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 |  Dec 15 2010, 1:35 PM

In other parts of the world, Nissan commercial vans have been a staple of the brand for years, but up until now, they were noted by their absence in the U.S. and Canada.

Not any more. For 2012, Nissan is introducing the NV, aimed specifically at our market. It follows the format of traditional American large commercial vans like Ford’s E-Series and the Chevy Express/GMC Savanna, featuring body-on-frame construction, rear wheel drive and a choice of relatively large capacity gasoline engines – in this case a 4.0-liter V6 and a 5.6-liter V8, plus a standard five-speed automatic transmission and a traditional hood design for engine access (Nissan vans in most other markets are a forward control design with the engine mounted under the floor).

At launch, the NV will be offered in two grades, S and SV, in 2500 (3/4 ton) and 3500 (1 ton) capacities, with a choice of regular or high roof configurations. Standard equipment includes a fold-flat front passenger seat, designed to double as a work table, Titan pickup derived instrument cluster and locking center console, plus heavy duty mounting points for cargo tie-downs, while SV models also feature a special ‘inner skin’ for the side panels to prevent large or sharp objects from denting the exterior body. Other features aimed at commercial operators include hard wearing seat materials and rear access doors that swing open a total of 243 degrees.

The NV will be built at Nissan’s Canton Mississippi assembly plant alongside the Titan pickup on which it is based and will become available in the spring of 2011. As for pricing, the regular roof S model will start at $24,995, while a full jam high roof, V8 powered 3500 SV will sticker at $32,190.