by Jay Traugott
While not leading the small van segment in terms of cargo capacity or advanced tech features, the NV200, with its 131 horsepower four-cylinder engine, still has something to offer. With a low starting price of $22,300 and pack-leading fuel economy, this van is a great investment for those who need to move reasonable amounts of cargo around town without it costing them an arm and a leg. But, if you need to haul more without stepping up to a full-size van, the Ford Transit Connect or Ram ProMaster City might have more to offer.
The NV200 enters 2019 totally unchanged from the previous year.
See trim levels and configurations:
Thanks to its relatively small size, the van handles remarkably well. This size also allows the small cargo van to go where larger rivals can't. A slightly stronger engine would help the car feel more athletic, but it is still strong enough to get around town quickly, even with cargo in the rear.
Steering is light, meaning that low-speed maneuvers are easily managed, but don't expect the van to handle as smoothy once you get up to speed. Luckily, speed isn't the van's forte, as its high, boxy body leans far too readily into turns while crosswinds can adversely affect stability. Braking is less responsive but it's sufficient for normal town-driving speeds. In a panic situation, the van can be brought to a stop in 137 ft from 60 mph.
The seats have only minimal manual adjustability, and the steering wheel has none, so don't expect to be overly comfortable over long rides. The lack of advanced convenience and comfort features only exacerbates this problem. Nevertheless, comfort is adequate and the ride quality is acceptable even on the the small 15-inch wheels.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The small cargo van sector is not a particularly exciting segment, but the NV200 still manages to draw attention. Its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine delivers adequate power for getting around town, so long as you aren't in too much of a hurry. Where it really stands out, however, is fuel economy. The Nissan leads the segment with a 25 mpg combined cycle rating. When coupled with a low starting price of $22,300, this cargo van is the most economical investment in its class.
This is great for those not needing more than the bare basics, but if you need a few luxuries you may want to look elsewhere. The NV200 will provide you with only the most basic of safety and conveniences features, and an outdated infotainment system that lacks any of the functionality modern buyers expect. When you add to this the barely comfortable seats and less than stellar ride quality, you have a recipe for utter mediocrity.
So while we may be willing to admit that the Nissan NV200 Cargo Van is a good vehicle, there are great vans out there with similar price tags. Still, few offer what the Nissan does at such a low price so we can't rule it out just yet.
Ford's small cargo van delivers admirable road performance thanks to its slightly stronger 162 hp engine, but it is heavier than the NV200 by a few hundred pounds. Nevertheless, it offers superior acceleration and handling characteristics, along with significantly better infotainment and interior comfort options. However, the Nissan van is cheaper right out the gate, and it delivers better fuel economy figures. If you are looking for a better return on initial investment, then the NV200 might be the better choice, but if you want to invest in your people as much as your equipment, your drivers may appreciate the extra creature comforts afforded by the Ford Transit Connect.
With almost identical price tags and fuel economy performance, the Chevy City Express is a neck-and-neck rival to the NV200. In fact, there are very few areas where they are not identical, as the Chevy is essentially a rebadged NV200. However, Chevrolet has decided to discontinue the City Express, meaning you may be able to pick up secondhand units, or even old stock at a considerable discount. Nissan does offer a slightly better warranty than Chevrolet, so this is something to consider. Moving forward, the NV200 will be the only option, so in terms of new vehicle purchases, this is not even a comparison.
The most popular competitors of 2019 Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo: