One-Year Review: 2013 Nissan NV200

26,000 Miles In The Driver Seat

Melissa Spiering
Oct 8, 2014
Photographers: Truck Trend Editors
For the past year, we've been living with and testing a 2013 Nissan NV200 SV cargo van as an alternative to the standard work truck—and it's proven to be an honest workhorse despite its love-it-or-hate-it appearance.
Our NV200 had nearly all the bells and whistles to support a two-man band. Nissan kept the options for the NV200 simple, making $23,250 (including destination) the price tag of our nearly fully loaded van. The SV trim level came with heated exterior mirrors, six interior floor-mounted D-ring tie-downs, keyless entry, power door locks, and cruise control. To disguise the less-than-desirable plastic bumpers, we spec'd the van with the exterior appearance package ($190) that included body-color front and rear bumpers, side mirrors, and door handles; alloy-looking wheel covers; and a chrome front grille. We also increased our visibility on the road with the backdoor glass package that included an interior rearview mirror ($190). Lastly, we loaded the van with the factory-installed Technology package ($950) that included NissanConnect Navigation with a 5.8-inch touch-screen monitor; rearview camera; Bluetooth hands-free phone; USB connection; access to NavTraffic, NavWeather, and POIs powered by Google; Pandora radio compatibility; Bluetooth audio streaming; and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Photo 2/58   |   The utility of the NV200 cannot be denied. It easily absorbed substantial cargo loads from home improvement stores. Whereas a shortbed, fullsize pickup's bed would be too short to transport 6-foot fence pickets flat, the NV200 was able to, allowing for additional loading on top of the boards. With the enclosed cargo area, there was no fear that any items would come loose and escape. Plus, say goodbye to drive-thru lines or late-night unloading—lock up and leave it.
Since the NV200's target demographic is commercially focused, we wanted to upfit the van as if we were your average Joe Plumber. Nissan currently has a commercial van incentive program that offers several "No Charge" Adrian Steel storage and utility packages for qualified business owners. These packages come in several partitions, roof racks, and shelving combos installed for free. We added Adrian Steel's ADseries Shelf and wire partition package #2 ($563), interior four-hook bar ($37), and grip-lock ladder rack ($769)—installed to tackle just about any job. These prices are for those who don't qualify for the incentive program.
Upfitting our interior with the metal cargo shelves and wire partition has had its ups and downs. On the upside, the shelves have been awesome and hold whatever gear we can stuff in them, while the wire partition gives us peace of mind as it keeps that gear (and the family dogs) safely away from the cockpit. On the downside, we lost 132 pounds of our payload (in addition to precious cubic feet of cargo area) and gained a noisier interior cabin that has hindered our Bluetooth's clarity. Pairing a smartphone to the system was easy, and the system paired itself every time the van was entered. But when the van was in motion, the person on the other end of a call had a hard time hearing complete sentences; talking loudly only made it worse. The only time a normal conversation could be had with the Bluetooth was when the van was parked. That said, it's a hollow van, and hollow vans tend to have more noise due to the lack of sound-damping interior materials.
Having the rear door glass package helps greatly with visibility (especially on busy Los Angeles freeways), and the sideview mirrors have small blind-spot mirrors that do a great job in daylight. However, side visibility at night can be difficult when trying to judge how much room you have between you and another vehicle during lane changes, especially when all that can be seen are two little glowing dots in a mirror the size of a fun-size Snickers bar.
Photo 3/58   |   2013 Nissan Nv200 Front Seats
For the most part, the NV200 is a respectable daily driver. The front seats are comfortable, the mpg is fairly good, and the driveability is easygoing. Don't expect the NV200 to hug the corkscrew at Laguna Seca Speedway or climb Mount Everest, but the power delivered by the 131hp 2.0L I-4 engine and CVT transmission combination is ample for its needs. The van lags at full-throttle, and the CVT is loud until reaching a cruising speed. The ride fairs well at most legal speeds, but anything beyond 75 mph can become daunting and feels "floaty"—especially with an empty cargo bay. The van's narrow 185/60R15 tires don't leave much of a footprint and tend to dance around on uneven roads and potholes. However, the van feels like a different beast once it's loaded—much more planted and connected to the road.
The NV200 SV has a max payload of 1,470 pounds and 122.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats. The cargo floor sits low, with a liftover height of 21.1 inches for the rear barn doors and a step-in height of 19.2 inches at the side sliding doors, making loading at any angle easy. The NV200 has hauled everything but a kitchen sink (which it certainly could), including: a washer and dryer set, a fish tank, BBQs, lumber, video gear, furniture, a Honda CT90 motorcycle, 20 2-cubic-foot bags of garden mulch along with kitchen cupboards, and hundreds of 6-foot fence boards. The best part? Locking up the load and grabbing some lunch, without having to keep a watchful eye. "Where the NV200 really shines is in its utility," explains Jason Gonderman, Truck Trend's editor-in-chief. "The double sliding doors and rear barn doors make loading a breeze from any angle. No matter how full the cargo hold got, the NV200 seemingly continued to ask for more. And at full capacity, the NV200 showed little sign of reduced braking or accelerating ability."
Photo 10/58   |   2013 Nissan NV200 SV Side View In Motion
We put about 25,000 miles on our NV200, making three visits to the dealer for maintenance. Our first service was at 7,500 miles and included a multipoint inspection, oil change, and tire rotation—totaling $63 for parts and labor with a dealer coupon. Our second service at 15,000 miles also included a multipoint inspection, oil change, and tire rotation—totaling $95. We also learned an odd fact about the NV200, in that it doesn't have an in-cabin air filter. Our third service at 22,500 miles was comprised of an oil change and tire rotation for a grand total of $58. We also had two recall notices issued and fixed while the van was in our care. Overall, the Nissan NV200 delivers its promise as a cargo van—without breaking the bank.
The NV200 remained unchanged for the 2014 model year. However, expect a few minor changes as it enters its third year of production. For 2015, the NV200 will receive the new, next-gen Xtronic transmission that improves efficiency by 1 mpg for highway and combined fuel economy, reduces "shift-shock," and decreases transmission noise. Other improvements include a revised HD alternator, updated NissanConnectSM, and improved wide-angle convex side mirrors. Several new options will also be available: Rear Sonar, a Sliding Door Glass Package, and two new exterior colors (Cayenne Red and Graphite Blue). The '15 NV200 will be available in September 2014.
Photo 11/58   |   2013 Nissan NV200 Engine
Commercial Van Interiors installed Adrian Steel Cargo Management's Package #2, which included one ADseries Shelf and the wire partition. The shelving is nice for organizing small items, but it also narrows the otherwise cavernous cargo area.

