2021 Nissan NV Cargo

2021 Nissan NV Cargo
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Rear Angle View 2
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Front Seats 1

2021 Nissan NV Cargo Review: For All Your Cargo Needs

by Jay Traugott

The 2021 Nissan NV Cargo, with its rugged dependability and impressive 9,400-pound towing capacity, not to mention 3,850-lb payload capacity, remains a staple in many commercial fleets, and for good reason. It supplies enough cargo space for almost any job you could need a van for, but rivals like the Ford Transit offer more, just to be sure you're never left wanting. The Nissan gets a choice of two capable engines, a V6 with 261 horsepower or a powerful 375-hp V8. Both powertrains move the van well, even when packed to the roof with cargo. Speaking of roofs, the NV offers a choice of two, a standard roof or a high roof, allowing you to customize your van to meet your cargo needs. Furthermore, three payload configurations are offered, although a single wheelbase option holds the Nissan back when compared to more customizable rivals in the US market. Our new Nissan NV Cargo review will help you find out if it's the right van for your needs.

Read in this review:

2021 Nissan NV Cargo Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2020 NV Cargo?

For 2021, the navigation package becomes standard on the 3500 SV and 3500 SL. This package includes a 5.8-inch color touchscreen, voice recognition, and SiriusXM. Last year's 3500 S has been dropped from the lineup; the most capable 3500 now only comes in SV and SL configurations.

Pros and Cons

  • Handles well for its size
  • Comfortable seats
  • Choice of two body types to suit specific needs
  • Ergonomic and accessible controls
  • Strong enough V8 to tow an entire neighborhood
  • Interior feels cheap
  • Limited standard features and dated tech
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Only one body length available

Best Deals on 2021 Nissan NV Cargo

2021 Nissan NV Cargo Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
NV1500 S V6
4.0L V6 Gas
5-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
NV2500 HD S V6
4.0L V6 Gas
5-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
NV1500 SV V6
4.0L V6 Gas
5-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
NV2500 HD SV V6
4.0L V6 Gas
5-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
NV2500 HD SV V8
5.6L V8 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
See All 2021 Nissan NV Cargo Trims and Specs

Nissan NV Cargo Exterior

Designed on underpinnings partially shared with the Nissan Titan, the NV Cargo incorporates several truck-like elements into its overall appearance, giving it a bulkier, more rugged style than is common for the segment. However, using the word stylish is a misnomer, as the van looks more like a chunky brick on wheels. The blacked-out grille (chrome on the SL) is large and forgoes the traditional V-frame that most Nissan vehicles sport. Astride the grille are large halogen headlights, sticking to the chunky trend. The standard model rides on plain 17-inch steel wheels, while the upper trims get styled, chrome-clad wheels - ideal for those who want to pimp out their work van a little. The wide-opening rear doors are complemented by a sliding door on the driver's side to ensure easy access to the cargo or work area from just about any angle. The body is accented with black trimming as standard, but the NV3500 comes with chrome mirrors. Choosing the high roof over the standard option will also alter the van's appearance accordingly.

2021 Nissan NV Cargo Front Angle View Nissan 2021 Nissan NV Cargo Side View Nissan 2021 Nissan NV Cargo Rear Angle View Nissan
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Front Angle View
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Side View
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Rear Angle View
See All 2021 Nissan NV Cargo Exterior Photos


The full-size NV Cargo Van has segment-average dimensions, measuring in at 240.6 inches long with a 146.1-inch wheelbase. To accommodate maximum cargo capacity, the van measures 79.9 inches wide without the mirrors. Height varies between roof choices, with the standard roof seeing the height range between 83.9 - 84.9 inches (trim dependant) while the high roof increases this to 105 - 106 inches. The various engine configurations between the three available van models also significantly affect overall weight, before even taking into account trim levels. The lightest model is the 1500 with the V6 engine at 5,817 pounds and the heaviest is the top-spec 3500 with the V8 engine at 6,359 lbs.

