First Look: 2011 Nissan NV Full Size Commercial Van

2011 Nissan NV Full Size Commercial Van

At last year’s NTEA Work Truck Show, we took you on a video tour of Nissan’s NV2500 commercial van concept. This year, the company is showing off the production version. It’s the first in a lineup of full-size body-on-frame light commercial vehicles that Nissan is expected to build and sell for the North American market.

The NV Van Series is aimed at the large-van market, long dominated by vehicles like Ford's E-Series and GM's full-size vans, but it’s got some unconventional new features that are likely to attract attention in a segment that sees major model revisions only once every decade or so.

Instead of a conventional short-nose configuration, where part of the engine sits in the cab next to the driver, the NV has a long-nose front end, like a full-size pickup truck. Nissan has positioned the engine ahead of the A-pillar and firewall. That’s not surprising, since the NV is based on a modified version of the Nissan Titan half-ton pickup’s F-Alpha body-on-frame platform. The long-nose layout also makes maintenance easier because most of the powertrain can be accessed under the van’s hood.

“From the seats forward, the NV looks, acts and feels like a pickup,” said Joe Castelli, Nissan’s vice president of commercial vehicles and fleet for North America. “You don’t have to take apart the interior to see the engine, and you don’t have to worry about tucking your work boots into a cramped footwell. But make no mistake, behind the seats the NV is pure, practical van.”

Two roof configurations will be available, depending on job needs. The standard roof offers a maximum 55.4-inch height from load floor to ceiling, and a very tall roof version is 76.5 inches tall inside – enough for most people to stand up and walk around inside without stooping. The standard roof can hold up to 220 cubic feet of cargo, and the high roof can accommodate up to 300 cubic feet.

2011 Nissan NV Van Interior

Although Nissan previously announced that it’s partnering with contract diesel engine manufacturer Cummins and German supplier ZF to develop and build two diesel engines and a six-speed automatic transmission, the oil burning powertrains won’t be available when the vans first arrive. Two gas engines will be the initial choices. There’s a 4.0-liter V-6 that’s shared with the Nissan Frontier midsize pickup and a 5.6-liter V-8 that’s shared with the Nissan Titan. A five-speed automatic transmission will be the only gearbox.

Power figures have not been finalized for the engines, according to Nissan spokesperson Brian Brockman.

The Nissan NV will be available in three models: the NV1500 half-ton, NV2500 HD three-quarter-ton and NV3500 HD one-ton. There’s one 146.1-inch wheelbase.

The front suspension is independent, and the rear uses a live axle and leaf springs.

Eventually, Nissan is expected to develop a heavy-duty pickup based on the same LCV platform as the NV vans.

We’ll have more news and information about the vans live from the show floor of the 2010 Work Truck Show in St. Louis this week.

Nissan NV Van High Roof


I have had my NV 3500 for about 3 weeks now, I am very happy with it so far. I had a sprinter 3500 for the last seven years and was not sure if this was going to hold everything i needed seeing I was loosing about 14 inches of length in cargo. It turns out it is fine and quite well orginized with all american van shelfing. The only thing is I need spring helpers to stop the sag now that it is loaded. Sprinter did well in that regard setting up the springs for a full load. The Nv has a GVW of 9900 #. I have not got it on the scale yet but I have plenty of weight in it to handle the vermont snow this year. I hope they come out with a 4WD NV in the next few years. The turning may not be as tight as the sprinter but with the backup camera and sonar it is fine parking. Also the blue tooth and touchscreen nav. is great.Just note the high top with ladder rack is 12 inches higher than the sprinter, clearance is 10"6" now that is a high top...

that thing is sharp!!!!! dammmit i wish they had a diesel already though.

If it had a diesel engine in it I would buy one tomorow! Lot's of similar vehicles on the European market running on diesel.

I love the NV van, and would love to see a diesel engine offered as an option. I've always preferred inline diesel engines over V engines, if for no other reason than for easier maintenance. Depending on the numbers, I'd go for a 3.9 litre Cummins diesel engine. For smaller numbers, like the NV1500, I'd go for the 2.8 litre Cummins diesel. For those who want gasoline, you still have gasoline powered V6 and V8 engines.

I think the Nissan NV van is better looking than either the Ford E Searies (Econoline) Van or the Chevrolet/GMC Van. I like the fact that the NV comes in three different numbers (1500, 2500, and 3500) duty levels. I also like the fact that a passenger version is available. I'd also like to see a high roof passenger van become available. I'd also love to see a handicap passenger van become available for those who need a wheelchair. Whatever application the vehicle is used for, I'd also love to see a diesel engine become available. I'm sure there's a market somewhere for a van with diesel engine, whether it's a 2.8 litre, a 3.5 litre, or a 4.0 litre, depending on which grade you choose. The Chevy/GMC vans are available with a Duramax Diesel engine, while the Ford vans are available with a Powerstroke Diesel engine, and the Mercedes Sprinter (also available in Dodge Sprinter form) is available with a Mercedes-Benz diesel. Whatever you use your van for, whether it's for business or personal, such a vehicle needs to have a diesel engine for the best torque. I hope that Nissan and Cummins can deliver a good Diesel engine and transmission combination. We'll just have to wait and see.

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