2012 Nissan NV 2500HD Long-term Verdict
One-Trick Pony With a Purpose
When the NV arrived on the automotive scene in 2011, it had a lot to prove. The Ford E-Series and its Chevy and GMC counterparts, have owned the full-size van market since before I was born. More recently, Mercedes-Benz' Sprinter has provided buyers with a larger, yet still city-friendly option that can be equipped with the Bluetec diesel for better fuel economy and sufficient torque for large loads.
With no side or rear windows and only two seats, our NV was truly a one-trick pony, and within days of showing up, it was already making trips to the desert packed with camera gear and craft services in support of large photo shoots. It was stuffed with the lives and memories of staffers moving into new apartments, and provided comfortable shelter for occasional camping in remote areas of California.
"The NV had many jobs while it was here, and it never once complained. It was just really, really thirsty and a little clumsy."
As a moving van, it was ideal. The absence of seats, along with the flat floor, low load height, and cargo doors that open 270 degrees with magnets to hold them in place made it easy to load up quickly and hit the road. Once on the move, the 317-hp V-8 and solid chassis inspired confidence in any situation. Associate editor Scott Evans noted, "The way this van handles really puts me at ease. Some large vehicles drive like boats and can make any curve in the freeway a white-knuckle experience. The NV still feels gargantuan, but the body roll is well controlled and the suspension keeps the van planted, so much so that I found myself passing other cars on a curvy freeway with furniture in the back."
The photo and video crews loved all the space the NV provided. The lack of leather, glass, and other amenities normally found in press vehicles gave piece of mind on location when racing to beat the sunset often takes priority over being careful. During our Best Driver's Car and Car of the Year competitions, the NV was repeatedly loaded and unloaded with camera gear, craft services, and spare wheels and tires. Lots of tires. Plenty of anchors made securing the load easy, and the large sliding side door combined with the rear doors allowed for multiple people to load and unload effortlessly. When a shoot was done, a quick sweep of the cargo area was all that was needed to clean up.
Although the NV's configuration was not intended for camping, its versatility made exploring nature an enjoyable experience. On more than one occasion, I loaded up the van and headed to the hills with the girlfriend and dog. Clearance is sufficient for light off-roading, so going off the beaten path was no problem, and the optional GPS gave this directionally challenged man piece of mind in the middle of nowhere. For car camping, it was easy to hang a blanket up behind the front seats to create a "room" large enough to fit a queen-size air mattress and dog bed.
While the NV excelled at many things, being my daily driver was not one of them. It's loud inside, due to the lack of insulation in the cargo area, and when empty, the ride is worse than sitting in a bounce house with an entire kids' party high on sugar. The ride smooths when loaded down, but most of the time my biggest load was a few sacks of groceries that would inevitably tip over and distribute their contents throughout the back. By far, however, the biggest issue I had commuting with the NV was fuel economy. Over the course of the 25,616 miles logged, we averaged just 14 mpg.
The NV proves that Nissan did its homework and shot for the top. The van checks every box, and the only real strikes against it can be fixed with optional equipment.
|2012 Nissan NV 2500HD|
|Total mileage:||12 months/25,616 miles|
|Options:||Technology package ($950: nav system, XM satellite radio, bluetooth, integrated backup camera); tow package ($460: trailer towing mirrors, front tow hooks, class-IV trailer hitch, 7-pin connector prewiring); side/curtain airbag package ($390: front/side/curtain airbags)|
|Price as tested:||$31,230|
|Maintenance Cost:||$252.75 (5 x oil change, inspection; 1 x tire rotation, cabin-air filter)|
|3-year residual value||$13,337 (Automotive Lease Guide)|
|Recalls:||Oil cooler 0-ring and stud (R. 1115)|
|Average fuel economy:||14.0 mpg|
|CO2 emissions:||1.39 lb/mi|
|2012 Nissan NV 2500 SV|
|Drivetrain layout||Front engine, RWD|
|Engine type||90-deg V-8, alum block/heads|
|Valvetrain||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|Displacement||338.8 cu in/5552 cc|
|Power (SAE net)||317 hp @ 5200 rpm|
|Torque (SAE net)||385 lb-ft @ 3400 rpm|
|Weight to power||18.9 lb/hp|
|Suspension, front; rear||Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, leaf springs, anti-roll bar|
|Brakes, F;R||14.2-in vented disc; 14.4-in vented disc, ABS|
|Wheels||7.5 x 17-in, steel|
|Tires||LT245/70R17 119/116R Firestone Transforce HT M+S|
|Track, F/R||68.7/68.9 in|
|Length x width x height||240.6 x 79.9 x 83.9 in|
|Ground clearance||8.1 in|
|Turning circle||45.2 ft|
|Curb weight||5996 lb|
|Weight dist, F/R||52/48%|
|Shoulder room||65.7 in|
|Cargo hold L x W x H||120.0 x 70.2 x 55.8 in|
|Cargo volume||234.1 cu ft|
|Max cargo floor length||121.9 in|
|Width betw wheelhouses||54.3 in|
|Cargo liftover hight||28.5 in|
|Payload capacity||3104 lb|
|Towing capacity||9500 lb|
|Acceleration to mph|
|Passing, 45-65 mph||4.4|
|Quarter mile||16.4 sec @ 85.7 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||141 ft|
|Lateral acceleration||0.72 g (avg)|
|Mt figure eight||29.5 sec @ 0.55 g (avg)|
|Top-gear revs @ 60 mph||2000 rpm|
|Airbags||Dual front, front side, front curtain|
|Basic warranty||3 yrs/36,000 mi|
|Powertrain warranty||5 yrs/60,000 mi|
|Roadside assistance||3 yrs/36,000 mi|
|Fuel capacity||28.0 gal|
|Epa city/hwy econ||Not rated|
|Energy cons, comb||241 kW-hr/100 mi|
|CO2 emissions (MT obs)||1.39 lb/mi|
|Recommended fuel||Unleaded regular|