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2017 Nissan NV200: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2017

When a full-size van or pickup is more than your small business needs, a compact, affordable and fuel-efficient vehicle like the 2017 Nissan NV200 is just what the doctor ordered. The NV200's small footprint makes it easy to maneuver and park, a plus in congested cities, but its cargo hold is deceptively large.

Built from the same platform as Nissan's compact cars, the NV200 provides nimble handling and a smooth ride, along with a tight turning diameter and diminutive dimensions that allow it to park in the smallest spaces. Like the Ford Transit Connect (with which it competes), the NV200 offers excellent fuel economy, a roomy 122.7-cu ft. cargo hold (slightly smaller than the Ford) and a host of innovative features designed around the needs of the small-business owner. The design is so good that GM uses it in its own van fleet, rebadged as the Chevrolet City Express.

What's New for 2017?

For 2017, the NV200 base model gains standard power door locks and Hill Start Assist. The SV trim gains body-colored bumpers and side mirrors, plus a chrome grille and full wheel covers. The Sliding Door Glass package is upgraded to include passenger-side sliding door glass with wire mesh, sliding wire mesh on the rear door glass, a rear defroster and an interior rearview mirror.

What We Like

Serious cargo capacity; low base price; good fuel economy; manageable size; carlike driving dynamics

What We Don't

Lacks the muscle and space of full-size vans; missing some high-tech telematics and work-assist features found on the Transit Connect

How Much?

$22,215-$26,000

Fuel Economy

The NV200 is powered by a 2-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 131 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a continuously variable automatic (CVT).

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the NV200 achieves a fuel economy of 24 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. That's pretty good for a beast of burden.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Nissan NV200 is offered in two trim levels: S and SV.

The S trim ($22,215) comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, cloth upholstery with vinyl wear patches, adjustable driver lumbar support, power windows, power door locks, Hill Start Assist, a 12-volt power point in the center console, a trip computer, a fold-down passenger seat with a seatback tray table, Nissan's mobile-office center console (including laptop and hanging file-folder storage, a pen/pencil tray, a CD holder and dual cup holders), 40/60-split rear cargo doors that open up to 180 degrees, 20 interior cargo mounting points, six exterior roof-rack mounting points and a 2-speaker CD audio system with auxiliary audio input.

The SV ($23,115) adds power heated mirrors, six floor-mounted D-rings in the cargo area, power locks, keyless entry, cruise control and an additional 12-volt power point.

NV200 options include Bluetooth with streaming audio, satellite radio, a rearview camera and NissanConnect with navigation, which features a 5.8-in touchscreen display, a navigation system, voice-command functionality, Pandora Internet Radio capability (iPhone required) and a hands-free text-messaging assistant. Rear sonar parking assist, cruise control and glass windows for the rear and side doors are also available.

The NV200's standard dual-sliding side doors make the cargo area accessible from either side of the vehicle. The French-style rear doors split 40/60, with the wider door on the curb side to ease loading and unloading. Both doors open up to 180 degrees so they won't get in the way. A 90-degree detent is also provided.

Nissan's compact van owes its cargo capacity of 122.7 cu ft. to the unique extended body for North American models. Elsewhere in the world, the NV200 is 7.9 inches shorter, but Nissan wanted the U.S. version to go toe-to-toe with the Ford Transit Connect, which can haul a comparable 128.6 cu ft. The RAM ProMaster City tops both with a class-leading 131.7 cu ft. of cargo space.

Nissan estimates payload for the NV200 at 1,480 pounds.

Safety

The NV200 comes standard with 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, stability control and six airbags (front, side and side-curtain). It has not been crash-tested in the U.S. as of this writing.

Behind the Wheel

The NV200's cabin features no-nonsense materials and controls. There's nothing that looks or feels luxurious, but we suspect the durability factor will prove to be high. Hardworking drivers will appreciate the standard adjustable lumbar support, and the vinyl wear patches should extend the cloth upholstery's shelf life. The no-frills knobs and buttons feel sturdy and are intuitively laid out.

On the road, the NV200's carlike unibody construction is apparent. You'll never forget that you have a massive cargo box behind you. Otherwise, though, the NV200 essentially drives like a car. The steering is light yet precise, and the suspension swallows bumps with none of the harshness and clatter you get in larger, trucklike work vans. Plus, if you need to make deliveries, the NV200's compact footprint means you can park it just about anywhere; indeed, this van is smaller than many crossover SUVs.

If the NV200 has a weakness, it's the mandatory 2-liter 4-cylinder engine, which delivers adequate punch but nothing more. European buyers can specify a turbodiesel 4-cylinder, and we think utility-minded Americans would appreciate the diesel's superior torque off the line. However, Nissan reps tell us that it was too expensive to get the diesel certified in this country, so the gas-powered 4-cylinder is all we get. Fortunately, its 139 lb-ft of torque manages to scoot the little NV along with reasonable authority, and the gearless CVT delivers eerily smooth acceleration. The 24 mpg city fuel economy is a nice perk, too.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Ford Transit Connect -- The similar Transit Connect can haul marginally more than the NV200, and it offers more power and configurations including a passenger van. The NV200, however, is less expensive and features Nissan's nifty mobile-office storage system.

2017 RAM ProMaster City -- The ProMaster City has more power and can be configured as a passenger van, as well. The ProMaster City costs more than the NV200, but the Nissan has better city fuel-economy figures.

2017 Chevrolet City Express -- Chevrolet borrows the City Express from Nissan, so it's essentially an NV200 with a Chevy grille. The upside to buying the Chevy over the Nissan is a bigger dealer network. Unfortunately, you'll get Nissan's audio, navigation and apps system, not the superior MyLink system from GM.

Used Chevrolet Express Cargo Van -- A 2010-2015 Chevrolet Express model can be had for about the same price as a new NV200, offering more interior room but worse fuel economy.

Autotrader's Advice

The NV200 offers some interesting optional features, but if we were in the market for a work van, we'd stick with the base S model and save a bundle in comparison to the rival Transit Connect.

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Used 2017 Nissan NV200 SV
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Nissan NV200: New Car Review - Autotrader