Unless you're a tradesman, owning a vehicle like the 2015 Nissan NV3500 makes little sense. In a word, it's huge and unconventional in appearance, having grafted the nose of a conventional body-on-frame pickup onto the tall boxy body one usually associates with vehicles that mount the engine just ahead of the front seats.  There is a unique practicality to the Nissan design, especially if you use your truck as a mobile workspace, but most of all, if you have a lot of stuff to haul, as we did recently, moving a son back from college and making a personal move from a rental to a new home.

The tall roof means you really have to watch your surroundings, not only from low building overhangs, and parking decks but also tree branches, normally things that you wouldn't think twice about behind the wheel of a normal car or even full-size SUV. But it also means there is also plenty of room to move around inside without having to stoop and an abundance of space to stack stuff when loading with boxes and other assorted large and odd-shaped items.

Conventional layout pays dividends

Having the engine out front pays huge dividends both in cockpit roominess and overall ride quality. The 2015 Nissan NV3500, when fitted with a 5.6-liter V-8 making 317 horsepower has plenty of power on tap to make driving effortless. While the standard box body has no side or rear windows aft of the front doors, and hence, no center windshield mounted rearview mirror, it didn't take long to adapt to the driving experience, thanks to the large bi-level outside mirrors that featured lower convex lenses to pick up vehicles lurking in the NV's massive blind spots. And the smooth ride from the long wheelbase coupled with the muscular V8's performance made keeping up with freeway traffic a breeze.

With a right side slider and rear cargo doors that could be unhooked to swing all the way open flat against the sides, the NV has the easy access of a moving van, though the lift-up to the load deck is a lot higher than other box vans in its segment. Despite the height of this vehicle, it never felt top heavy and was quite content to swallow an apartment full of furniture for the day's drive between Phoenix and LA.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2015

Comfort is key 

Our test vehicle sported the new SL trim offered on all 2015 Nissan NV Cargo Vans, from the lightest duty 1500 up through the brawny 3500. In addition to the appearance items found on the SL package, which includes chrome bumpers, wheels, grille and door handles, the interior sports an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat and a center 5.8-inch screen with NissanConnect including navigation and a backup camera as part of an optional technology package. While a welcome addition in a work truck, the only criticism is that it could benefit from a larger screen for the nav. Satellite radio and hands-free phone connectivity were also great features to have for the long haul.

In addition to the abundance of cargo space in the main load floor, the NV3500 also has slick little cubbies placed above the driver and passenger seat as well as a cavernous center console that includes USB, 12 volt power points as well as a 115 volt outlet. If you have a need for a large hauler like the 2015 Nissan NV3500, base price on the SL model is $35,060, plus $1,100 for the aforementioned tech package. Add in $995 destination and this hauler rolls out the door at $37,155. Or you can keep the NV in mind the next time you need a short term rental to do a big job. The NV3500 is up to just about anything you can throw at it.

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