The 2017 Nissan NV Passenger van represents a sort of missing link in the evolution of the full-size, people-hauling van. It has the tougher, trucklike construction and burly V8 power of traditional work vans of the past, but its long nose makes it feel like a truck from the driver's seat. The result is a uniquely capable vehicle that represents an alternative van choice for those who can utilize the NV's distinctive array of capabilities.
With its tough construction and available V8, the NV can haul and tow considerable weight, while also feeling less taxed when fully loaded with its maximum of 12 passengers. However, compared to other brands' passenger vans, the NV does fall a bit short, as Nissan doesn't offer 15-passenger capacity or a High Roof option that would allow people to walk around comfortably upright. The latter is a bit disappointing given that the cargo version of the NV is available with such a body style.
Its engines are also less efficient. Now, true, the EPA does not list fuel economy figures for commercial vans, but we don't need an official testing regimen to know that the NV's engines (a 4.0-liter V6 good for 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque and a 5.6-liter V8 good for 317 hp and 385 lb-ft) would fall short of the smaller gasoline V6's and diesel engines found in competitors.
Three trim levels are available: S, SV and SL. Standard equipment includes front and rear air-conditioning, a four-speaker stereo, a four-way adjustable driver seat and three rows of rear bench seats. If you want something less overtly spartan, stepping up to the SV is a must because it adds power accessories, keyless entry, a power driver seat, interior power outlets, overhead lighting and more speakers. The top-of-the-line SL, meanwhile, only comes with the V8 and slathers on luxurious equipment such as leather upholstery, a rearview camera, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control up front, Bluetooth, a touchscreen interface, navigation and a USB port.
That's a decent amount of creature comforts, but ultimately the NV isn't as comfortable or accommodating as more modern, tall-roof competitors. It feels more like a cargo van called into passenger duty. There's no doubting its burlier capability, though, so for certain buyers the 2017 NV could be the right fit. If that sounds like you, make sure to do more research about it here on Edmunds, including using our pricing information and looking at inventory near you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.