Unless you own a business you probably won’t be planning to buy the 2014 Nissan NV200 compact cargo van, but I recently spent a week piloting the little truck around town and through the suburbs and developed a real appreciation for just how useful one can be.
The NV200 is easy to maneuver, priced right, relatively fuel-efficient, deceptively roomy and sufficiently peppy. If you are a florist, own a bicycle shop, sell appliances or operate one of countless other enterprises, this could be the right-size vehicle for you.
In fact, a specially adapted NV200 could be destined for fame in New York City, having won the competition for Taxi of Tomorrow during the administration of ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg.
It was selected as the one-and-only cab choice for the next decade under a contract said to be worth $1 billion. But, then, the courts and politics got in the way and the program was put on hold when a judge ruled that the city’s taxi and limousine commission had exceeded its authority in granting such exclusivity to Nissan.
However, a promised appeal has now been heard and another judge has overruled the lower court, saying that the taxi and limousine commission did not overstep its bounds. Barring another appeal, it appears that the Taxi of Tomorrow has been given new life.
In any case, I saw only one Taxi of Tomorrow doing business in Manhattan when I visited the Big Apple for the New York International Automobile Show in late April.
No matter the final outcome in New York, the NV200 could become a familiar sight on the streets of towns and cities elsewhere. That’s because it has the right stuff and its only real competitor is the similarly sized Ford Transit Connect.
The major key to the NV200’s desirability is the large amount of cargo that will fit in its relatively diminutive body.
Thanks to its compact drivetrain, the wheelbase stretches 115.2 inches of the vehicle’s total186.3 inches. The short overall length makes it easy to dart in and out of urban traffic and allows the NV200 to have a turning diameter of only 36.7 feet.
But the important statistic is interior volume A total of 122.7 cubic feet is available in an area 82.8 inches long, 54.8 inches wide (48 inches between the wheel wells) and 53 inches high. Payload is approximately 1,500 pounds.
The 60/40 rear doors can open to 90 degrees or 180 degrees and the liftover height for cargo is only 21.1inches. There also are sliding doors on both sides of the trucks to make loading and unloading easier.