Nissan's NV200 compact work van hasn't even been on the North American market for a year, and it's already got a twin: the Chevrolet City Express. In a joint press release [http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2013/May/0514-chevy-small-cargo-vehicle.html], General Motors and Nissan announced that the Mexican-built NV200, a small-yet-spacious van in the mold of the Ford Transit Connect, will be rebadged and sold as the City Express for the 2015 model year.
For GM, the deal plugs a hole that was exposed a few years ago, when the relatively nimble and fuel-efficient Transit Connect hit the market. Although the venerable Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana give GM a presence in the full-size van segment, the company still has no production-ready small vans in its portfolio. Meanwhile, North American commercial customers have been clamoring for better fuel economy and maneuverability -- perks that overseas van drivers have long enjoyed, and that the Transit Connect readily provides.
Enter the NV200, which is loosely based on the Versa economy car but boasts a healthy 122.7 cu ft of cargo space, or nearly 14 cu ft more than the massive Chevrolet Tahoe SUV. Power comes from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that returns a combined 24 miles per gallon -- one better than the Transit Connect Cargo -- thanks in part to a continuously variable automatic transmission. Other notable features include standard 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, dual sliding side doors and barn-style rear doors that open to a full 180 degrees.
The NV200 also enjoys the distinction of being New York City's "Taxi of Tomorrow". As of October 2013, and for 10 years hence, all new Gotham taxis must be specially equipped NV200s.
GM has revealed few details about the Chevrolet City Express. Judging by the available press photos, however, it shouldn't differ much from Nissan duty aside from the bow-tie badges. That includes pricing, as we expect GM to hold the line on Nissan's base price of roughly $20,000. Look for the City Express at both American and Canadian Chevrolet dealerships starting in the fall of 2014.