Nissan's NV cargo van will soon be available with rear seats, rear windows, and a host of new technology designed to transform the commercial vehicle into a large, comfortable passenger van.

According to Nissan, the NV3500 HD Passenger Van will debut in spring 2012 for both personal and fleet use. Featuring four seating rows with capacity for up to 12 passengers, the van's primary competition will come from the aging Chevrolet Express and Ford E-series, which are also popular cargo vans. But Nissan says the U.S.-built NV passenger van will be a dramatic step up from its rivals.

"Just as we did prior to shaking up the commercial van category with the highly innovative Nissan NV, we first did our homework in the full-size van segment," said Joe Castelli, Nissan North America's vice president for commercial vehicles and fleet. "As a result, we're delivering a vehicle that offers everything owners are looking for - enhanced usability, driver and passenger comfort, flexible storage, dependability, durability and an affordable cost of ownership."

Indeed, the NV's main selling points are its enhanced usability and flexible storage. Flexible storage items include a center console with enough space to store a laptop, fully removable rear seats, and a fold-down front passenger seat with storage underneath. Enhanced usability comes from mobile office support with available 120-volt outlets, low step-in height, easy entry and exit thanks to seat belts integrated into rear seats, and an available rear view camera.

Under the hood, the NV3500 HD Passenger Van packs a potent punch. A 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 is standard, while a 317-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 borrowed from the automaker's full size Titan pickup is optional. Other standard features include a 28-gallon fuel tank, a 5-speed automatic transmission, heavy-duty disc brakes with anti-lock braking, and segment exclusive side curtain airbags. Options include a navigation system, Bluetooth, and XM satellite radio.

While Nissan hasn't announced pricing or trim levels for the upcoming NV passenger van, we'll be sure to provide more information as soon as further details are released.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on

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