  • Length 240.6 in
  • Wheelbase 146.1 in
  • Height 83.9 in
  • Max Width 79.9 in
  • Curb Weight 5,817.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Brilliant Silver Metallic
  • Super Black
  • Glacier White
  • Cayenne Red Metallic
  • Arctic Blue Metallic

NV Cargo Performance

2021 Nissan NV Cargo Front Angle View 1 Nissan 2021 Nissan NV Cargo Rear Angle View 1 Nissan 2021 Nissan NV Cargo Engine Bay Nissan
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Front Angle View 1
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Rear Angle View 1
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Engine Bay

Engine and Transmission

The lower-tier NV1500 and NV2500 models come equipped as standard with a 4.0L V6 engine that develops 261 hp and 281 lb-ft, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. While the powertrain won't leave you breathless, it won't lose steam around town, either. While it is generally brisk and assertive, particularly heavy loads can put some strain on it. Rear-wheel drive comes standard across the range, with no alternative on offer. This is common in the commercial van segment. As standard, the V6-powered trims can tow 2,000 lbs, while equipping a tow-hitch receiver raises this to 6,900 lbs.

The NV2500 SV also gets optional access to the 5.6-liter V8 engine that comes standard on the NV3500 trims. This powertrain gets a more refined seven-speed automatic gearbox. The 375 hp and 387 lb-ft supplied by the V8 do a much better job of getting the cumbersome van around in a semblance of haste. Even fully laden with cargo, vans equipped with the V8 should never feel sluggish. With the right equipment, vans with this powertrain can tow up to 9,400 lbs of braked weight - these are exceptional towing specs in the segment.

  • Engines
    4.0L V6 Gas, 5.6L V8 Gas
  • Transmissions
    5-Speed Automatic, 7-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain

Handling and Driving Impressions

The RWD cargo van handles relatively well, given that it is basically a heavy, stocky box on wheels. The fact that the NV Cargo incorporates quite a few elements from Nissan's Titan pickup truck contributes to its more car-like handling dynamics. It will never be a fun or engaging driver, but many vans are actively disappointing to drive.

The steering is not as light as we'd prefer on a van designed for town driving. But the brakes handle quite well, bringing the weighty vehicle to a halt in around 147 feet from 60 mph. With neither system inspiring a great deal of confidence, responsible driving will be key to ensuring a safe commute. The lack of advanced safety features only serves to reinforce this notion.

Ride quality is decent and the seats are impressively comfortable, despite the low-quality cloth or vinyl upholstery. Combined with a well-built and dampened cabin, this delivers an all-round comfortable driving experience. And, if you find that the suspension is too springy when going over bumps, simply load up your van with cargo and you can avoid being jostled about too much.

The Nissan NV Cargo was designed to perform a specific function, and an exciting driving experience doesn't factor into the equation. It certainly gets the job done, and remains relatively composed doing so. However, many rivals can make similar claims and they don't make the same sacrifices Nissan does to achieve these results.

Nissan NV Cargo Gas Mileage

As it's not a conventional passenger vehicle, no Nissan NV cargo van model has been evaluated by the EPA. However, based on a collection of reports from real-world drivers, the van's average combined mileage can be estimated to be around 13-14 mpg when equipped with the standard V6 engine. Hauling heavier loads will most likely cause this figure to drop, and the stronger V8 engine sips a bit more greedily from the 28-gallon tank. In its most efficient guise, we postulate that the NV Cargo can cover around 392 miles between gas station stops. This mileage is pretty average for the cargo van segment, and the Nissan runs on regular gasoline, meaning it keeps the costs down.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    28.0 Gallons
* 2021 Nissan NV Cargo NV1500 S V6 Standard Roof

NV Cargo Interior

2021 Nissan NV Cargo Front Seats Nissan 2021 Nissan NV Cargo Dashboard Nissan 2021 Nissan NV Cargo Armrest Nissan
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Front Seats
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Dashboard
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Armrest
See All 2021 Nissan NV Cargo Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Style and comfort are not primary concerns inside the NV Cargo, even though Nissan has tried to make the interior more comfortable than conventional commercial vans. That's not to say that the seats are uncomfortable, but the standard cloth and optional vinyl upholstery don't do much to improve the passable levels of comfort. On the plus side, the controls are laid out across the dash with ergonomic efficiency in mind, although the number of features is hardly extensive. Despite the extensive use of hard plastics around the cabin, it is well-built and hardy. Sadly, even the center console armrests are lined with hard plastic, undermining the comfort they are meant to provide. Regardless of the roof you choose, there is ample head- and legroom inside the NV Cargo. Four-way manual seats are standard, with eight-way power available on the top-most SL trim. Forward visibility is good, but you will need to rely on the rearview camera to know what's going on behind you.

