Next spring, Nissan North America Inc. will expand its cargo van into a people hauler with the introduction of the NV3500 HD passenger van. Four rows of seats are found in this 12-passenger van. It offers two engine options. The first is a 317-hp V-8 with 385 pounds-feet of torque. The other one is a 261-hp 4.0-liter V-6 with 281 pounds-feet of torque.
These two engines will be mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The 2012 model van is targeted primarily at fleet customers like airport and hotel shuttle operators.
This is the latest strategy that Nissan has undertaken to establish itself in the U.S. commercial vehicle market. In early 2011, Nissan presented the full-sized NV1500/2500/3500 cargo vans to vie in a market that’s dominated by commercial vans from General Motors and Ford Motor Co.
Last May, Nissan said that it will build a smaller NV200 commercial van in Mexico to go up against the Ford Transit Connect.
The B-platform van will serve as the basis of the taxis that Nissan will supply New York City beginning in 2013. The NV3500 passenger van will be rolled out in its facility in Canton, Miss. The van has 324 seat configurations and comes with removable second and third-row seats.
Nissan NV200 has a generous and roomy interior that allows the Combi version to offer ample space for passengers. Interestingly, the Combi version of the NV200 features fixed yet flexible seats. This is in contrast to rival vans that come with removable seats that are usually heavy to lift and have to be stored elsewhere when not needed.
In the Combi, the middle row backrest features a 60/40 split for further versatility while the entire assembly could be folded flat against the front seats. Meanwhile, rear seats are folded individually to either side of the load area. Moreover, the Nissan NV200 was made to feature the highest levels of quality, as its shut lines and panel gaps are all manufactured according to expectations of passenger car buyers.
Since the Combi could be availed optionally with a side window, it varies from passenger versions at the rear where it features twin side hinged "French" doors. Both NV200 versions feature a fully glazed top hinged tailgate – with the Combi available with French doors – as well as side door windows with a sliding section for extra ventilation.
Underpinned by a modified version of Nissan's B Platform, the new NV200 is specified with a fully independent strut type front suspension mounted on a separate sub-frame.
It is also specified with a compact, lightweight and robust wide leaf spring rear axle. Powering the petrol version of the new NV200 is an all-aluminum 1.6-litre 16-valve HR16 engine that delivers 79kW (108PS) of output and 153Nm of torque. It is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. A diesel version of the NV200 is also available.