By Mike Hanley
The humble, workaday cargo van isn't traditionally the basis for a customized auto show vehicle, but that didn't stop Nissan from turning the NV2500 HD full-size cargo van into the four-wheel drive NV Cargo X concept, which will bow at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show. The automaker got help from builder and TV host Ian Johnson. Featuring a lifted suspension with 37-inch off-road tires, front and rear solid axles, an HD transfer case, and a Cummins turbo-diesel engine, the NV Cargo X reimagines the cargo van not as a deliverer of Amazon packages but as the means for rock-crawling adventure, ready to take you deep into the backcountry.
Created as part of an episode of Johnson's "Xtreme Off-Road" TV show, the NV Cargo X incorporates aftermarket parts and components from other Nissan vehicles. The upgraded suspension features heavy-duty solid Dynatrac front and rear axles fitted with 37-inch General Grabber X3 off-road tires on beadlock wheels. Meanwhile, the NV2500 HD's available 5.6-liter V-8 gas engine was swapped for a Cummins turbo-diesel 5.0-liter V-8 from the Nissan Titan XD pickup truck. The diesel engine is rated at 310 horsepower and 555 pounds-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission splits the engine torque via the transfer case to the front and rear live axles.
Exterior modifications include LED lighting, a front winch rated to 10,000 pounds, a custom tubular bumper and a custom skid plate. Inside, the cargo area has been fitted with equipment traditionally found in off-road support vehicles, such as a full-size spare tire, high-lift jack, portable welder and a tool bag.
Chicago Auto Show visitors will be able to see the NV Cargo X during the show's run (Feb. 11-20), and Johnson will be signing autographs at the show from noon to 2 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. Feb. 11. To see how the NV Cargo X performed on the Pyeatt Draw trail in Arizona's Tonto National Forest visit NVCargoX.com.