Go ahead and say it. Get it out of your system now because it's staying for the next 12 months. Our newest long-term vehicle isn't a truck; the 2013 Nissan NV200 is a pint-size commercial work van, and we plan to put it to work like any other vehicle we've tested before. During the past 10 years, Truck Trend has had nearly every truck on the market as a long-term test vehicle. There are some exciting full-size trucks coming our way for 2014, but the compact segment remains neglected and unchanged. The Nissan NV200 could be the compact-truck alterative.

Not going to lie, trading the keys to our metallic blue Nissan Frontier was hard to do; we'd had a special bond from the factory to my doorstep. At the same time, I was excited to get Nissan's NV200 as my new daily driver. In my jump from a truck into a van, I've lost the ability to manually shift, tow, and any chance to partake in most recreational off-roading. With the NV200, I retain a near 1500-pound payload and gained what we couldn't have on our manual Frontier -- navigation, satellite radio, buttons on the steering that light up, and better fuel economy.

After our van was put through its initial testing and introduction, it wasted no time as being the staffs' go-to vehicle as a moving van. In the first two months, it helped two staffers move residence, hauled a couple thousand dollars' worth of tires to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for a super secret high-performance test day, and saw the parking lot of the local hardware store more times than I can count.

The NV isn't about performance. Its whole purpose is to get from Point A to Point B while hauling its cargo in a safe and secure fashion. "On the freeway, the NV200 lacks power, but it'll get up to speed if you're patient, but it doesn't feel comfortable going higher than 70 mph." Trevor Dorchies, automotive.com online Web associate stated. "Once you hit this magic number, there's a ton of resistance to slow down," a general consensus among all who have driven the NV200. You have to punch it to get it moving while listening to the whining CVT until you get to speed. The van can move over 70 mph, but with the narrow tires it dances side to side on uneven roads and potholes, also making the hollow interior a noisy. While it's not as noisy as Motor Trend's long-term Mini Cooper Coupe, cargo vans are not known for their quiet interiors.

The van is charming in a not-so-fancy way. It's wholesome and fills the basic needs for any commercial van operator. It's narrow size makes parking in tight spots easy, and it can fit into a single car garage. The front seats are very comfortable, more so than the Nissan Frontier's. And I like the added detail on the seats. Though the seats are covered in a basic gray fabric, the outer-section on the lower driver and passenger seat bolsters are of a pleather material that should eliminate the wear of constant ingress and egress. I even like how the front side windows and interior door panel curve up from the bottom and create a cozy bubble effect.

It's definitely growing on me and has lived up to its promises in its first two months of service.


2013 Nissan NV200 SV
Service life: 2 mo/ 6396 mi
Avg CO2: 0.86 lb/mi
Energy cons: 149 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems: None
Maintenance cost: $0
Normal-wear cost: $0
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ: 24/25/24 mpg
Average Fuel Econ: 22.6 mpg