I grew up in Idaho, where big trucks are a right of passage. Many of us learned to drive a work truck on a farm or camping trip when our father said "Hop in my lap and steer." That may explain why I took to the Nissan NV right away. While the rest of the office was hindered by it's perceived lack of mobility and style, I saw something different.

On its first day, I was quick to jump in and navigate the 30 miles south home, where my unsuspecting girlfriend was waiting to see what long-term vehicle I had been assigned. Understandably, she was not impressed and when I asked her what she thought after the maiden voyage, she simply said, "Applying make up while on the way to dinner was apparently not a priority of the designers."

Obviously she's not the target audience. That would be the delivery drivers, mechanics, and construction workers of the world and for them, Nissan hit the nail on the head.

In the cab, all of the creature comforts I've grown used to while rolling around in fully-loaded press vehicles over the past few years are nowhere to be found. Instead, this van is outfitted with simple and logical features catered for people that will be working out of it for eight or more hours every day. Buttons and knobs are large enough to operate with gloves on and though the hard plastic dash is tough on the eyes, it's easy on the cleaning crew. The large plastic sun visors feature no vanity mirrors, only a clip for keeping important papers easily accessible. If you need to check your grill after lunch, the side mirrors are plenty big.

The cloth seats clean up quite easily and feature a nifty strip of vinyl on the outer edge where the majority of the wear takes place while climbing in and sliding out. Need a quick table to do some paper work or take notes? The center console slides forward and, when combined with the passenger seat that folds flat and houses a large plastic tray on its backside, creates plenty of space for a makeshift mobile office.

The NV may not impress a first date and it will spawn angry looks from the valet at the restaurant, but it is a purpose-built vehicle. If you're not using it for that purpose, you're doing it wrong.

2012 Nissan NV 2500HD
Service life 10 mo/18,265 mi
Avg CO2 1.40 lb/mi
Energy cons 242 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $60.28 (2-oil change, inspection)
Normal-wear cost $0
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ N/A
Average Fuel Econ 13.9 mpg