Over the six years I've been with my fiancé, Elayna, I've had a pretty bad tendency of ruining our anniversaries. At our very first anniversary back in college, I didn't think to make reservations at the only fancy restaurant in town, so we wound up at Friendly's instead. The next year, our anniversary just happened to fall on the same night as one of my hockey games…all the way across the state. The year after, I got stuck broadcasting a college basketball game. The point is, I suck at anniversaries (and now it's in writing for the entire world to see).

Though it went completely according to plan, our most recent anniversary likely won't likely get played out on the silver screen. You see, Elayna needed to move out of her college dorm room, and I, in my infinite wisdom, decided that our anniversary would be the perfect day to grab the keys to our new Nissan NV200 long-termer and put it to work.

Moving Elayna out of her dorm room and into an apartment on the other side of L.A. would actually prove to be a pretty good test for our NV200, which was designed with city duty in mind. The route was almost entirely surface streets across town, with the last bit being a long, tight, steep canyon road leading up to her campus.

Unladen (save for a bouquet of roses), the NV200 cargo van tackled the surface street without issue. Despite its relative lack of ponies, the NV200's CVT did an admirable job of keeping the four-pot in its powerband through the city. Ditto to the NV's hillclimb abilities; quite a few four-cylinder and automatic-equipped test cars I've driven up this particular road have reached the top smelling of hot transmission fluid. The Nissan NV200 had no such trouble with the hill.

Once at the top, Elayna and I began the anniversary festivities by loading her dorm stuff into the van. I'd been a bit worried that the modifications made to the NV200's relatively small cargo area would mean we'd have to make more than one trip, but actually the mods proved pretty useful. The cargo shelf was a great place to store smaller boxes, loose items, and fragile things, while the steel partition allowed us to literally fill the Nissan NV200 from floor to ceiling with boxes, small tables, clothes, and more. I think Elayna was just as surprised as I was to see that all her stuff actually fit.

With the van loaded, we set out back across town to her new apartment. Despite the full cargo hold, the NV200 again held its own in L.A. traffic; I didn't notice a considerable change in acceleration, and the vanette seemed completely up to the task. The NV200's small size cargo van size and four cargo doors also helped ease unloading, meaning the anniversary festivities could begin sooner than anticipated.

The next day, Elayna and I used the van to pick up a new (-ish) dresser at a small shop on a busy street in Santa Monica. The NV200 was again the perfect vessel for the job. Its tight turning radius and compact dimensions meant I could parallel park in next to no time at all, and its low lift-over height made loading and unloading a cake walk.

While Elayna and my six-year anniversary wasn't necessarily the most romantic ever, I'd say that, given my track record, it went pretty smoothly -- all thanks to a (functionally) ugly, red Nissan cargo van.


2013 Nissan NV200 SV
Service life: 6 mo/ 13,186 mi
Avg CO2: 0.82 lb/mi
Energy cons: 142 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems: None
Maintenance cost: $62.53 (oil change, tire rotation, inspection)
Normal-wear cost: $0
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ: 24/25/24 mpg
Average Fuel Econ: 23.8 mpg