Until recently, the argument could be made that we haven't been using our Nissan NV long-termer for anything close to it's intended purpose. Sure, it's been used to move employees and regularly goes on photo and video shoots, but aside from a weekend serving as a race team support vehicle, it hasn't really had to work. This changed thanks to Motor Trend's Best Drivers Car competition, which gave the NV a chance to really prove its worth.

Stuffed with the wheels and tires that were soon to come in handy, our photo intern Robert navigated the "sail," as he called it, north on the 101 toward Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. While bringing up the rear, he noted how easy it was to see to the front of the 10-car convoy and block traffic to keep everyone together, much like a bodyguard escorting a group of supermodels through a club. Not a sweat was broken until we turned off the highway and headed west into the hills. Robert said that while the NV had plenty of power to catch up in the straights, it was, as expected, a bit top heavy in the curves.

Arriving at our location for the day, the NV and its 150-volt rear outlet powered the repeater used to extend the range of the some 25 walkie-talkies needed. The sliding center console, which is big enough to accommodate lunch for two, did just that through out the day.

The NV also got a chance to shine at the end of the day. You see, supercars get thirsty after a hard day of blasting up and down roads suitable for a video game. The thirstiest one of all proved to be the Mclaren MP4-12C, which lit up the fuel light in time for Angus MacKenzie to get behind the wheel, the range indicator flashing zero. With the McLaren running on fumes and the gas station being about 20 miles away, it was time to get creative.

Taking no chances, Angus kept a light foot and putted his way out of the central Californian canyon en route to the freeway. This slow going is fine on deserted backroads, but a quicker pace is obviously needed on the interstate. This is where the NV comes in -- Angus took a page out of the hypermiling playbook and placed the English supercar right on the tire carrier's rear bumper. Drafting the big box helped make sure that the McLaren was delivered safely to the gas station, giving the NV another moment in the spotlight.


2012 Nissan NV 2500HD
Service life 6 months/12,577 miles
Average fuel economy 14.1 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.38 lb/mile
Energy consumption 39 kW-hr/100mile
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $60.28 (2 x oil change, inspection)
Normal-wear cost $0