Road Test: 2013 Nissan NV200 Cargo SV

Road Test: 2013 Nissan NV200 Cargo SV

Perfect For Around Town Light Duty Delivery

Nissan’s 2013 NV200 Compact Cargo van was designed for light-duty delivery and hauling, and it does it quite well. Competing directly against the Ford Transit Connect and the coming Ram ProMaster City and Chevy City Express, this segment of high-roof, slab sided utility vans will undoubtedly become a very common sight on US roads.


The front-wheel drive, 3,255 lb., 2013 Nissan NV200 Cargo SV is powered by a 2.0L, 16-valve 4-cylinder gasoline engine, rated at 131 hp delivering 139 lb-ft of torque. The engine mates to Nissan’s Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which gets you around without ever feeling a shifting gear. There are varying opinions about owning a car with a CVT, but I like them for their smooth operation and fuel economy. Having driven

Nissan,NV200,cargo van,mpg,fuel economy

You can see through Nissan’s plan–best MPG=sales

several Nissans with a CVT, it is obvious that they pretty much have them figured-out.

So why is Clean Fleet Report reviewing a gasoline-powered van as we primarily feature alternatives to gas-only vehicles? Because we’re focused on telling you about the best car or truck for the job. The Nissan NV200 Cargo can haul 1,500+ lbs. while claiming the Best-In-Class city fuel economy of 24 mpg. The freeway economy is listed at 25 mpg with an overall average of 24 mpg. I was able on a 250-mile freeway run, with no load, to get close to 30 mpg. That claim may not last long as you can see in the competitive stats at the end of this test.

We are not the promoters of any one technology because there are no silver bullets. We want to give you the information you need to make the best decision when it comes to fuel efficiency. Therefore, we felt the NV200 was newsworthy if you are looking for a cargo utility vehicle that gets excellent fuel economy for its size category. Clean Fleet Report will feature more gasoline-powered vehicles when they merit the attention and recognition.

The Driving Experience: Interior

The 2013 Nissan NV200 Cargo SV comes with a nice list of features that we have become accustomed to seeing on passenger cars and SUVs. Some of these include power windows (with driver side one-touch auto-down), power heated outside mirrors, power door locks, cruise control, steering wheel audio controls, A/C, dual overhead map lights, remote keyless entry, intermittent wipers and plenty of

Nissan,NV200,storage,cargo van,mpg

The NV200 is a rolling workplace

cubbies, storage bins and cup holders.

The seats were comfortable and have cloth inserts with vinyl on the bolsters where the most in-and-out wear will take place. Nice touch.

The driver-focused cockpit has all the controls and gauges within easy reach of the driver. The NV200 Cargo, designed for commercial use, offers mobile office conveniences including a center console with laptop/hanging file folder storage and storage areas on the upper instrument panel for folders. Another convenient feature offers two benefits: the passenger seatback folds down to serve as a worktop or lunch table and it extends the cargo space for hauling longer items, such as pipe, lumber or a surfboard. The tray built into the passenger-side seatback can fit most laptops and includes a penholder for use as desk.

Our NV200 Cargo SV was equipped with Nissan’s optional Technology Package which came with a 5.8-inch color touch screen, Bluetooth with hands-free Nissan Voice Recognition for streaming audio (Pandora radio capable, iPhone only), telephone, navigation and their text messaging assistant. Also in the technology package was SiriusXM, NissanConnect with a navigation system that includes NavTraffic, NavWeather and Google Points Of Interest.

One note on the sound system: because the test NV200 Cargo had no built-out interior sides past the cockpit (more on this later) and there is little insulation or noise deadening as a result, it comes with only two speakers

Nissan,NV200,storage,cargo van,mpg

Places for work things abound

mounted on the dash. At freeway speeds, with the windows open, you pretty much lose any possibility of a high-quality listening experience. With the A/C on and windows closed, it’s just a bit better.

The NV200 Cargo comes standard with large outside mirrors with integrated convex spotter mirrors and, as an option in the Technology Package, a rear view camera. These are good things as the windowless sliding doors on each side make for difficult, if not dangerous, backing situations. Sliding door windows are an option, which Clean Fleet Report strongly recommends you get, as whatever advertising space you forgo on the slab-sided door will be rewarded by your not bumping into stationary and moving objects.

