• Prices start at $31,690
  • Standard side curtain airbags for all rows
  • Choice of V6 or V8 engines and three trim levels

Last spring, Nissan introduced its first commercial vehicle for the U.S. market, the NV full-size cargo van. Nissan is now expanding the NV lineup with a 4-row, 12-passenger version of the big van. The heavy-duty NVP 3500, now available at Nissan Commercial dealers, starts at $31,690, and is offered with a choice of V6 or V8 engines and three trim levels.

The NPV's styling is similar to the low-roof version of the NV cargo van, but with tinted glass running the length of the passenger compartment. Like the cargo NV, the passenger van has a long, truck-like hood instead of the stubby nose found on most full-size vans. In SV or top-of-the-line SL trim, the grille, side mirrors and door handles have a chrome finish, while the base S features mostly black exterior trim.

Four rows of seats accommodate up to 12 passengers and can be configured in a variety of ways to suit customers' needs. The second- and third-row seats can be repositioned or removed. The fourth row is split 50/50, allowing partial or complete removal. All rear seats have integrated seatbelts, so passengers don't have to struggle around second- and third-row shoulder belts during entry or exit. All rows also include a standard side curtain airbag, a segment first.

The full-size van is built on a heavy duty ladder frame so the NVP can carry up to 2,700 lbs and tow up to 8,700 lbs with the optional V8. The base V6, standard on S and SV models, is good for 261 horsepower. The V8, a $900 option on S and SV models and standard on the SL, makes 317 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque. A heavy-duty 5-speed automatic is standard on all NVP models.

Starting at $33,890, the mid-level SV trim includes upgraded trim and more comfort and convenience features like power windows and locks, cruise control and backup sensors. The $37,390 SL includes the more powerful V8 engine, and even more standard features like Bluetooth, multi-zone climate controls and heated leather trimmed front seats.

A large passenger van can be very useful for organizations that need the space to carry a lot people, gear or both. The versatile NVP could be a winner for big families too, or those who need a vehicle that can pull a heavy trailer, boat or camper. But other automakers also offer lighter-duty vans that may be better suited for personal use. Nissan sells light-duty 1500 and 2500 versions of the NV for cargo use, but hasn't yet announced plans for a light-duty NV for passengers.

What it means to you: With flexible seating, room for plenty of people and stuff, and the power to tow up to 8,700 lbs, the Nissan NVP 3500 could be a great alternative for organizations or big families looking for a heavy-duty van.

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