By Zach Vlasuk - Updated Date: 7/17/2013
The third and smallest member of Nissan's commercial vehicle lineup, the entirely-new NV200 cargo van is poised and ready to mix it up with Ford's segment-dominating Transit Connect. Offering the lowest price point and highest combined fuel economy rating in the category, the 2013 Nissan NV200 is positioned as a value-intensive competitor to both light-duty and full-size work vans. On the job, the NV200's generous interior height, tall rear French doors and low load floor make it easy to access all your work-related items, while svelte exterior proportions coupled with a tidy turning radius afford car-like agility around town. Small business owners now have another choice in the compact cargo van market, and it's a good one.You'll Like This Car If...
The 2013 Nissan NV200 offers the flexibility and versatility most businesses need to get the job done right. Plus, the NV200's enticing sticker price and low operating costs will save you some green along the way.You May Not Like This Car If...
The NV200 doesn't offer much in the way of specialized workplace solutions, meaning businesses whose needs call for high-tech options like an in-dash computer, Internet access and fleet telematics (keeps tabs on vehicle location, idle time and speed) should consider the Ford Transit Connect.What's New for 2013
The 2013 NV200 is an all-new nameplate in the U.S. market, and will compete directly against the Ram C/V Tradesman and Ford Transit Connect.Driving It Driving Impressions
Thanks to its car-like unibody construction and compliant suspension, the 2013 NV200 drives more like a crossover SUV than a cargo van. In quick transitions, the NV remains well-planted despite its top-heavy nature, and the electric-assisted steering is cooperative and precise. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT) dish up impressive fuel economy numbers. In fact, our test vehicle returned 27.1 mpg on the highway at an average speed of 64 mph. There's generally enough passing power on the highway, though off-the-line acceleration is a bit sluggish while carrying loads in excess of 600 pounds. When it comes to maneuverability, the NV200 feels unexpectedly nimble on congested city streets on account of its impressive 36.7-foot turning circle (better than a Honda Accord). And, given its size and shape, the Nissan NV can slot into parking spots that virtually every full-size van would have to pass up. Helping matters even more is the NV's outstanding forward visibility.Favorite Features
INTEGRATED CARGO MOUNTING POINTS
Upfitters, rejoice. Every 2013 NV200 comes with 20 reinforced mounting points for installing racks, partitions, or whatever structure you need to create a personalized mobile workstation without drilling into the van.
FOLDABLE PASSENGER SEAT
The passenger seat in the NV200 folds down to serve as a work desk or to accommodate hauling longer items.
The NV200's interior is built for functionality, not fashion. Interior functions are about as straightforward as first grade arithmetic, although the audio system controls can be a bit difficult to reach while driving.
Nifty storage options abound, including a clipboard holder in the upper dash, a small drawer beneath the passenger seat, and a center console equipped to handle a laptop and hanging file folders. In terms of cargo capacity, the NV200 offers a palatable 122.7 cubic feet of space, with a maximum payload of 1,500 pounds. The Ford Transit Connect offers 129.6 cubic feet of cargo room and a 1,600-pound payload, while the V6-powered Ram C/V Tradesman ups those numbers to 155.5 and 1,800, respectively.
Given the target market, the NV200's styling – or lack thereof – shouldn't be a cause for concern. Accessibility comes in the form of minivan-like dual sliding side doors and 60/40 split rear French doors that open 180 degrees. At just over 21 inches, the cargo load floor is about two inches lower than that of the Transit Connect, and undercuts the Ram C/V Tradesman by over three inches. Unlike the Transit Connect, however, the NV200 does not offer pre-cut templates for custom graphics or a choice of wheelbase lengths.Notable Standard Equipment
The 2013 Nissan NV200 is available in two trim levels: S and SV. Base "S" models include air conditioning, a cargo bay floor protector, 15-inch steel wheels, manually-adjustable front seats with vinyl wear patches to guard against excessive wear on the upholstery, and a 2-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input for portable music players. Stepping up to the SV model lands you cruise control, remote keyless entry, and two 12V DC power outlets. Safety equipment on all NV200s consists of traction and stability control, six airbags, and a slide-away brake pedal assembly that moves the brake pedal away from the driver in certain frontal impacts to help reduce lower leg injuries.Notable Optional Equipment
For reasons of safety, we strongly recommend opting for the Rear Door Glass Package. If your tastes run more towards in-vehicle connectivity, the $950 Technology Package includes a navigation system with a 5.8-inch display, Bluetooth, a backup camera, Pandora radio compatibility, and Google Send to Car, which lets you transfer an address or business listing to the vehicle from virtually anywhere. Value seekers in need a backup camera at a cut-rate price should look to the aftermarket, for it offers an array of wireless cameras for about $100. Finally, an Exterior Appearance Package is also available for SV grades, which adds wheel covers and body-color bumpers, mirrors, and door handles.Under the Hood
The 2013 Nissan NV200 makes do with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 131 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque. A gearless continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) sends that power to the front wheels. This thrifty powertrain combination nets the NV200 a 24 mpg combined rating from the EPA, besting both the Transit Connect and Ram C/V Tradesman. As is the case with its competitors, the 2013 Nissan NV200 runs on regular unleaded gasoline.
131 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
139 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/25 mpg
The 2013 Nissan NV200 has a starting price of just over $20,000 and rises to about $23,500 when fully-equipped. At these prices, the NV200 is relative bargain compared to the Ford Transit Connect and Ram C/V Tradesman, which begin in the $23,000 range. Before heading to the dealership, be sure to take a look at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are currently paying for the NV200. Because the NV200 is an all-new model, we are unable to predict how its residuals will fare at this time.