Visibility aside, the large, side sliding doors open and close with ease and can accommodate loading most tall items. This loading convenience goes for the rear doors which are also tall and have a 40/60 split design. The 60 percent right, or curb, side provides for easy access from a sidewalk and the 40 percent left side door is shorter in width, reducing its potential intrusion into the street when open, helping lower the risk of accidents due to passing vehicles. A very convenient feature is that both rear doors have two opening positions: 90º and 180º; they can fold flat against the van sides and not hinder loading and unloading.

Nissan,NV200,cargo van,mpg

No surprise-it swallows cargo

The NV200 Cargo is considered a commercial vehicle and is only sold through select Nissan dealers. This makes sense as a dealer conversant in the truck and van needs of business owners will be knowledgeable of how this completely empty van can be outfitted. It comes standard with six floor-mounted cargo rings and integrated mounting points, which allow installation of racks and shelves without drilling into the sidewalls.

The NV200 Cargo is spacious: 82.8-inch cargo length, 54.8-inch cargo width, 48-inch between the wheel wells and a 53-inch cargo area height, resulting in a capacity of 122.7 cubic feet. It’s rated to take up to a 1,500-pound payload. The cargo floor liftover height is a very low 21.1 inches, which makes loading and unloading a breeze. However, to have such a low floor height also means having an even lower rear bumper, leaving the back of the van susceptible to damage in a rear end collision.

Standard safety features include roof-mounted curtain, side impact air bags and front seat-mounted driver and passenger side impact air bags, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, TPMS.

The Driving Experience: On The Road

The NV200 Cargo is nimble on city streets and the smooth operation of the CVT makes zipping around town a breeze. There are excellent sightlines out the front windshield as the driver’s seating position is high, aided by a six-way manually adjusted seat. As mentioned earlier a big area of concern was no standard widow on the right side sliding door making for some very interesting – challenging – backing maneuvers. I found that parking the NV200 Cargo was easy and the 36.7’ curb-to-curb turning radius very helpful in tight spots.

My test NV200 Cargo came with no cargo-area insulation, so once on the freeway, road noise is noticeable. Being a tall vehicle (73.7 inches) with a short 115.2-inch wheelbase and 60-inch width, coupled with small 15-inch wheels and all-season tires, it had significant body roll if pushed too hard around corners. Out on the freeways here in Southern California, I felt it did not track well as our concrete freeway surfaces are grooved for traction and water dispersion and can also get a bit like a washboard. I felt the combination of a slab-sided van being buffeted by the windwash from big rigs, the small wheels and grooved freeway surfaces left me with an occasional uneasy feeling at freeway speeds. Possibly with a loaded NV200 Cargo the ride would be more stable, but even then, I would suggest Nissan’s cargo van be used primarily for in-town deliveries.


The 2013 NV200 Compact Cargo begins at $21,085 and the SV base model starts at $22,075, both including the $845 Destination Charge. Our SV also had the Back Door Glass ($190), Exterior Appearance ($190), All Season Floor Mats ($95) and the Technology Packages ($950) for a total of $23,250, including the Destination Charge.

The 2013 NV200 Compact Cargo comes with these warranties:

Bumper-to-bumper:        5 year/100,000 miles

Powertrain:                     5 year/60,000 miles

Drivetrain:                      5 year/60,000 miles

Corrosion:                       5 year/Unlimited miles

Emissions:                      2 year/24,000 miles (3 year/50,000 miles for California)

Observations: 2013 Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo SV

If you need a light-duty delivery vehicle to haul cargo in-town and short distances on the freeway, then you should be considering the Nissan NV200 Cargo. This very versatile van is easy to drive, park and maneuver in

Nissan,NV200,mpg,cargo van

Nissan NV200-coming at you

the city, and with its low lift-over floor height and tall, wide doors, reduces the difficulty of loading and unloading cargo.

The fuel economy is excellent, maybe even better than advertised. The CVT makes for a smooth driving experience. Nissan’s understanding that NV200 Cargo owners will be doing business has led to a nicely outfitted vehicle that can serve as a mobile office.

