- Attractive pricing
- Proven powertrains
- Easy servicability
- Impressive towing/hauling ratings
- Very thirsty V-8
- Harsh, choppy ride
- Not as space-efficient as rivals
- Clumsy handling
The 2016 Nissan NV vans offer a wide range of cargo-carrying and people-carrying possibilities, and they’re great value for the money; although their ride, handling, and safety features are a step behind the best in this class.
The 2016 Nissan NV is a rear-wheel-drive van that, when properly equipped in NV Passenger form, can carry up to 12 people over four rows of seating.
Although some families might consider the NV, it’s called a commercial vehicle by Nissan, with most of these models headed to duty for church groups, carpools, and airport shuttle services. The closely related NV Cargo Van, meanwhile, keeps it especially bare-bones and is aimed at business owners and delivery services.
While some the NV’s rivals, which include the Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster, among others, include turbodiesel engines, or turbocharged gasoline engines, the NV is powered the tried-and-true way: with rather large-displacement V-6 and V-8 gas engines. In the NV there’s a 4.0-liter V-6, making 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque, or a 317-hp, 5.6-liter V-8 making 317 hp and 385 lb-ft. Both are mated to a heavy-duty 5-speed automatic transmission.
The NV cribs the engine lineup from Nissan’s full-size Titan pickup, and while its longer hood sacrifices some maneuverability, that does make the engine bay easier to access. There’s a double-wishbone suspension up front, with coil-over-shocks, while the rear suspension consists of a solid axle and leaf springs. The power-steering system is hydraulic and engine-speed-sensitive, and it has heavy-duty disc brakes on all four wheels. V-8 NV models can tow up to 8,700 pounds, while V-6 models are up to the task of 6,200 pounds.
From our very limited experience driving an NV, we’ve found this model to be surprisingly hard-riding, yet also quite clumsy in its steering and handling, with too many secondary motions. While we haven’t driven an NV with the V-6. As for the V-8 NV, we found acceleration and passing power plenty strong, and the transmission responded well, although you hear the engine nearly all the time—and it’s too obtrusive during acceleration.
The interior of the NV Passenger includes four rows of seats, and with the second, third, and fourth rows all split, Nissan claims there are 324 possible seat configurations. The second and third rows can be completely removed or repositioned, while the fourth row is removable. In some models there’s a center console setup that allows laptop storage, space for hanging files, and a 120V AC outlet. It’s designed to form a flat work surface with the fold-down front passenger seat.
The cargo floor is relatively low, and continuous, of course (it’s a van), and with wide-opening 50/50-split side-hinged rear doors Nissan says cargo loading is easy—also aided by rear seatbelts that are anchored to the seats rather than the ceiling.
The 2016 Nissan NV lineup doesn’t include the active-safety features and options that you can get on some full-size vans, but it does include all the essential items to keep everyone safe. Head-protecting roof-mounted curtain side-impact airbags with a rollover sensor cover outboard occupants in all four rows.
The NV Passenger is offered in three different NV3500 models: S, SV, and SL. S models are a bit sparse in their equipment, but you can opt for cruise control, keyless entry, and power windows and locks. SV models add an eight-way power driver’s seat, keyless entry, full-length carpet, personal overhead lamps, rear parking sensors, a center console with sliding table and storage, cruise control, power locks and windows, and additional chrome trim. The sound system also gets six speakers. And at the top of the lineup, the SL gets leather upholstery, front dual-zone climate control, front parking sensors, and fog lamps—as well as updated infotainment (also available in the SV Tech Package) that has Navigation and Mobile Apps, a 5.6-inch touchscreen display, voice recognition, satellite radio, SiriusXM Travel Link services, and a rearview monitor.