ride; adding some payload softens it up a bit. Wind and noise levels are fairly muted for such a boxy vehicle, even at higher cruising speeds.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

64 of 71 people found this review helpful

Great truck not perfect but

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Nissan NV 3500 SV 3dr Van w/High Roof (5.6L 8cyl 5A)

I was driving to a chevy dealer to order a one ton cargo van. I have owned Chevys and been happy with them. I had a Ford Econoline and was not happy. On the way to the Chevy dealer I passed a Nissan dealer and decided to try the NV for the heck of it. I drive it one mile and it was all over. I bought it. I'm going to buy the passenger version pretty soon for my wife. Randomly, here are my thoughts...Great backup camera....much better than the ones on other cars I've had. The screen appears right on your rear view mirror so you don't have to look down at a dashboard screen....continued below...

20 of 86 people found this review helpful

2500 sv high roof

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Nissan NV 2500 SV 3dr Van w/High Roof (5.6L 8cyl 5A)

2012 sv2500 high roof 5.6 V8 all options. Great leg room, most comfortable truck I have owned. Insulated and panled inside. Fuel miliage not so good. Try to drive for best fuel miliage .13.2 mpg hand calc.

40 of 49 people found this review helpful

2012 nissan nv, 2500 sv,

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Nissan NV 2500 SV 3dr Van (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Purchased 9/26/11 . No technology option. Got rear window package, floor mats package and side air bag package. Gas mileage is based on your driving habits. I drive speed limit and do not accelerate quickly. Get about 16.5 to 17 mpg in city and on flat highway, no wind, going 65 mph I get 21 mpg. This is with no shelving or cargo in back. The inovations are great. See the ads . Van is more quite on hwy and city roads compared to Ford E250. Stereo is so so. Cab area is good. Lots of room to stow your stuff out of sight. Drives like a truck not like a van. After installing shelves and cargo van drives smoother and you don't feel the bumps as much. Don't know how reliable it is yet.

Talk About The 2012 NV

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