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 42.0 in
  • Front Head Room 42.8 in

NV Cargo Trunk and Cargo Space

A variety of figures need to be taken into account when considering cargo capacity. Each model can handle different payload capacities, while the choice between the standard or high roof affects the size of the cargo hold. The maximum cargo length is standard at 120 inches, while peak width is 70.2 inches. This is, however, offset by a 54.3-inch space between the wheelhouses. With the standard roof, cargo of up to 55.8 inches in height can be stowed, although adults may need to crouch a bit to maneuver inside the cabin. The high roof allows even tall adults to walk upright, while the maximum cargo height is increased to 76.9 inches. Given these dimensions, the maximum cargo capacity ranges from 234.1 cubic feet under the standard roof to 323.1 cubic feet when the high roof is equipped. If you want to load items onto the roof itself, the standard roof can support a weight of 500 lbs, while the higher roof can only manage 300 lbs. The maximum payload capacity for the NV1500 is 2,730 lbs on the lighter S, while the base NV2500 can carry 3,280 lbs. The reinforced chassis of the NV3500 allows it to carry up to 3,550 lbs. The cargo area can be customized to your needs thanks to a variety of attachment points, allowing for the installation of shelves, ladder racks, etc.

The front cabin doesn't provide much in the way of small-item storage. A standard glove compartment is provided, along with front door pockets and four small cupholders. The SV and SL trims add two extra cupholders and a multifunction center console that can accommodate larger items like a laptop. A storage tray is also provided under the driver's seat.

2021 Nissan NV Cargo Trunk Space Nissan 2021 Nissan NV Cargo Trunk Space 1 Nissan 2021 Nissan NV Cargo Trunk Space 2 Nissan
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Trunk Space
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Trunk Space 1
2021 Nissan NV Cargo Trunk Space 2

NV Cargo Infotainment and Features


If you don't expect too much from the NV Cargo, it probably won't disappoint you, much. No advanced safety features are offered at any trim level, and conveniences are more of an afterthought than a core concern. What you do get is air conditioning, a manually adjustable driver's seat, keyless entry, and a 12-volt power outlet. The upper trims have an extra 12-volt outlet and two 120-volt outlets, as well as an eight-way power driver's seat. The standard rearview camera is complemented by rear sonar and cruise control on the SV. The cargo area gets a bit more attention, naturally. Standard features include a work light, six floor-mounted D-rings, 36 integrated reinforced cargo-mounting points, 11 points for a bulkhead partition, 10 points in the ceiling for a ladder rack, and pre-wiring for electrical upfitting. Extra cargo area lights and storage options are presented on upper trim levels.


The Nissan NV Cargo gets a passable infotainment suite, if only barely. The seven-inch touchscreen interface supports AM/FM radio and is compatible with Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming. Two speakers channel the sound around the front of the cabin, with a USB port and an auxiliary jack provided if you want to charge your smart device - and an auxiliary audio input jack is supplied, as well. An additional two speakers are added when you upgrade to the SV. SiriusXM satellite radio is optional on SV models and standard on the SL. On the SV, you can opt for a 5.8-inch touchscreen that comes with navigation, mobile maps, and SiriusXM (including SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link). This system is standard on the SL. Unfortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not offered.

NV Cargo Problems and Reliability

The cargo van has, unsurprisingly, not been rated by J.D. Power, nor have any recalls been recorded on the 2021 or 2020 models, although one was issued for 2019 models for a faulty rearview camera. However, the NV Cargo is offered with a class-leading warranty plan that includes a 100,000-mile/five-year limited and powertrain warranties.


  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

NV Cargo Safety

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has bothered to crash-test the Nissan NV Cargo, which is not uncommon for commercial vehicles. But the van gets all the basic safety accouterments, including traction control, vehicle dynamic control, a two-wheel active brake limited slip, front seat belts with pre-tensioners, tire pressure monitoring, and a generous six airbag set-up: front, front side, and side curtain. More advanced safety features, like those you might find on the more premium Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, are not offered at any level for the NV Cargo.

Verdict: Is the 2021 Nissan NV Cargo A Good van?

The Nissan NV Cargo is a full-size van with a price tag comparable to a smaller model. This is perhaps its greatest strength, though, as it certainly isn't beating the competition in many other areas.

With a maximum cargo capacity of 323.1 cubic feet, the NV feels like a compact van compared to the Ford Transit, which can store a whopping 487.2 cubic feet of cargo. This discrepancy can partly be accredited to the fact that Nissan doesn't offer a long-wheelbase version of its cargo van. The only saving grace is that the big V8 gives the NV Cargo class-leading towing ability - hauling 1,900 lbs more than the most capable Sprinter.

