2013 Nissan NV200
2013 Nissan NV200. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Originally published November 22, 2013

It took the 2013 Nissan NV200 to get me off my keister.

At the continuing insistence of my long-suffering better half, a small interior reno project at Chez Bleakney was a matter of utmost urgency. But the not-so-better-half of this blissful marital union was playing lazy bugger.

That was until Nissan’s cute little utility van made an appearance in our driveway. No more excuses. Time to demo that wall and put this diminutive rolling tool box to work.

Up until Nissan brought the NV200 to our market this year, Ford had the compact commercial vehicle niche monopolized with its Transit Connect van. Introduced here as a 2010 model, this Turkish-built trucklet quickly became a common sight on our streets, sporting liveries from Canada Post to Ted’s Radiator Service (“A Good Place To Take A Leak”) to Helga’s Dry Cleaning.

Apparently there is good business in tidy, fuel-efficient, four-cylinder light-duty delivery vehicles in North America. Frankly, it’s hard to believe it took so long for them to get here. Nissan will soon be making the NV200 for General Motors. It will sport a Chevy snout and be called the City Express.

Ford has an all-new Transit Connect coming early 2014.

The NV200 will also soon be a common sight on the streets of the Big Apple, as it was chosen as New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow. The Ford Crown Vic is dead. Long live the NV.

2013 Nissan NV2002013 Nissan NV200
2013 Nissan NV200. Click image to enlarge

At a recent press event, Nissan showed a couple of cool NV200 conversions – one was for a San Diego surfboard maker and the other done up as a mobile Gibson guitar repair shop. Senior Editor Yarkony was much impressed by a food truck conversion at the LA Auto Show.

The NV200 starts at $21,998 for the base S variant. For this we get air conditioning, cruise, heated mirrors and integrated anchor points for available shelving and storage upgrades.

This tester is the $23,398 SV, and it gets power locks, Bluetooth, chrome grill, load floor cover and six tie-down rings. An extra $700 nets the Technology Package which adds touchscreen navigation, USB, satellite radio and a back-up camera, which came in extremely handy as this panel van had nary a window aft of the front doors.

2013 Nissan NV2002013 Nissan NV2002013 Nissan NV2002013 Nissan NV200
2013 Nissan NV200. Click image to enlarge

Power comes from a 2.0L four that makes 131 hp and 139 lb-ft. It drives the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. There is some droning when loaded down and merging with highway traffic (read: loafer hard to the floor), but otherwise this is an agreeable and peppy little hauler with good seats and a very tight turning circle. The fabric seats are comfy and forward visibility is panoramic.

The two side doors slide with an easy touch and the 60/40 rear doors can open out to 180 degrees. Cleverly, the driver’s side door is shorter so it doesn’t jut so far out into the urban traffic flow. Between the front seats is a deep cubby that will hide a laptop, and the passenger seatback flips forward, creating a workstation of sorts. It also allows for the loading of longer items.

There is a dash-top storage compartment and a slide-out storage tray under the passenger seat.

2013 Nissan NV2002013 Nissan NV200
2013 Nissan NV200. Click image to enlarge

The NV200 is not the best vehicle for hauling building supplies as it is pretty short and narrow – but then again, no one will be buying it for that kind of duty. That said, there is just enough width between the rear wheel wells (thanks to those puny 15-inch tires) to accommodate 4×8 sheets of building materials, although the rear doors have to stay open.

Connect with Autos.ca