KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 1/22/2013
The NV is Nissan's recent entry in the full-size van market, and is meant to take on the venerable but aging models from Ford and General Motors. Introduced in 2012, the Nissan NV is available as a cargo van or passenger van. Cargo models have a vast amount of space suitable for a variety of tasks and are available with a raised roof, while passenger versions can transport up to 12 people. Each is offered with the choice of a V6 or V8 engine. Along with its overall freshness, strong engines and relatively refined ride in what has become a stale segment, the 2013 Nissan NV has a competitive price that begins at just over $26,000 for cargo models and around $33,000 for passenger versions.
You'll Like This Car If...
The 2013 Nissan NV offers a lot of vehicle and flexibility for the money. If you need a full-size van that accommodates much cargo or can transport up to 12 people, the NV is a much fresher platform than its Ford E-Series and GM rivals, and a less-expensive one than that offered by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you want your van to have a diesel engine or all-wheel drive, look to Mercedes-Benz's Sprinter or the Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana twins for the diesel option, or, for all-wheel drive, the Chevy/GMC models. Meanwhile, Ford's all-new Transit full-size van is just around the corner to replace the E-Series. If you need something smaller and more fuel efficient, look to Ford's Transit Connect or Nissan's own NV200.
What's New for 2013
As it was just introduced in 2012, changes are minimal for the 2013 Nissan NV. They include a vinyl wear patch added to the inside bolster of front-row cloth seats, and three new exterior colors.
The standard powerplant in the 2013 Nissan NV1500, NV2500 HD cargo and NV3500 passenger van is Nissan's trusty 4.0-liter V6 that proves surprisingly capable in this big hauler. Even with a full crew aboard, the V6 pulls strongly, though it does tend to labor a bit once up to speed. Those needing more power to easily haul or tow heavier loads should look to the bigger 5.6-liter V8, standard in the NV3500 HD cargo and the top NV passenger model. That engine grants the NV with a maximum payload capacity of 3,925 pounds and towing maximum of 9,500 pounds. The Nissan NV's ride and handling are about what you'd expect from a rolling brick. That said, we appreciate the NV's suspension, which does a good job stabilizing this big vehicle in turns. Its 45.2-foot turning diameter is large, but betters that of the Ford E-Series and Chevy Express. The NV's acceleration ability allows it to keep up with its Ford and GM rivals, and is better than the slower (but fuel efficient) diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
INTEGRATED SEAT BELTS
If you've ever had to wrangle your way past a web of ceiling-mounted seat belts to reach the back of a shuttle, the Nissan NV's clever way of integrating the belts into the seats is a welcome solution.
The NV offers not just a lot of interior space – it offers that room in a smart way for better utilization. The front passenger seat in cargo versions of the van, for example, folds forward to create a work station, while hooks, floor-mounted D-rings and multiple mounting points allow you to secure all manner of items in the NV's rear cavity.
As the 2013 Nissan NV is available as a cargo or passenger van, it's not surprising that their interiors are a tale of two vehicles. In cargo form, the NV seats just a driver and passenger, with the rest of the space in back ready to hold whatever you wish, from boxes of widgets to customized shelving and hardware to suit the task at hand. For those needing the most space, models with the high roof option expand cargo volume to 323.1 cubic feet, vs. the 234.1 cubic feet in standard-roof models. Passenger versions of the Nissan NV, on the other hand, have four rows of seats that hold a total of 12 passengers: two bucket seats up front, followed by a pair of 3-seat benches, and a 4-across bench in the back. The rear rows of seats are removable for added cargo flexibility (Nissan counts a total of 324 seating configurations).
As with the interior, the Nissan NV's exterior profile comes in two different forms depending on which roof you choose: standard or high. With the standard roof, which is the only option on passenger models, the NV looks like one massive rectangle on wheels. The high-roof option is available on NV2500 HD and NV3500 cargo versions and extends the NV's slab higher, albeit with a sharply angled front that extends from the windshield. With the high roof option, a 6-foot-tall person can stand upright in the cargo hold. Windows can be added to the sides and rear of the NV to open up the space and increase visibility. A sliding door on the passenger side allows entry to the NV's rear, while the back doors have a 243-degree maximum opening range for easier loading.
Notable Standard Equipment
Standard features in a base NV1500 cargo van include air conditioning, scads of cargo mounts, pre-wiring for electrical upfitting, a tilt (but not telescoping) steering wheel, a 2-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary input, and electronic traction control. Base passenger models include seating for 12 with a dozen rear heating and cooling vents, eight cup holders/three bottle holders, and a total of four speakers for the audio system. The lowest trims of both passenger and cargo models still use manual crank windows and doorlocks (for a few hundred dollars more you can get the Power Basic Package that rectifies this and adds cruise control).
Notable Optional Equipment
Upgrades for the Nissan NV include a navigation system, Bluetooth wireless communication, front and side-curtain airbags, dual-zone air conditioning (passenger models), a power driver's seat, remote keyless entry, and a rear-view monitor. A V8 engine, standard on top trims, is available on the NV2500 cargo and the two lower versions of passenger models in lieu of the V6. Top trims of each version have many of these features, including rear sonar system and, in passenger models, leather-appointed seats that are heated in front. Those who need to tow can add a Class IV tow hitch receiver.
Under the Hood
The 2013 Nissan NV comes with a 261-horsepower V6 engine that easily out-powers the V6 offered in the GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express. Optional on other models and standard in top trims is a more powerful 5.6-liter V8 good for 385 horsepower that also outpowers the comparable V8s offered in vans by Ford and GM. Both engines run on regular unleaded gasoline and are connected to 5-speed automatic transmissions. All Nissan NV vans are rear-wheel drive. The EPA has yet to supply fuel economy ratings for the 2013 Nissan NV.
261 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
281 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
317 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
385 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
The Nissan NV cargo van has a Manufacturer's Suggest Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $26,415. Passenger versions begin just under $33,000. A well-equipped cargo version can reach the mid-$30,000 range, while a loaded passenger version hovers around $40,000. At its base price, the 2013 Nissan NV cargo is in line with base versions of the GMC Savana/Chevy Express, slightly less than a base Ford E-Series, and several thousand less than a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Before buying, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price below to see what others in your area are paying for the Nissan NV. Over the years, the Nissan NV is expected to hold its value as well as or better than its Ford and GM rivals.