By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor - Updated Date: 6/7/2012
For 2012, Nissan is jumping into the commercial van market with its full-size "made in America" NV cargo and passenger vans. Until now, customers looking for a full-size work or passenger van could only turn to Ford, Chevy, or Mercedes-Benz. Nissan sensed an opening for an all-new, affordable van designed to accommodate the special needs of customers in a way no previous domestic van can match. Available in cargo van form as the NV1500, 2500 HD and 3500 HD – the latter two offering a towering extended roof option – the NV poses a serious threat to the outdated Ford E-Series and Chevy Express. There is also an NV3500 HD passenger van offering a number of unique features regarding passenger comfort and safety.You'll Like This Car If...
The 2012 Nissan NV holds wide appeal to anyone that needs to move a lot of cargo or people, but must also mind the budget. V6 models are priced right, and the vast capability of the cargo van's configurable cargo bay is staggering.You May Not Like This Car If...
The Nissan NV van for 2012 isn't quite as handsome as its Ford and Chevy rivals (if a van can be considered handsome), and it doesn't have their long repair and reliability history either. If you're looking for diesel power or all-wheel drive, you'll have to look elsewhere.What's New for 2012
New for 2012 is the NV3500 HD passenger van series. Built from the same platform as the NV cargo van, the passenger version offers configurable seating for 12 with integrated seatbelts, and side-curtain airbag protection for all rows.Driving It Driving Impressions
Standard on the 2012 Nissan NV1500, NV2500 HD cargo and the NV3500 HD passenger is a 4.0-liter V6 engine that is surprisingly capable. Even with a full crew on board, the engine pulls strongly, although it does labor a bit once up to speed. The big 5.6-liter V8 is probably preferable for those who care more about utilizing the NV's 3,925-pound maximum payload or its 9,500-pound tow rating, and less about fuel economy. Ride and handling are about what one might expect from a massive rolling brick, but we must say the NV's suspension does a good job stabilizing the big van in the turns, and its 45.2-foot turning diameter, while not tiny, is a few feet better than the Ford E-Series or Chevy Express. As for acceleration, the NV can easily keep up with its rivals from Ford and Chevy, but it will just as easily outrun (and overtake) the slower, but more fuel efficient, turbodiesel Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.Favorite Features
INTEGRATED SEAT BELTS
For anyone who's had to fight past the web of ceiling-mounted seat belts to reach your shuttle's rear most seats, the NV's clever solution of integrating the belts into each seat will be a welcome sight.
PRE-DRILLED ANCHORING POSITIONS
Available on the cargo vans, numerous pre-drilled and reinforced anchoring positions allow customizers to add all manner of shelving, tool racks and accessories without damaging the cargo bay's steel walls.