Perfect For Around Town Light Duty Delivery
Nissan’s 2013 NV200 Compact Cargo van was designed for light-duty delivery and hauling, and it does it quite well. Competing directly against the Ford Transit Connect and the coming Ram ProMaster City and Chevy City Express, this segment of high-roof, slab sided utility vans will undoubtedly become a very common sight on US roads.
The front-wheel drive, 3,255 lb., 2013 Nissan NV200 Cargo SV is powered by a 2.0L, 16-valve 4-cylinder gasoline engine, rated at 131 hp delivering 139 lb-ft of torque. The engine mates to Nissan’s Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which gets you around without ever feeling a shifting gear. There are varying opinions about owning a car with a CVT, but I like them for their smooth operation and fuel economy. Having driven
several Nissans with a CVT, it is obvious that they pretty much have them figured-out.
So why is Smarticd reviewing a gasoline-powered van as we primarily feature alternatives to gas-only vehicles? Because we’re focused on telling you about the best car or truck for the job. The Nissan NV200 Cargo can haul 1,500+ lbs. while claiming the Best-In-Class city fuel economy of 24 mpg. The freeway economy is listed at 25 mpg with an overall average of 24 mpg. I was able on a 250-mile freeway run, with no load, to get close to 30 mpg. That claim may not last long as you can see in the competitive stats at the end of this test.
We are not the promoters of any one technology because there are no silver bullets. We want to give you the information you need to make the best decision when it comes to fuel efficiency. Therefore, we felt the NV200 was newsworthy if you are looking for a cargo utility vehicle that gets excellent fuel economy for its size category. Smarticd will feature more gasoline-powered vehicles when they merit the attention and recognition.
The Driving Experience: Interior
The 2013 Nissan NV200 Cargo SV comes with a nice list of features that we have become accustomed to seeing on passenger cars and SUVs. Some of these include power windows (with driver side one-touch auto-down), power heated outside mirrors, power door locks, cruise control, steering wheel audio controls, A/C, dual overhead map lights, remote keyless entry, intermittent wipers and plenty of
cubbies, storage bins and cup holders.
The seats were comfortable and have cloth inserts with vinyl on the bolsters where the most in-and-out wear will take place. Nice touch.
The driver-focused cockpit has all the controls and gauges within easy reach of the driver. The NV200 Cargo, designed for commercial use, offers mobile office conveniences including a center console with laptop/hanging file folder storage and storage areas on the upper instrument panel for folders. Another convenient feature offers two benefits: the passenger seatback folds down to serve as a worktop or lunch table and it extends the cargo space for hauling longer items, such as pipe, lumber or a surfboard. The tray built into the passenger-side seatback can fit most laptops and includes a penholder for use as desk.
Our NV200 Cargo SV was equipped with Nissan’s optional Technology Package which came with a 5.8-inch color touch screen, Bluetooth with hands-free Nissan Voice Recognition for streaming audio (Pandora radio capable, iPhone only), telephone, navigation and their text messaging assistant. Also in the technology package was SiriusXM, NissanConnect with a navigation system that includes NavTraffic, NavWeather and Google Points Of Interest.
One note on the sound system: because the test NV200 Cargo had no built-out interior sides past the cockpit (more on this later) and there is little insulation or noise deadening as a result, it comes with only two speakers
mounted on the dash. At freeway speeds, with the windows open, you pretty much lose any possibility of a high-quality listening experience. With the A/C on and windows closed, it’s just a bit better.
The NV200 Cargo comes standard with large outside mirrors with integrated convex spotter mirrors and, as an option in the Technology Package, a rear view camera. These are good things as the windowless sliding doors on each side make for difficult, if not dangerous, backing situations. Sliding door windows are an option, which Smarticd strongly recommends you get, as whatever advertising space you forgo on the slab-sided door will be rewarded by your not bumping into stationary and moving objects.
Visibility aside, the large, side sliding doors open and close with ease and can accommodate loading most tall items. This loading convenience goes for the rear doors which are also tall and have a 40/60 split design. The 60 percent right, or curb, side provides for easy access from a sidewalk and the 40 percent left side door is shorter in width, reducing its potential intrusion into the street when open, helping lower the risk of accidents due to passing vehicles. A very convenient feature is that both rear doors have two opening positions: 90º and 180º; they can fold flat against the van sides and not hinder loading and unloading.
The NV200 Cargo is considered a commercial vehicle and is only sold through select Nissan dealers. This makes sense as a dealer conversant in the truck and van needs of business owners will be knowledgeable of how this completely empty van can be outfitted. It comes standard with six floor-mounted cargo rings and integrated mounting points, which allow installation of racks and shelves without drilling into the sidewalls.
The NV200 Cargo is spacious: 82.8-inch cargo length, 54.8-inch cargo width, 48-inch between the wheel wells and a 53-inch cargo area height, resulting in a capacity of 122.7 cubic feet. It’s rated to take up to a 1,500-pound payload. The cargo floor liftover height is a very low 21.1 inches, which makes loading and unloading a breeze. However, to have such a low floor height also means having an even lower rear bumper, leaving the back of the van susceptible to damage in a rear end collision.
Standard safety features include roof-mounted curtain, side impact air bags and front seat-mounted driver and passenger side impact air bags, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, TPMS.