The NV also falls behind competition like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in terms of its interior. Despite the manufacturer's efforts to make the NV Cargo more comfortable inside by incorporating pickup truck elements and seats, premium rivals do a much better job of mixing form with function. But here, again, you have to pay more for the improved interior.

Cheap cargo-hauling ability sums up the NV, but if you don't need the capability of hauling more than 9,000 lbs, there are vastly better vans out there.

What's the Price of the 2021 Nissan NV Cargo?

The price of the Nissan NV Cargo is quite affordable when viewed beside its competition. The base-model NV1500 S begins at $30,640 in the USA, while the SV sees that number rise to $31,630. However, both trims are restricted to the V6 engine and a standard height roof.

You get a bit more choice when it comes to the NV2500. Equipped with the standard roof and V6 engine, the mid-trim van will cost you $31,540 for the S and $32,530 for the SV. Upgrading to the V8 engine on the SV sees the bill go up by $1,600, while equipping the high top to either trim requires an extra $2,150 investment.

While it comes standard with the V8 engine, the NV3500 offers the same body customization options. Getting the top-tier model into your fleet will cost you $36,330 (SV) or $39,560 (SL).

These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and Nissan's $1,495 destination charge.

What Nissan NV Cargo Model Should I Buy?

The model you ultimately settle one will depend entirely upon your specific needs, so we can't recommend just one. The sparsely equipped base-model NV1500 S is a capable light-duty hauler, although it won't tow as much. If heavy-duty applications are going to be the norm for you, then you will want to look at the 2500 HD and the 3500 HD models. Here, again, the entry-level 2500 S trim should work as well as the top-most trim. The 3500 does have the highest payload capacity, but the 2500 matches it in towing capacity. Any way you look at it, the NV Cargo is a simple van for those with simple needs, so aiming for the top model feels like a wasted investment.

Check out other Nissan NV Styles

2021 Nissan NV Cargo Comparisons

Ford Transit Cargo Van Ford
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Mercedes-Benz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Nissan NV Cargo261 hpTBC$30,640
Ford Transit Cargo Van 275 hpTBC$44,455
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van 188 hpTBC$43,500

2021 Nissan NV Cargo vs Ford Transit Cargo Van

Compared to the Nissan NV, the Ford Transit provides quite a few more customization options, but this can be off-putting to those who simply want a cheap, no-nonsense workhorse. However, more discerning buyers will definitely give the Transit a harder look and probably come to the same conclusions we do. With a more modern list of features and safety tech, the Ford cargo van will definitely do a better job of attracting buyers who want more value for their money. The Transit can supply a significantly higher cargo capacity when properly configured and it doesn't sacrifice too much in terms of handling and efficiency to do so. More cargo space, more available body styles, and better levels of tech are all compelling reasons to buy a Transit. However, it tows substantially less than the NV at just 7,500 lbs. Ford has earned its place as the maker of America's most popular van, so you can be assured of the quality vehicle you will be buying, even if it does cost a bit more. Unless you are truly strapped for cash, the Transit is the better buy here.

See Ford Transit Cargo Van Review

2021 Nissan NV Cargo vs Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van

Where affordability is perhaps the Nissan NV Cargo's greatest strength in the competitive commercial van segment, the Merc Sprinter has completely ignored this factor with its higher starting price of $36,355. Only those with a larger budget will seriously consider the German cargo van, but if you can afford it, you'll have your employees singing your praises. The Sprinter presents buyers with a much more upscale van, both inside and out. The choice of materials is leagues ahead of those in the NV, and comfort is a primary concern, not an afterthought. The Mercedes van comes equipped with plenty of modern features and a pretty decent infotainment system for a cargo van. With multiple wheelbases and roof height combinations available, the Sprinter can be customized to handle over 530 cubic feet of cargo, meaning you can transport much larger items than you can in the Nissan van. However, it can't tow as much with a maximum capacity of 7,500 lbs, despite the option to equip the van with a diesel powertrain and four-wheel-drive. Private contractors or those few employers who value employee satisfaction will want to consider the Sprinter for its premium comfort, but the Nissan covers the basics well enough for a day of work-related driving. At the end of the day, your budget will be the deciding factor here.

See Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Review
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