New Nissan NV Review

2012 Nissan NV Cargo Van Exterior

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The Nissan NV is a distinctly different and modern take on the full-size van formula. Take the basic shape of the NV, for instance. Nissan engineers' decision to push the engine out front pickup-style creates significantly more room for the driver and front seat passenger. Additionally, this layout allows for easier servicing, thereby reducing downtime for business users who depend on their vans day in and day out.

Nissan NV Cargo models can also be specified with a high roof that creates a positively cavernous cargo area. There are a number of appealing small details, too, including an available lockable center console set up to hold hanging file folders or laptop computers and equipped with 120-volt AC power outlets. Add optional V8 power and attractive pricing, and you have a well thought-out workhorse that nicely addresses many of the shortcomings of traditional vans.

Current Nissan NV
The full-size Nissan NV is available in three different load ratings (1500, 2500 and 3500) and two roof heights (standard or high). Note that the Passenger version, which seats 12, comes only in 3500 specification with the standard roof height.

The Passenger features three trim levels -- S, SV and SL -- while the Cargo can be had in S or SV trim only. The S gives you just the basics, including air-conditioning and a stereo but not power accessories; they're an extra-cost option. The SV provides them as standard and also gets a stereo upgrade, rear parking sensors and other perks. The Passenger-only SL woos van shoppers with front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and leather upholstery. In general, the S and SV trims are more generous on Passenger models -- for example, a power driver seat comes standard on the Passenger SV, but not on the Cargo SV. Passenger vans come standard with full-length side curtain airbags.

Powertrain choices include a 4.0-liter V6 engine (1500/2500 models only) that puts out 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque, and a 5.6-liter V8 (optional on 2500, standard on 3500) that's good for 317 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque. All that power is sent to the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission.

The V6 has enough guts for light-duty applications, while the 5.6-liter V8 offers all the power most buyers are ever likely to need. Handling is better than you'd expect from a vehicle this size, and the ride quality is reasonably comfortable by big-van standards. The steering is precise and nicely weighted, and the turning circle is surprisingly small.

The driver seat provides good support for long days behind the wheel. Both front seats feature specially reinforced strips along the outside edges that tend to see the most wear and tear. Visibility is actually fairly good thanks to big windows and generously sized mirrors with built-in convex sections. That said, having the rear parking sensors that come standard on the SV model is still a big plus.

As for the interior, there's a lot of space to stretch out and move around. High-roof Cargo models offer enough headroom for folks looking for a workshop on wheels they can walk around in. The NV Passenger lacks the high-roof option, so those in back may have to duck their heads while moving about. On the bright side, the Passenger's three rear seating rows can be removed piecemeal or altogether for maximum versatility. Wide-opening rear doors and a low step-in height on both Passenger and Cargo make for easy loading.

Additional NV perks include built-in mounting points for shelves, ladder racks and other work-related hardware. Between the rear wheelwells there's enough space to accommodate standard 4-by-8-foot sheets of plywood or drywall with room to spare. The NV has ample storage for smaller items, too, including large door pockets, a full-width overhead shelf on high-roof versions and a pull-out drawer underneath the driver seat.

Read the most recent 2013 Nissan NV review.

If you are looking for older years, visit our used Nissan NV page.

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