You can find a Nissan commercial dealer here Have them let you take it out for a combination city and freeway test drive to see for yourself how it will help your business grow.

Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!

The EV Cargo-Hauling Option – e-NV200

By Michael Coates/Senior Editor

Given Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn’s new passion for pure electric vehicles, it’s not surprising that an electric version of the NV200 is going to be arriving soon after the gas model hits the roads of the U.S.

Nissan,NV200,e-NV200,electric truck,electric vehicle,EV

Nissan also has a zero emissions version

The e-NV200’s concept is simple – all of the functionality of the NV200 with none of the tailpipe emissions. Like the Leaf, the e-NV200 has a charging port under the Nissan logo at the front. In fact, it features a transplant of the Leaf’s electric drivetrain, which includes an 80KW AC synchronous electric motor that generates 207 lb-ft of torque. That should deliver off-the-line performance even better than the gas version, except that you’re also hauling around a 48-module lithium-ion battery (also from the Leaf) that will add a few pounds to the NV200’s

Nissan,e-NV200,electric truck,EV,electric vehicle, interior

Inside the e-NV200 has Leaf-like gadgets

normal weight. In gas-engine trim, the NV200 is roughly the same weight as a Leaf. Since it has the same charging system as the Leaf, the e-NV200 should be capable of DC (480-volt) fast-charging, which would allow it to charge to 80-percent capacity in about 30 minutes and extend its capability for local deliveries or short-range commercial work.

The e-NV200 is reported to have a range of 73 miles and has been used in trials with the Japan Post Service and FedEx in Europe. More are due on the roads here this year for further testing. Of course at this early stage there is no talk of price.


Some comparative statistics (since two models are not yet on the market some info is a little sketchy):

2014 Ford Transit Connect /$22,000 / 22-30-25 w/1.6L EcoBoost engine 178 hp/184 lb-ft torque & 6-sp trans/ 103.9 cu ft (long wheelbase=128.6) / 1,710 lb payload / CNG option

 2015 Ram ProMaster City (due on in early 2015) / no price announced / 178 hp/174 lb-ft torque w/2.4L Tigershark engine / 132 cu ft / 1,883 lb payload

2015 Chevy City Express (due soon) / $21,955 / 2.0L engine / 131 hp & CVT / 122.7 cu ft / 1,500 lb payload

2015 Model Year Updates Announced

No sooner did we get this road test published than Nissan announced some changes coming the NV200 in the next model year. Topping the list is a fuel economy boost, which will be accompanied by a variety of new optional equipment. Here’s the laundry list of updates:

The NV full-size cargo van will get the new SL trim level (along with the S and SV models) that includes chrome bumpers, grille, door handles, and mirror caps. The NV SL will also offer an eight-way driver’s seat, vehicle security system, and first-row side and roof-mounted curtain side air bags.

The 2015 NV also gets the updated NissanConnect infotainment system with navigation and mobile apps paired with a 5.8-inch touch screen display. The NV passenger van also gets the upgraded NissanConnect system. Both NV versions will be available in early 2015.

The 2015 NV200 compact cargo van gets several upgrades, including a new next-gen Xtronic transmission, revised HD alternator, and 1 mpg improvement in fuel economy to 24/26/25 mpg for city/highway/combined cycles. Additionally, new options include rear sonar and a sliding door glass package. The 2015 NV200 will be available in September.

The 2015 NV200 Taxi will also get the NissanConnect system with navigation and mobile apps paired with a 5.8-inch display. It will be available in early 2015.

Related articles you might find interesting:

Hundreds of Electric Delivery Trucks Today; Millions Tomorrow

Ford Has Confidence In Its Aluminum Path To MPG

2014 Ram 1500 HFE With Start-Stop System


How Long Will It Take to Convert the U.S. Fleet to Electric Cars?

How Long Will It Take to Convert the U.S. Fleet to Electric Cars?

Past Experience Doesn’t Make One Optimistic, But Times Are Changing.

