2013 Nissan NV200 SV (Small Van)

By: Ed Sanchez

We Like: No-nonsense functionality, practical features.

We Don’t Like: Droning CVT, budget fit and finish, uninspired driving dynamics.

Based on the successful global Nissan NV200, the North American version received specific upgrades for the rigors of American customers and conditions in this market. The 1.5-liter turbodiesel inline-four and manual transmission being offered in overseas markets were dropped for a 2.0-liter I-4 and automatic transmission. The chassis was strategically strengthened, and the wheelbase was extended slightly as well.

Unlike the Transit Connect, which is aiming to cast a broad net appealing to both commercial and consumer customers, the NV200 is marketed strictly as a workhorse. The single powertrain, wheelbase, and seating configuration defines the NV200’s intended role. Its leaf-spring rear suspension, narrow 185-width tires, and rear drum brakes are clearly aimed more at low-cost work duty than dynamic prowess.

Unsurprisingly, the NV200 trailed the Transit Connect in nearly every objective performance category, as well as losing out to the Ford in the area of towing capacity, with towing not recommended for the Nissan, and the Ford offering a modest but useful 2000-pound capacity. Loh summed it up well: “The NV200 is the very definition of a functional implement. It’s a tool, though with a few creature comforts. It’s a solid, if unremarkable, little van.”

Bluetooth phone connectivity, touch-screen navigation, and power windows and locks cover all the basic comfort and convenience features for the driver, and the driver’s seat offers decent long-haul comfort and support.

Our tester’s $23,075 as-tested sticker also made it the lowest-priced entry in this year’s contest.

  2014 Nissan NV200 SV
Base Price $21,840
Price As Tested$23,075
Power (SAE net) 131 hp @ 5200 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 139 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Accel 0-60, mph 10.4 sec; 13.3 sec*
Quarter Mile 17.8 sec @ 77.7 mph; 19.5 sec @ 72.4 mph*
Braking 60-0, mph 141 ft
Lateral Accel 0.71 g (avg)
EPA Econ (city/hwy) 24/25 mpg
Real MPG (city/hwy) 23/28 mpg
* with 1122-lb payload