Airport fleet buyers, church van drivers, and Octomom, rejoice! With the introduction of the 2012 Nissan NV Passenger Van, the Japanese automaker has made a new, credible option for you to tote your cohorts en masse. And now it has a price, starting at the low, low price of just $32,685, including $995 for destination and handling.
Okay, maybe that’s not really low. In fact, it’s about $2,000 more expensive than the Chevrolet Express and Ford E-Series base passenger vans. And, unlike those, the Nissan NV3500HD Passenger Van has a base 4.0-liter, 261-horsepower V-6. Its competitors, other than the $41,000 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, come with V-8 engines as standard.
So what makes the Nissan NV3500 worth the extra coin? Sophistication, says Nissan.
The NV Passenger Van comes equipped only in 3500 guise with either a base V-6 S or SV ($34,885) trim level or the V-8-powered S ($33,585) , SV ($35,785), or top-range SL ($38,385). The V-8 displaces 5.6 liters and makes 317 horsepower. No matter which NV you select, either engine will come paired exclusively with a five-speed automatic transmission, versus the four- or five-speed autos available in the Ford and four- or six-speed in the Chevy.
It also has standard integrated headrests in all of the seats, split benches that come in two or three parts in all three of the rear rows for a total of 324 configurations. Anyone who has ever had to take the benches out of a full-size van should appreciate this feature, because, being honest, taking out bench seats is worse than going to the dentist’s office and listening to Barry Manilow for an hour and a half.
The NV Passenger Van is also the only van in its class to have side-curtain airbags as standard for all four rows of seats. Other options include a five-inch touchscreen navigation system with a rearview monitor, Bluetooth hands-free calling, XM satellite radio, and pre-wiring for Nissan’s Fleet Tracker technology so it’s possible to know where a van is at any given time.
Nissan is billing its van as a modern alternative to vehicles based on decades-old platforms. The Nissan NV3500HD Passenger Van is on sale now at dealerships nationwide.