Plug-in electric cars had record sales this past year, jumping 84 percent from the previous year’s sales and hitting almost 100,000 in sales. They’re selling better than hybrids did after their introduction more than a decade

chevy,volt,EV transition,future

100 years of progress, but it doesn’t happen quickly

ago. Optimists expect the trajectory to continue; pessimists point to the waning of incentives from government to offset the increased prices of EVs and the lack of automakers ability to continue the fire-sale tactics that dominated the 2013 market.

As is always the case at the end of one calendar year and the beginning of another, predictions for the future of new technologies abound. Some representative headlines:

  • Nissan announced it will have autonomous cars for sale in 2020.
  • Eight governors pledged to get 3.3 million more zero emission cars on the roads by 2025.
  • Three quarters of vehicles sold worldwide by 2035 will have autonomous features.
  • By 2022 there will be nearly 1.9 million natural gas-powered trucks and 1.9 million natural gas buses globally.

Presidential Predictions

But experience tells you to step back and take a breath when you read this kind of prognostication. President Obama in his 2011 State of the Union address called for the country to put a cumulative one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. In that total he included range-extended versions such as the Chevy Volt. Of course, it was not to be since that total was built on the expectation of GM selling 120,000 Volts a year in 2012 and  2013 (as well as 50,000 Leafs and 10,000 Ford Focus Electrics in 2013). Not to mention the expectation that the Fisker Nina would be produced and sold along with the Think City, Fisker Karma and Ford Transit EV. Of course it didn’t anticipate all of the plug-in cars that have some on the market in the past two years, but the cumulative numbers will be nowhere near the expected million.

It reminds me of the Yogi Berra quote: “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

Ford On Fuel Cells

hyundai,tucson FCEV, fuel cell,

Hyundai steps up to retail its fuel cell cars this year

I found an interesting story and quote from less than 13 years ago. Bill Ford, then chairman (now executive chairman) of Ford Motor Company. “I believe fuel cells could end the 100-year reign of the internal combustion

engine.” He then predicted that Ford would offer fuel-cell-powered Focus by 2004.

Well, here we are a decade later and its Hyundai, not Ford, who is putting a fuel cell vehicle on sale (the Tucson FCEV goes on sale this spring at California dealerships). Of course Honda, Mercedes and GM have put limited numbers of fuel cell cars in consumers’ hands, but this is the start of the retailing of this technology.


FedEx’s Pledge & Reality

Another illustrative story comes from FedEx, a leader in adopting new technology. In 2004 they joined with the NGO Environmental Defense and Eaton Corporation pledging to replace its 30,000 medium-duty trucks

FedEx, alt fuel vehicles,electric delivery trucks

FedEx moves slower than expected

with hybrid trucks over the coming years to reduce both pollution and greenhouse gases. It seemed like a win-win with environmental advances also paying off in a better bottom line for FedEx because of increased efficiencies.

Well, again, here we are a decade later and FedEx has deployed 408 electric and hybrid (either gasoline-electric or diesel-electric) trucks.  The good news is FedEx’s leadership has led to another 1,400 hybrid delivery trucks hitting the roads with other companies. As FedEx acknowledged, government incentives will continue to play a critical role in rollout of advanced technology vehicles.

These Things Take Time

These things do take time. Wishful thinking won’t get us there. Government money can help, but ultimately it can only play a minor role if the goal is the transformation of a fleet. Cars and trucks that are better alternatives to gasoline ones in every way will be the only way to make it happen.  That’s the way gasoline won out over electricity and steam 100 years ago. That’s why diesel won out over gasoline in Europe 15 years ago. That’s why the Toyota Prius is the 10th best-selling car of 2013.

In spite of all of the predictions, 2014 could be one of those years where we see some real change. We at Clean Fleet Report will be here to chronicle it.

Honda,fuel cell,future car

What the future may hold

Story & Photos by Michael Coates

Posted January 3, 2014

Other related stories you might enjoy:

Top 10 Best-Selling High-MPG Cars of 2013

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars Go On Sale in 2014

Cars and Technology of the Future

UPS Fleet Hybrid Delivery Trucks and CNG

UPS Fleet Hybrid Delivery Trucks and CNG

UPS delivers 15 million packages per day in over 200 countries. UPS has over 100,000 vehicles and 600 airplanes. UPS employs over 400,000 people. UPS is the ninth largest airline on the planet. They are experts at reducing the cost and fuel usage of moving millions of packages. 1,500 of those vehicles use alternative fuel, savings millions of gallons of oil and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2000, UPS alternative-fuel vehicles have logged 108 million route miles — enough to circle the Earth more than 4,300 times. These 1,500 vehicles run on natural gas, propane and hydrogen.

