Our 2013 Nissan NV200 remains empty for most of the week with light workloads on the weekend. But like any other commercial fleet van -- a true tradesman will load the van up with tools and supplies that he carries with him from job to job 24/7 and that added weight can change the mpg and ride quality. What happens to the mpg of a vehicle when you add payload? We all know changing the weight of a vehicle changes the performance and mpg. But how does the Nissan NV200 fair with an extra 732 pounds as a daily driver?
Along with the 132 pounds we added to our Nissan NV200 from the Adrian Steal upfitting, we loaded 10 60-pound bags of cement into the haul for four weeks. We evenly laid them out in two single rows in the center of the cargo floor wrapping them in a tarp and strapped them down using our floor-mounted D-rings to keep the cargo locked down. We graciously factored an additional 400 pounds for driver and passenger weight -- an estimate of 1132 pounds of payload. (Max payload is 1470)
While the rest of the nation was on snow watch, we Southern Californians have had warm sunny days with high-wind advisories. With wind gusting up to 40 mph pelting the van’s less than aerodynamic profile, the extra weight kept the van’s rear end happily planted during my daily commute. At freeway speeds both on windy and non-windy days, the van danced less in the lanes and felt solid with the road. The NV200’s modest 131-hp, 2.0-liter engine didn’t feel strained with the extra weight while driving on flat surfaces. Though the van was happy with the load, the CVT chatter seemed to increase its volume. While driving around in a hillside neighborhood, the van needed a little more gas to get it up the street.
Since we had the NV200 loaded, we gave it to the guys at the Motor Trend Emissions Analytics team for Real MPG number testing. Once their test gear was strapped on, the Emissions team took the NV200 on an 88-mile city and highway route to simulate real-word driving. They tested the NV200 when we first got it -- before the unfitting and got a combined 25 mpg -- 1 mpg over the combined EPA rating of 24 mpg. We asked the guys to run the test with the 732-ppond load and got a combined 21.7 mpg -- losing 3.3 mpg. After four weeks, five different drivers, and their five different driving habits, the NV200 averaged 17.8 mpg -- dropping our over all Average Fuel Econ to 23.5 mpg.
| 2013 Nissan NV200 SV |
|Service life:|| 7 mo/ 14,848 mi|
|Avg CO2:|| 0.83 lb/mi|
|Energy cons:|| 143 kW-hr/100mi|
|Unresolved problems:|| None|
|Maintenance cost:|| $157.49 (2-oil change, tire rotation, inspection)|
|Normal-wear cost:|| $0|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ:|| 24/25/24 mpg|
|Average Fuel Econ:|| 23.5 mpg|