Nissan presented the NV200 to us with a heavy slant toward work. A number of specialty conversions displayed at a recent introduction suggested cool conversions, but all were work related. Of course, as the workaholics we are, our minds jumped right to holidays. We could not help ourselves as our minds raced to see how great the NV200 would make the perfect weekend camper for two. Much like the classic VW Kombi camper that once took us through nearly every National Park in the country, we see the NV200 enticing us into another project. Perhaps there is one more adventure on the horizon.
Following our drive of the new NV200 our brains swarmed with ideas. We could even see police and fire departments in every economically strapped small town in America finding ways to utilize this Nissan. Police and Fire departments could utilize the NV200 for everything from crime investigation, search and rescue or tactical support. We can visualize this Nissan fitting into a plethora of emergency response needs.
Nissan showed us examples of business conversions that were a bit more common and far from those high energy uses. For a few warm days in San Diego, CA Nissan took a more laid back approach. They displayed functioning NV200 conversions from a (we could take this one home) micro-brewery complete with keg fridges on the inside and taps mounted on the outside ready for an instant party, to the obligatory plumber’s conversion, with parts bins and trays. A more adventurous conversion came from Gibson Guitar with a custom guitar building and repair station. It was obvious that NV200 conversions are limited only by your imagination. We know because our imagination of what the possibilities might be ran rampant through our minds.
Beyond our fantasies we discovered we liked the NV200 far more than we anticipated. Mainly because it drove much more civilized than other compact vans we have tested. Yes, this is a box with wheels, but it is a very nice box with wheels, and it swallows a whole lot of all the stuff we normally want to carry with us.
One of the biggest surprises was the lack of noise seeping into the cabin. Normally, when you have a large open container-like cargo area right behind the driver you can be assured of an inordinate amount of booming.
Not the case here. We drove a few different variations in the typical urban
environment the NV200 is aimed and each vehicle was surprisingly quieter than we anticipated. We could even hear the radio without it sounding like a cheap transistor of old. Nissan has gone to extraordinary lengths at keeping the road, engine and outside sounds from encroaching into the vehicle.
To say the NV200 exterior design is attractive is a bit of a push for us, after all this is a utility van, a workhorse that isn’t meant to satisfy your right brain like a Nissan GT-R does. However, it isn’t an ugly-duckling either, at least in the worker-bee field.
The base model with its grey plastic bumper cover carries a certain utilitarian appearance, yet move up to the body-colored bumper and your NV200 looks more civilized. Sliding doors on both sides give easy access to the supplies for whatever your trade might be. The side-hinged rear doors open to a number of positions and hold in place for easy loading and unloading. Throughout the interior Nissan has located threaded attachment points to make it easier to securely bolt nearly any configuration of bins, drawers or racks needed for your profession or other needs.
Aimed more for city applications means the NV200 isn’t a powerhouse. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine produces 131 horsepower and 129 lb-ft. of torque, which equates to reasonable power in most conditions. The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is designed for better torque transfer, acceleration and fuel economy. We found the power to be quite good and the application of throttle well regulated to the type of driving the NV200 will see from owners.