Strengths and weaknesses:
- full-sized cargo handling
- rear-door manipulation
- lots of storage solutions
- big vehicle
Nissan van the NV of all movers
"It also comes in 1500 and 3500 HD versions, to mimic the designations of the more established U.S.-vans."
If you’re planning on moving house (or anything large for that matter), you’d best be looking at a Nissan NV – the full-sized cargo van introduced by Nissan for the 2012 model year.
Now I know the concept is not new – North American manufacturers have been building full sized vans for well on half a century – but this is the first one created by a Japanese maker, specifically for the North American market.
Like all such European full-sized vans, such as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (and others not marketed in North America), the NV uses a specific platform (North American vans have traditionally been derived from their respective full-size pickup platforms). It carries the designation 2500, to indicate its “three-quarter ton” capacity of 1,425 kg (and we needed every one of those kg on a couple trips) and it also has the HD moniker to indicate it is more of a commercial vehicle than a personal one. It also comes in 1500 and 3500 HD versions, to mimic the designations of the more established U.S.-vans.
And that’s a good point. I would not buy an NV unless I had a specific commercial need for it. It’s nice to borrow one for our summer moving experience and though it doesn’t move things as easily as a U-Haul truck, it is much easier to drive and park. About the only think I miss is a rearview camera to allow me to line up the van’s rear doors to the porch at our temporary rental unit (we’re having a new house built and no, I won’t be using an NV or something similar to relive the experience).
The high roof helps with items such as the king-sized mattress and some of the larger and bulkier pieces of furniture, but the much smaller Ford Transit Connect we have the previous week is infinitely more manageable at loading and unloading (the NV really does have quite the step up, though it’s made easier by grab handles on the door frames).
Unlike the smaller Ford, the Nissan has just two seats (though a passenger version is coming) so everything behind the driver and front passenger is either bare metal or covered in some heavy duty rubberized mat (there are some wooden panel pieces, too but I think they’re just there to keep users from snagging wires to the various lights and such). It would have been nice to have tie downs to keep cargo secured to walls, but honestly we just jammed everything in to keep it from moving around (and we didn’t break anything, which was a small wonder to us), and there are enough metal creases and hollows to easily attach bungee cords for those things you have to keep upright.
Storage cubbies above the occupants’ heads and pockets in the rear doors keep everything close to hand. Also handy are the slide out drawers under the seats, which can house things like work gloves and tape measures to keep them fairly handy when exiting and entering the cabin. Larger items such as laptop computers or tool-belts can fit into the large bin between the seats and there are cubbies here and there to keep smaller items such as access cards and cell phones from flopping about or being covered over by assorted clutter.
Standard power comes from a four-litre V6, with our test van fitted with the 5.6-litre V8. Yes, it uses a lot of fuel, but we gladly hand over the cash so we can move more stuff without incurring suspension or frame damage as we’re hopping curbs to get as close to doorways as possible. Power is transmitted by a five-speed automatic transmission.
It all adds up to a thoroughly capable work horse, when you need it. And maybe that’s it primary customer – the company who caters to the one-time needs of people like me.
2012 Nissan NV2500 HD
Trim level: SV
Price as tested (before taxes): $38,368
Options on test vehicle: V8 engine ($1,150).
Configuration: front engine/ rear-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 5.6L V8/ 5-spd. automatic
Power/torque: 317 hp/ 385 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): Regular (106L)
Fuel economy ratings: not rated
Observed fuel economy: 19.2 L/100km over 369 km city (under full load)
Warranties: 3 years/ 60,000 km (basic); 5 years/ 100,000 km (powertrain)
Competitors: Chevrolet Express; Ford E-Series; Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.