Saturday, May 24, 2014

A LOOK AT THE 2014 NISSAN NV Passenger Van

If you've got a baseball team, a church group or airport-bound hotel patrons to haul around, you know that even the biggest SUV isn't big enough. You need maximum cargo capacity and multiple rows of seating, and that's exactly what big vans like the 2014 Nissan NV can give you. When it comes to large vans, there have been just a few choices from Chevrolet and Ford for quite some time, but Nissan's large cargo- and passenger-hauling NV van gives its dated competitors a run for their money.

Versatility is important with these large cargo vans, and the 2014 Nissan NV has plenty of it. It has a multitude of seating arrangements that allow for increased legroom, easier access to the backseats or even maximum cargo space while you're carrying five passengers. The second, third and fourth rows become a veritable game of Tetris and you can set them up however you'd like. Maximum passenger capacity is 12 people, which should be fine for almost anybody, though some competing vans go as high as 15 passengers.

If you're looking for a large passenger van, there are now more options than ever before. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is one of our favorites, thanks to features like its 15-passenger capacity and a high-roof option (which the NV only offers in its cargo variant). The Sprinter has better interior features, more space and a smoother, more carlike driving feel, but is predictably more expensive, too. Then there are the 2014 Chevrolet Express and 2014 GMC Savana twins, but those are dated and have a lower walk-around area in the cabin. The same applies to the even older 2014 Ford E-Series. Any of those vans might fit your needs, but overall we think that the 2014 Nissan NV is modern, comfortable and extremely useful for carrying large groups.

The 2014 Nissan NV Passenger full-size van comes in just a single model: the 3500. There are three trims: S, SV and SL. The base S comes with 17-inch steel wheels, a sliding passenger-side door, privacy glass, water-repellent cloth upholstery, a four-way manual driver seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, air-conditioning and a four-speaker audio system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack. Optional on the S is the Power Basic package that includes power windows and locks, cruise control and keyless entry.

The SV gets the Power Basic package's contents, along with rear parking sensors, chrome exterior accents, an eight-way power driver seat, manual lumbar adjustment, a center console, two additional 12-volt power outlets and a six-speaker sound system.

The SL trim level (V8 only) adds front parking sensors, foglights, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone connectivity and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The 2014 Nissan NV is available with either a 4.0-liter V6 engine (261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque) or a 5.6-liter V8 (317 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque). Both engines are paired to a five-speed automatic transmission and all NVs are rear-wheel drive. With the V6, an NV Passenger has a maximum tow rating of 6,200 pounds. With the V8, it has a max tow rating of 8,700 pounds.

Standard safety features on the 2014 Nissan NV include antilock brakes, stability control and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. A rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors are optional.

The NV Passenger comes with four rows of seating for a maximum capacity of 12 passengers. The second and third rows are 65/35-split, while the fourth row is 50/50-split. Each section can be individually removed, granting owners considerable flexibility for accommodating both passengers and luggage. With the fourth row removed, the second and third rows can be repositioned farther back for additional legroom.

There's no confusing the 2014 Nissan NV as anything other than a giant van, but it's at least easier to drive than other full-size cargo haulers. The ride quality is decent whether it's unloaded or full, and the noise levels are surprisingly low at freeway speeds, at least by large-metal-box-on-wheels standards. Visibility is good out the front and is enhanced by large side mirrors.

The V6 engine produces satisfying performance even with a full load, and the V8 is even better. No matter which engine you choose you'll find the automatic transmission delivers seamless and well-timed shifts.

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