The 2017 Nissan NV Cargo has one foot inside the traditional work van camp and another inside the new, more modern one. It has the stout truck frame and V8 engine option of those old-school choices, while its High Roof option and SUV-like engine placement that frees up cabin space are more indicative of the 21st century. This setup makes the NV Cargo a bit odd, but it also makes it uniquely capable.
For starters, the NV's construction and burly available V8 provide it with far more towing capacity than newer, more modern competitors. Heck, the V6-powered version essentially matches what they can achieve in a best-case scenario. Having the V8's 375 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque at hand is also pretty helpful when your van is loaded to the roof with gear or cargo.
Of course, that type of engine does take its toll on fuel economy. Because of its commercial van classification, the EPA does not provide fuel economy estimates for the NV Cargo, but we don't need them to know that a 375-hp V8 will return worse fuel economy than competitors' gasoline V6 and turbodiesel engines. Those would also most likely better the NV's standard 4.0-liter V6 (261 hp, 281 lb-ft).
As a cargo van, there isn't exactly an immense amount of feature content available, but you can equip it to meet a variety of needs. There are three trim levels. The base S has steel wheels, a manual four-way-adjustable driver seat, air-conditioning, a two-speaker stereo and multiple tie-down points in the cargo area. Power locks and windows, plus keyless entry and cruise control can be added within a package or as part of the SV trim that further adds rear parking sensors, cargo area lights and power mirrors. The SL adds front parking sensors, a power driver seat and a security system. Should you want to treat the driver, the top two trims can be upgraded with the Technology package, which includes Bluetooth, a touchscreen interface, a rearview camera, navigation system and a USB port.
In terms of capability, the NV's in-between concept results in a cargo area somewhere in between older work vans and newer ones. When the available High Roof option is specified, someone 6-foot-3 can walk around upright in back, but ultimately the NV can't match the maximum space of newer competitors. You may also find that the driving experience to be far more trucklike, especially when trying to maneuver its big, bulbous front end into tight places.
However, if the job at hand calls for a work van that offers a blend of stout capability and extra interior space, we think the 2017 Nissan NV Cargo Van is a compelling option for many businesses. Make sure to research its competitors here on Edmunds, and check out our pricing and inventory features when you've settled on the right choice for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.