Our Car
SERVICE LIFE: 12 mo / 25,915 mi
BASE PRICE: $21,825
OPTIONS:: Technology Package ($950: navigation, backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity), Back Door Glass Package ($190: rear door glass, rearview mirror), Exterior Appearance Package ($190: wheel covers, body-colored exterior trim), all-season floor mats ($95)
PRICE AS TESTED: $23,250
AVG ECON/CO2: 23.3 mpg / 0.83 lb/mi
PROBLEM AREAS: None
MAINTENANCE COST: $214.80 (3-oil change, tire rotation, inspection)
NORMAL-WEAR COST: $0
3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE*: $11,160
RECALLS: Battery fuse terminal wiring, passenger seat airbag sensor, steering column
*Automotive Lease Guide data
Photo 33/58   |   2013 Nissan NV200 Rear Inteiror Cargo Space

2013 Nissan NV200 SV
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD
ENGINE TYPE I-4, aluminum block/head
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 121.9 cu in/1997 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 9.7:1
POWER (SAE NET) 131 hp @ 5200 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 139 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
REDLINE 6600 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 25.0 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION Cont. variable auto
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 5.41:1/2.13:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; solid axle, leaf springs
STEERING RATIO 18.3:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 3.7
BRAKES, F;R 11.1-in vented disc; 9.0-in drum, ABS
WHEELS 5.5 x 15-in, steel
TIRES 185/60R15C 94/92T M+S JK Tyre America Cargo
DIMENSIONS
WHEELBASE 115.2 in
TRACK, F/R 60.0/59.8 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 186.3 x 68.1 x 73.7 in
TURNING CIRCLE 36.7 ft
CURB WEIGHT 3281 lb
WEIGHT DIST., F/R 61/39%
SEATING CAPACITY 2
HEADROOM 41.7 in
LEGROOM 42.6 in
SHOULDER ROOM 54.1 in
CARGO VOLUME 122.7 cu ft
MAX CARGO FLOOR LENGTH 82.8 in
WIDTH BET. WHEELHOUSES 48.0 in
CARGO LIFT-OVER HEIGHT 21.1 in
TEST DATA
ACCELERATION TO MPH
0-30 3.4 sec
0-40 5.2
0-50 7.4
0-60 10.1
0-70 13.7
0-80 18.6
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 5.6
QUARTER MILE 17.6 sec @ 78.2 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 139 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.73 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 30.2 sec @ 0.52 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 2000 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
BASE PRICE $21,825
PRICE AS TESTED $23,250
STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/yes
AIRBAGS Dual front, front side, front curtain
BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 3 yrs/36,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 14.5 gal
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 24/25/24 mpg
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 140/135 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.79 lb/mile
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 23/28/25 mpg
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular
Photo 54/58   |   Nissan E NV200 Concept Van
Nissan e-NV200 Electric By Edward A. Sanchez
The e-NV200 is powered by an AC synchronous motor shared with the Nissan Leaf that produces 107 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. Like the Leaf, the e-NV200 is charged via a charging port in the center of the front end, which is distinguished from the conventional gasoline and diesel-powered NV200 models with a unique aerodynamic panel where the vented grille usually is. To further differentiate the e-NV200 from its hydrocarbon-burning brethren, the front features LED driving lights, and the gauge cluster is unique to the model.
Nissan made some adaptations specifically for commercial use. The e-NV200 features power outlets allowing users to power electric tools and equipment from the onboard battery pack up to 6,000 watts. Because of its low mounting in the chassis and lack of a fuel tank or exhaust system, the e-NV200 has the same cargo volume as its conventionally powered counterparts, as well as the same rated payload capacity. Nissan claims the e-NV200 will carry two standard pallets side by side in the cargo area, and the cargo area can accommodate items more than 6 feet long. –

Photo 55/58   |   2015 Chevrolet City Express Front Three Quarter
2015 Chevrolet City Express By Edward A. Sanchez
If the City Express looks familiar, that's because it's for all intents and purposes identical to the Nissan NV200, which has been on sale since 2013. That means the same 115.2-inch wheelbase, 186.3-inch length, 122.7-cubic-foot cargo volume, and 131hp 2.0L I-4 and CVT automatic transmission. Unlike the Ford Transit Connect—which, for 2014, will be offered in two lengths, with the choice of two powertrains, and two-, five-, or seven-passenger configurations with the choice of an upward-swinging rear hatch or side-hinged "barn doors"—the City Express comes in one configuration: two-seat cargo van with rear barn doors. Buyers do get a choice between entry LS and "upscale" LT trims. All City Express models get power windows, Bluetooth hands-free calling, a rearview camera, and navigation optional as part of the LT Technology package.
Pricing for the 2015 City Express will start at $22,950 for an LS model while the higher-trim LT model starts at $24,510, including $995 destination. The City Express will go on sale early in the fourth quarter of 2014.

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