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Driving a Nissan to preview a Chevrolet
When Nissan won the ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ contract from New York City with its new compact passenger van, it was obvious a retail version would follow. Although the 13,000 vehicles NYC requires is no small amount, Nissan would like to sell more; a lot more. So the manufacturer created the NV200, a version of this van available to retail customers.
What’s more, this compact front-wheel drive van will also be rebadged as a Chevrolet and sold all throughout North America as the City Express. This is a winning proposition for both Manufactures as Chevrolet lacks a compact commercial vehicle to compete against the Ford Transit Connect, while Nissan can utilize Chevrolet’s far larger dealer network to sell more units.
So the question is, will this van be any good? We had the chance to take one for a quick spin recently in San Diego and here are our impressions.
Nissan has decided to expand on its NV commercial van model lineup by adding the NV3500 HD, which will be offered for both personal and fleet use, boasting four-row seating for 12 passengers. The NV3500 HD will have two engine choices, a 4.0L V6 DOHC with 261-hp and 281 lb-ft of torque or a more powerful V8 with 317-hp and 385 lb-ft of torque.
Both engine setups are matched to a five-speed automatic transmission and feature Nissan’s C-VTC technology for improved efficiency. In addition to its seating flexibility, the NV3500 HD has 324 possible seat configurations, mobile office support, available personal lamps for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rows, navigation, Bluetooth and XM Satellite Radio.
The NV3500 HD will be available in three different models, the NV3500 HD S, NV3500 HD SV and NV3500 HD SL (V8 only), which will only be available with a V8. Several option packages will also be available including a Power Basic Package (S models only), a Tow Package (V8 only) and a Technology Package with rear camera (SV and SL only).
Nissan has yet to announce pricing on the new NV3500 HD.
GALLERY: 2012 Nissan NV3500 HD
Two weeks ago, a recall was launched for approximately 20,000 Nissan Altima sedans for a front suspension bolt that may not have been properly tightened during production of the vehicle. Today, another recall was launched regarding an incorrectly assembled air bag control unit in both the 2012 Altima and the 2012 NV work van. The affected vehicles were built during a two week period this year and the recall involves 54 units.
The faulty airbag control unit installations were installed in the Altima between June 15 and 21, 2011, and June 23-28 for the NV. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the unit “will not operate as designed and this issue may cause the air bags not to inflate in a crash … This could increase the risk of injury.”
According to NHTSA, the Japanese automaker will replace the air bag control units free of charge starting on or around August 22.