Acceleration is excellent, even when carrying a payload. Linear and responsive braking provides confidence. The body-on-frame van's ride is firm, but smooths out when there's a load in back -- as it should be in any vehicle designed to do hard work. And this body-on-frame van falls in that category: Aside from the aforementioned maximum cargo volume, the NV's maximum payload capacity is 3925 pounds, and it can tow up to 9500 pounds. It's longer than the comparable Sprinter, but the standard roof height is similar to that of the E-Series.

There's a lot of room up front, thanks to the pickup-like nose. That pushes the engine forward, out of the passenger area. The downside? Not everyone is going to like the styling. There are some cool features in the cabin, such as the passenger seat that can fold flat and serve as a work area. There are also a lot of storage cubbies throughout, including several above the sun visors, like you would see in an RV. There are impressive creature comforts available, including nav, satellite radio, aux jack, and rear camera, plus the NV has VCD and traction control standard, and it starts at $25,570, the lowest price in its class. With that, you get either graphics or a base shelf and rack unit for no extra charge. The NV lineup goes on sale in March at about 300 Nissan dealerships. Those dealerships have been retooled with larger bays and new "Nissan Commercial Vehicles" signs.

2012 Nissan NV2500 HD High-Roof S
Base price $28.970
Price as tested $33,000 (est)
Vehicle layout Front engine, RWD, 2-pass, 3-door van
Engine 5.6L/317-hp/385-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Curb weight 5873 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase 146.1 in
Length x width x height 240.6 x 79.9 x 105.0 in
EPA city/hwy fuel econ Not rated
CO2 emissions N/A