San Diego ? While in San Diego covering the introduction of the new Versa Note, I also had a chance to spend a little?time in the all-new 2013 Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo Van.
I don?t want to brag, but I actually have quite a bit of experience with small delivery vans. Many years ago,?I used to help my friend, who had a flower shop in Watsonville, Calif., deliver flowers occasionally — especially?around the holidays, Valentine?s Day and the mother of all floral holidays, Mother?s Day. Driving her beat-up old Ford?Econoline van for those deliveries was always challenging. I also remember having to climbing up a little and into the?driver?s seat to get in and the difficulty of trying to reach flowers in the center of the large somewhat elevated?cargo compartment.
Like in the ?Three Bears,? the 2013 Nissan NV200 seems to be ?just right? for easy ingress and egress. Once?inside the visibility is good and there is even an available backup camera to make it much easier to safely back out of parking places and driveways. With a lower cargo floor, dual sliding doors and ?just right? size cargo bay, it would a?snap to grab flowers or other cargo from the center section. Another interesting feature is the unique 60/40 split?rear door.
To put the compact NV200 in perspective, it is a few inches longer than the Ford Transit Connect and not quite?as tall. The NV200 is also about 4.5 feet shorter than the Nissan NV 2500 and 3500 High Roof Cargo Vans. The big vans?are more suited for plumbers and UPS than little flower shops.
Driving the NV200, I appreciated the tight 37 foot turning radius, which makes it much easier for maneuvering in?tight parking lots and traffic. When there is no passenger, the front seat back folds flat, which makes a great work?area with mobile office functionality. And when it?s time for lunch, it makes a great table. There are also several?power outlets for when the computer or phone need charging and a storage drawer under the passenger seat to store?finished orders or other paperwork.
The Technology Package option adds other cool features like the navigation system, Bluetooth? Hands Free Phone?System and Sirius XM Satellite Radio so I can sing along with my favorite Frank Sinatra songs (channel 71). The system?also has Google? Send-to-Car so map locations can be sent right to the navigation system so you don?t have to stop and?enter addresses. That?s particularly handy for directionally challenged drivers.
For those who must text, or need to get text messages from the office or their dispatcher, the system will read?or take audio text messages so you don?t have to do something stupid like trying to drive and text. In addition, for?people like me that always want to have coffee or a soft drink or water at hand, there are plenty of drink holders?along with places to store clipboards, small tools and other job related necessities.
A 131-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine powers the Nissan NV200. It drives the front wheels through Nissan?s?positive response Xtronic CVT transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 24 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.?I can?t remember what kind of mileage we got in the Econoline, but I imagine it was about half this figure.
The 2013 Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo Van comes in two trim levels: the S, which has a base price of $20,835?including the destination charge; and the SV, which is $21,925 adding features like cruise control, power locks with?keyless entry and a few other handy features. Options like Back Door Glass, Bluetooth?, the Technology Package and the?Exterior Appearance Package allow the owner to customize the NV200 for their business needs.
The little 2013 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van is fun to drive, more comfortable and less noisy than the old?Econoline, but even with the Nissan Van, I think my volunteer days of delivering flowers are over.