Some automobiles are like the motorcycle-loving party girl or rebellious bad boy you found so attractive in high school. Their sex appeal made up for their shady reputations and less than stellar reliability. Others are like the nerdy guy in your senior class, the one who played chess and obsessed over his college entrance exams. His rock-solid reliability compensated for his utter lack of party value.
The Nissan NV200 reminds more of the chess player than the chopper riding wild child. This general-purpose work van offers a winning mix of fuel economy, handling ease, and decent cargo space, all for a very sensible price. What more do you really need, when all is said and done?
The NV200 has a 2.0 I-4 engine that turns out 131 hp with 139 lb. ft. of torque and offers 24/26/25 mpg ratings. It can haul 122.7 cubic feet of cargo with an official weight rating of 1500 lbs. This makes it a respectable choice for delivery companies, shuttle services, taxi fleets, and business people who need a reliable ride for daily use. It will also ferry the kids back and forth to soccer games and karate practice with ease.
The vehicle comes in both S and SV trims. You can choose from one of five standard colors, but you’ll have to settle for an interior clad in basic gray. This is a work van, after all. The SV package offers remote entry, cruise control, and D-ring cargo mounts for securing those heavy loads with ease.
Perhaps the biggest drawback with the NV200 is its constant velocity transmission (CVT), which whines just a bit as the vehicle picks up speed. 0-60 acceleration occurs in 10 seconds, more or less – not that anyone will be using this van to challenge dragsters to a quick race at the stoplight. The vehicle finds its sweet spot at highway speed, settling into a leisurely cruising pace that enables driver and passengers to kick back and enjoy the ride.
Speaking of human beings, the NV200 carries up to five warm bodies with the optional three-seat rear configuration. Available data ports mean that you can whip out your trusty laptop and get some work done while the van takes you from Point A to Point B in climate-controlled comfort.
The NV200 is a practical machine, designed for business rather than pleasure. That probably explains why it seems to drift just a bit when the rear bay is empty. That changes once it begins filling with cargo, as the sturdy leaf spring rear suspension begins to do its job. Drivers should have no trouble negotiating roadway curves so long as they stick to reasonable speeds.
The NV200 is built with safety in mind. It includes electronic stability control (ESC) and side impact beams standard. Dual-stage airbags protect the occupants and the tires will let you know if they start leaking air. The tried and true rack and pinion steering gives the vehicle a reasonably tight 36.7 turning diameter. A rear-facing mirror is available as part of the optional technology package. Nissan warranties the NV200 for three years or 100,000 miles, a sure sign that they made it from the right stuff.
Any great vehicle deserves its share of accolades. The NV200 received a 2017 Intellichoice award for its thrifty fuel economy and low maintenance costs. This is one ride that will get you where you’re going without breaking your heart or your bank account. That’s more than we can say for the wild party crowd that captured so much of our attention back in high school.