The new Nissan NV200 will be making its debut at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show next week, following hot on the heels of the U.S.-model Transit Connect's debut in Chicago earlier this month. Should the NV200 come to the U.S., it would likely put up a tough fight against Ford's new commercial van.
Little brother to the recently debuted NV2500 commercial van, the NV200 boasts some impressive capabilities of its own. For starters, as a pure cargo-carrier, it will swallow 144.8 cu-ft of cargo with a payload up to 1700 lbs thanks to its FWD architecture and low-profile leaf-spring rear-suspension. That's nearly 10 more cubic-feet and 100 lb-greater payload capacity than the Transit Connect. The NV200's load floor is also eight inches longer than the Transit Connects at 80.5 inches, and Nissan has Ford beat in seating as well, offering seven seats to the Transit Connect's five.
Where Ford has an edge, though, is under the hood. The U.S.-spec Transit Connect's 2.0L gasoline engine makes more power, at 136 hp, than either of the NV200's engines and only the Nissan's diesel can beat the Ford's 128 lb-ft of torque. The NV200 will sport either an all-aluminum 1.6L gasoline engine that produces 106 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque or a Renault-sourced 1.5L diesel producing 85 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. Both of the NV200's engines will be mated to a five-speed manual transmission, while the Transit Connect gets a four-speed automatic with overdrive.
The NV200 will come in three flavors, as a cargo van, a "Combi" version that hauls seven people and cargo or a more plush seven-passenger people-mover. Unlike other vans, the NV200's seats will not be removable, should you order them. Instead, the middle-row seats will split 60/40 and will tumble forward and stow to create a flat cargo floor. The rear seats, meanwhile, will fold against the sides of the van to make more cargo space. All models will come with dual side sliding doors, though the side windows will be optional on the cargo van. While the cargo van will receive two French doors on the rear, the passenger-friendly model will feature a full-sized tailgate. Buyers of the Combi model will be able to choose between the two rear-door options.
The NV200 won't be all business, though. To make it more driver- and passenger-friendly, Nissan has added several accessories like power windows, an optional back-up camera, a hidden storage compartment within the glove box for securing valuables, lots of cubbies and cup holders and Nissan's Intelligent Key system. The NV200 should be safe, too, with standard driver and front-passenger front airbags, optional side airbags, ABS, stability control, Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution.
Nissan assures us that when the NV200 goes on sale in Japan this summer, its cost-of-ownership will be among the lowest in its class thanks to its low (unannounced) starting price, efficient engines and a front end designed to be both safe for pedestrians and safe for the vulnerable parts under the hood in the event of a crash. After its Japan launch, the NV200 will go on sale in Europe in the fall, then China and other markets.
Nissan indicated during the prototyping-stage that the NV200 could come to the U.S. market in the future along with the larger NV2500, but so far, no U.S. plans have been announced. If it does, it'll have to compete with the Transit Connect's $21,475 starting price and 22/25 mpg fuel economy rating.