The Ford Transit Connect compact cargo van has become a common sight on the freeways and side streets around Phoenix in the past two years. Often with full graphic wraps, we have seen several of our local heating and air companies, florists and even couriers using them around the Valley.
Small businesses have come to appreciate the highly efficient alternative to a full size van that only the Transit Connect could offer. Until now.
Nissan has just announced they will join the compact cargo van market in 2013 with the new NV200. Part of a growing line of commercial vehicles, the new compact car-based NV200 cargo van will join Nissan’s new full sized entry, the NV Cargo and NV Passenger van which both go on sale this spring.
Similar to the Ford Transit Connect, the Nissan NV200 is built around a front wheel drive unit constructed chassis. Nissan says the NV200 will feature a 2.0 liter four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to a constantly variable transmission (CVT).
The NV200 is slightly longer than the Ford, however according to published specs from both companies NV200 has 123 cubic feet of cargo area which is a bit less than the Transit Connect’s 129 cubic feet. Maximum payload for the Nissan is 1500 lbs while the Transit Connect offers 1600 lbs of carrying ability.
Nissan does boast of many interior features that will appeal to commercial customers such as standard integrated mounting points which allows for the installation of racks and shelves without drilling holes in the sidewall beams. The floor can also be outfitted with integrated cargo hooks.
Like the Transit Connect, the Nissan NV200 isn’t all that new. The compact van has been sold for years in more than 40 countries around the world. A passenger version of the NV200 has also been chosen for use in New York for the taxi fleet. A hybrid and electric version are also in consideration for future production.
The NV200 has a more upright design than the Ford but similar to the Transit Connect offers sliding doors on both sides. The rear opening has unique 40/60 split opening doors that have cogs for dual opening positions of 90 and 180 degrees.
Nissan says the cockpit is very driver oriented and designed to be a work friendly environment as many of its end users consider it their office. The driver’s seat is 6-way adjustable and the center console has room for a laptop and hanging file folder storage. The passenger seat back can also fold down to be used as a desk.
No power, economy specifications or pricing information has been released by Nissan yet, but the company says it will be competitive with the Ford Transit Connect. This means pricing will likely start near the Ford’s $22,035 MSRP. The NV200 will be available in two grade levels and offer five exterior colors.
While passenger van models have been shown both as taxis and as an electric concept, the company has not stated whether they will offer one to consumers yet. Ford offers the Transit Connect in a wagon version with a second row seat in both commercial and XLT trim levels aimed more toward consumers over commercial customers.
Coming to Valley Nissan dealers about this time next year, the Nissan NV200 will be assembled just south of the border in Cuernavaca, Mexico.