UPS Hydraulic Hybrid TruckUPS has one of the largest private fleets of CNG vehicles in the U.S. with 808 operating in the United States, Germany, Brazil and France. UPS began extensively testing CNG in 1989 to assess its benefits and viability as an alternative fuel. The results have been impressive: particulate emissions are 95 percent lower than with diesel engines; carbon monoxide emissions are 75 percent lower; and emissions of nitrogen oxides are 49 percent lower. 11 liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractors operate in the UPS West Coast fleet, hauling more than 31,000 packages a day. Because of its density, LNG is a viable alternative fuel source for large trucks that need to go long distances before stopping to refuel.

UPS has ordered 50 hybrid delivery trucks, which will reduce fuel consumption by 44,000 gallons per year. These will be diesel hybrids due to the efficiency of diesel engines. Hybrid technology is perfect for delivery vehicles because braking energy is stored in batteries and later feed to an electric motor, thereby reducing the size and fuel needed in a diesel engine. Delivery trucks make lots of stops and capture lots of braking energy. The trucks have 60 percent to 70 percent higher fuel efficiency and emit 40 percent less carbon dioxide than normal UPS delivery trucks. UPS invests an added $7,000 per truck for these fuel efficient hybrids, and saves over $7,000 in fuel in less than three years.

UPS demonstrated its hydraulic hybrid delivery vehicle at the South Coast Air Quality Management District in Diamond Bar, Calif. The unique UPS delivery vehicle uses hydraulic pumps and hydraulic storage tanks to store energy, similar to what is done with electric motors and batteries in hybrid electric vehicles. Fuel economy is increased in three ways: vehicle braking energy is recovered that normally is wasted; the engine is operated more efficiently; and the engine can be shut off when stopped or decelerating. The vehicle was designed with the support of the UPS, Eaton Corporation – Fluid Power, International Truck and Engine Corporation, U.S. Army – National Automotive Center, and Morgan-Olson.

“If every drayage truck and yard hostler in the ports adopted this technology, we could further reduce emissions by almost 50 percent,” said Matt Haber, air division deputy director, of the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Southern California residents breathe the dirtiest air in the country and we all have to do our part to clean the air.”

UPS is going green to make more green – money. Fuel costs UPS over 2 billion dollars every year. Their approach to saving fuel is not based on one big technology breakthrough. Rather, it is based upon hundreds of smart decisions. For example, USP designed delivery routes to minimize left turns because turning across traffic is not only more dangerous, it requires longer idling time, wastes fuel and creates more congestion. The right-turn only approach saved UPS 3,000,000 gallons of fuel.

UPS has two hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in operation. UPS currently operates one DaimlerChrysler Sprinter fuel cell van in Ontario, California and one in Ann Arbor, Michigan The EPA provides a hydrogen refueling station at its national fuel emissions laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan In California, UPS gets its hydrogen fuel from a station in the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The company is working to develop future generations of delivery vehicles that reduce dependence on fossil fuels, significantly reduce fuel consumption and create a vehicle platform to bridge to the hydrogen economy. Some of these efforts include:

  • 21st Century Truck Partnership – In this government-industry partnership, federal agencies and the transportation/trucking industry are working together on technologies to make vehicles safer, cleaner and more efficient, while maintaining fleet safety and cost-effectiveness.
  • EPA SmartWay Transport Program – This voluntary partnership with leading members of America’s truck and rail transport sectors aims to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from ground freight carriers. The goal of this initiative by 2012 is to reduce 18 million tons of carbon and 200,000 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) annually. These reductions will create fuel savings of up to 150 million barrels of oil annually.
  • Clean Cargo & Green Freight – UPS is an active member of Business for Social Responsibility’s Green Freight working group. Together with the Clean Cargo group, Green Freight is developing voluntary environmental guidelines to enhance fleets’ performances while spurring a broader movement toward a sustainable transportation future.