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In these fuel-efficient times, full-size vans have become a dying breed. But Nissan chose to take a leap into this realm for the first time with its NV Van for 2012. Quirky looks aside, it gives buyers a simple lineup to choose from, and standard features—like cloth seating—that most other work-style vans only offer as options. The jury is still out on just how successful this model will be, but it certainly has a nice foundation to build on.
The NV Van carries over into its second year—2013—with almost no changes. The entry-level NV1500 Cargo comes in a pair of trims: S and SV. Both feature a 4-liter V6 engine that produces 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque.
Also standard is a five-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. This setup allows for a maximum towing capacity—with towing receiver—of 7,000 pounds, and maximum payloads of 2,590 pounds in the S and 2,535 in the SV.
Inside the NV 1500 Cargo, you'll find a pair of front seats wrapped in grey cloth; there's a large cargo hull in the rear. This creates a total of 234.1 cubic feet of cargo room, a maximum cargo length of 120 inches, a maximum cargo width of 70.2 inches and 68.3 cubic-feet of passenger room. The overall cargo capacity in the NV is slightly lower than its biggest competition, the Chevy Express 1500, but only by 5.6 cubic feet and 4.6 inches in length.
The S trim level provides the NV1500 Cargo with only the most basic amenities, including: a five-speed automatic transmission; front and rear disc brakes with an antilock braking system; 17-by-7.5-inch steel wheels; a black front grille, door handles, mirrors and bumpers; ten roof-rack-mounting points; air conditioning; 36 cargo-shelf-mounting positions; 10 ladder-rack-mounting points; six floor-mounted D-rings; tilt steering; variable-speed intermittent wipers; a 12-volt DC power outlet; water-repellant grey cloth front seats with four-way manual adjustments; an AM/FM/CD audio system with two speakers and an auxiliary audio input; and a fold-flat passenger seat with tray table.
The SV trim adds a few luxuries to the van. It comes standard with: a five-speed automatic transmission; four-wheel antilock disc brakes; 17-by-7.5-inch styled steel wheels; black door handles and power outside mirrors; a chrome grille and bumpers; 10 roof-rack-mounting points; rear audible parking assistant; air conditioning; 36 mounting points for cargo shelving; 10 mounting points for a ladder rack; six floor-mounted D-rings; a rear cargo-floor protector; remote keyless entry; power windows and door locks; cruise control with steering-wheel-mounted controls; grey cloth seating with an eight-way power adjusting driver’s seat; and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with an auxiliary audio jack and four speakers.
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More cargo room, optional V8 engine and competitive price, but lacks base horsepower, base vinyl seats
7,500-pound towing capacity and conventional styling, but lacks base power, higher price and few features
315 cubic feet of cargo space and huge payload capacity, but much higher priced and lower towing capacity
Low base price, high-output V6 engine and more agile, but lacks cargo capacity and tows only 3,600 pounds