By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
Nissan’s full-size NV cargo and passenger vans for 2016 offer big room and reliability for people and companies needing maximum room and utility from their mobile fleet. With two roof heights and a cavernous cargo bay, the 2016 Nissan NV van can be configured to accommodate all manner of business needs. As a passenger hauler, the NV can seat up to 12 people, putting it in direct competition with the Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ram ProMaster. Of course, all three of these competitors offer a fuel-efficient diesel engine option, whereas the NV relies solely on gasoline-powered engines. More versatile than the aging GM Chevy Express and GMC Savana vans, a nicely equipped Nissan NV with a V8 engine can tow up to 9,500 pounds.
If your cargo and passenger hauling needs exceed the capacity of an SUV or conventional van, Nissan’s 2016 NV cargo and passenger vans offer excellent use of space with a choice of powerful engines and a sub-$30,000 starting price. They also have the best warranty of any commercial van.
If you’re looking for cutting-edge van attributes, such as a diesel engine or all-wheel drive, you’ll need to look to the more efficient Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster also offer diesel engines, plus have a more streamlined European design.
For 2016, the Nissan NV cargo van gains as standard equipment, seat-mounted front-side and roof-mounted side-curtain airbags. The NV SL passenger van gains features from last year’s Technology package, including navigation with NissanConnect, a 5.8-inch touch screen with mobile apps and a rearview camera.
Standard power for the 2016 Nissan NV1500 and NV2500 HD cargo van is Nissan’s proven 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6. Commonly associated with the smaller and lighter Frontier pickup, this...
... engine is surprisingly capable in the larger NV, providing more power than GM’s V6 vans and nearly equal to the V6s found in the Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit. Even when fully loaded, we found the V6 more than up to the task, although it begins to feel strained at higher speeds. For really big jobs, there is no beating the robust horsepower and torque found in the available 5.6-liter V8. Standard on the NV3500 HD cargo and passenger vans and optional on the NV2500 HD models, this engine offers impressive power but only moderate fuel economy for the class. The NV’s suspension is also worthy of praise, providing a stable and responsive platform that belies the vehicle’s tall, top-heavy proportions.
The Nissan NV with the high-roof option may not look particularly fetching, but it sure is practical. When so equipped, the cargo van offers over 323 cubic feet of storage space. The tall roof also allows grown adults to stand upright inside the van.
Nissan has gone out of its way to maximize the NV’s interior space. Take the front passenger seat, for example. In the cargo van, the seat folds forward creating a level work station. In the passenger model, flexible seating options allow for 324 possible configurations.
Space is the Nissan NV's selling point, and there's plenty of it. Cargo models have seats for the driver and front passenger, with the rest of the bay ready to haul goods or get customized for business needs. For those needing the most space, models with the high-roof option expand cargo volume to 323.1 cubic feet, a nearly 90-cubic-foot addition vs. the 234.1 cubic feet in standard-roof models. Passenger models of Nissan's full-size van can accommodate up to 12 people. Seats in the three back rows can be removed or slid to create space for people and gear.
Form follows function in the Nissan NV, with the big van's slab-sided nature and overall large girth the keys to its ability to hold lots of stuff. Standard-roof models look like rectangles on wheels, while those with the high roof appear more like high-top sneakers. The high-roof option is reserved for NV2500 HD and NV3500 HD cargo models. Both cargo and passenger models have a sliding door on the passenger side for loading cargo and people, while the back doors have a 243-degree opening range for easier loading. Unlike some rivals, the NV comes in only one length: 240.6 inches.
A base version of the 2016 Nissan NV1500 cargo van includes air conditioning, dozens 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 four speakers for the audio system. The lowest trims of both passenger and cargo models still use manual windows and doorlocks. For $650 extra, we recommend the Power Basic Package that rectifies this and adds cruise control and keyless entry.
Upgrades for the 2016 Nissan NV cargo and passenger vans include navigation, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, front- and side-curtain airbags, dual-zone air conditioning (passenger models), remote keyless entry and rearview monitor. The SL top-line trim for cargo models includes an 8-way-power driver's seat, chrome bumpers, grille and door handles, a vehicle security system and roof-mounted side-impact airbags. In addition to the high-roof option, cargo models can be equipped with a rear glass door and side windows. Higher-trim versions include a rear sonar system to aid reversing the big van, while top-line passenger models come with leather-appointed seats that are heated in front.
The 2016 Nissan NV comes with a 261-horsepower V6 engine that is adequate for most duties. Optional on other models and standard in top trims is Nissan's 5.6-liter V8 good for 317 horsepower that offers satisfying thrust. Both engines run on regular unleaded gasoline and are connected to 5-speed automatic transmissions. All Nissan NV vans are rear-wheel drive. Maximum towing capacity for the V6 is 7,000 pounds (6,200 for passenger models), while the V8 tops out at 9,500 pounds (8,700 for passenger models). The EPA does not supply fuel-economy ratings for vehicles over 8,500 GVWR. The diesel offerings in the Sprinter and Ram rivals are more efficient, while smaller cargo vans like the
Nissan NV200 use less-thirsty 4-cylinder engines.
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 2016 Nissan NV cargo van has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just above $27,750 while passenger versions begin at about $33,800. A well-equipped cargo version can reach over $37,000, while a loaded passenger version can top $40,000. At its base price, the Nissan NV Cargo undercuts the entry prices of the GMC Savana, Chevy Express and Ram ProMaster, and is several thousand less than a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. NV Passenger models begin nearly the same as people-ferrying versions of the Ford Transit. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price below to see what others in your area are paying for the Nissan NV. Over the years, the Nissan NV's resale value is expected to be in line with its domestic competitors, none of which hold their value particularly well.