The Driving Experience: On The Road
The NV200 Cargo is nimble on city streets and the smooth operation of the CVT makes zipping around town a breeze. There are excellent sightlines out the front windshield as the driver’s seating position is high, aided by a six-way manually adjusted seat. As mentioned earlier a big area of concern was no standard widow on the right side sliding door making for some very interesting – challenging – backing maneuvers. I found that parking the NV200 Cargo was easy and the 36.7’ curb-to-curb turning radius very helpful in tight spots.
My test NV200 Cargo came with no cargo-area insulation, so once on the freeway, road noise is noticeable. Being a tall vehicle (73.7 inches) with a short 115.2-inch wheelbase and 60-inch width, coupled with small 15-inch wheels and all-season tires, it had significant body roll if pushed too hard around corners. Out on the freeways here in Southern California, I felt it did not track well as our concrete freeway surfaces are grooved for traction and water dispersion and can also get a bit like a washboard. I felt the combination of a slab-sided van being buffeted by the windwash from big rigs, the small wheels and grooved freeway surfaces left me with an occasional uneasy feeling at freeway speeds. Possibly with a loaded NV200 Cargo the ride would be more stable, but even then, I would suggest Nissan’s cargo van be used primarily for in-town deliveries.
The 2013 NV200 Compact Cargo begins at $21,085 and the SV base model starts at $22,075, both including the $845 Destination Charge. Our SV also had the Back Door Glass ($190), Exterior Appearance ($190), All Season Floor Mats ($95) and the Technology Packages ($950) for a total of $23,250, including the Destination Charge.
The 2013 NV200 Compact Cargo comes with these warranties:
Bumper-to-bumper: 5 year/100,000 miles
Powertrain: 5 year/60,000 miles
Drivetrain: 5 year/60,000 miles
Corrosion: 5 year/Unlimited miles
Emissions: 2 year/24,000 miles (3 year/50,000 miles for California)
Observations: 2013 Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo SV
If you need a light-duty delivery vehicle to haul cargo in-town and short distances on the freeway, then you should be considering the Nissan NV200 Cargo. This very versatile van is easy to drive, park and maneuver in
the city, and with its low lift-over floor height and tall, wide doors, reduces the difficulty of loading and unloading cargo.
The fuel economy is excellent, maybe even better than advertised. The CVT makes for a smooth driving experience. Nissan’s understanding that NV200 Cargo owners will be doing business has led to a nicely outfitted vehicle that can serve as a mobile office.
You can find a Nissan commercial dealer here . Have them let you take it out for a combination city and freeway test drive to see for yourself how it will help your business grow.
Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!
The EV Cargo-Hauling Option – e-NV200
By Michael Coates/Senior Editor
Given Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn’s new passion for pure electric vehicles, it’s not surprising that an electric version of the NV200 is going to be arriving soon after the gas model hits the roads of the U.S.
The e-NV200’s concept is simple – all of the functionality of the NV200 with none of the tailpipe emissions. Like the Leaf, the e-NV200 has a charging port under the Nissan logo at the front. In fact, it features a transplant of the Leaf’s electric drivetrain, which includes an 80KW AC synchronous electric motor that generates 207 lb-ft of torque. That should deliver off-the-line performance even better than the gas version, except that you’re also hauling around a 48-module lithium-ion battery (also from the Leaf) that will add a few pounds to the NV200’s
normal weight. In gas-engine trim, the NV200 is roughly the same weight as a Leaf. Since it has the same charging system as the Leaf, the e-NV200 should be capable of DC (480-volt) fast-charging, which would allow it to charge to 80-percent capacity in about 30 minutes and extend its capability for local deliveries or short-range commercial work.
The e-NV200 is to have a range of 73 miles and has been used in trials with the Japan Post Service and FedEx in Europe. More are due on the roads here this year for further testing. Of course at this early stage there is no talk of price.
Some comparative statistics (since two models are not yet on the market some info is a little sketchy):
2014 Ford Transit Connect /$22,000 / 22-30-25 w/1.6L EcoBoost engine 178 hp/184 lb-ft torque & 6-sp trans/ 103.9 cu ft (long wheelbase=128.6) / 1,710 lb payload / CNG option
2015 Ram ProMaster City (due on in early 2015) / no price announced / 178 hp/174 lb-ft torque w/2.4L Tigershark engine / 132 cu ft / 1,883 lb payload
2015 Chevy City Express (due soon) / $21,955 / 2.0L engine / 131 hp & CVT / 122.7 cu ft / 1,500 lb payload
2015 Model Year Updates Announced
No sooner did we get this road test published than Nissan announced some changes coming the NV200 in the next model year. Topping the list is a fuel economy boost, which will be accompanied by a variety of new optional equipment. Here’s the laundry list of updates:
The NV full-size cargo van will get the new SL trim level (along with the S and SV models) that includes chrome bumpers, grille, door handles, and mirror caps. The NV SL will also offer an eight-way driver’s seat, vehicle security system, and first-row side and roof-mounted curtain side air bags.
The 2015 NV also gets the updated NissanConnect infotainment system with navigation and mobile apps paired with a 5.8-inch touch screen display. The NV passenger van also gets the upgraded NissanConnect system. Both NV versions will be available in early 2015.
The 2015 NV200 compact cargo van gets several upgrades, including a new next-gen Xtronic transmission, revised HD alternator, and 1 mpg improvement in fuel economy to 24/26/25 mpg for city/highway/combined cycles. Additionally, new options include rear sonar and a sliding door glass package. The 2015 NV200 will be available in September.
The 2015 NV200 Taxi will also get the NissanConnect system with navigation and mobile apps paired with a 5.8-inch display. It will be available in early 2015.
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