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Nissan Goes Big Into the Full-Size Van Market

Japanese manufacturer unveils the NV3500 HD passenger van

By Joshua Condon Nov 8, 2011 3:11PM
The Nissan NV3500 HD Passenger Van. (Image courtesy of Nissan.)Nissan's NV200 small van won some early acclaim when it was picked as New York City's taxi of the near future. Now, Nissan has announced it will be getting into the large-van marketplace -- the well-trod turf of the Big Three, at least in the U.S. -- with a van called the NV3500 HD (heavy duty) passenger van.

Nissan is offering serious interior flexibility in the full-size van category: a 12-passenger cabin with four rows of seating that can be arranged in 324 different configurations. Two engine options are available: a 4.0-liter dual-overhead 24-valve V6 with 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque; and a DOHC 32-valve V8 with 317 horses and 385 lb-ft of torque. Both engines offer variable valve timing and are mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

Another shot of the SUV-like van, plus Nissan's full press release, after the jump.

The Nissan NV3500 HD Passenger Van. (Image courtesy of Nissan.)
11.08.2011 , FRANKLIN, Tenn.
Nissan Announces New NV Passenger Van with Enhanced Usability, Safety and Comfort; Set to Debut in Spring 2012

– NV3500 HD Joins Innovative Nissan NV Commercial Vans in Providing Dependability, Durability and Style, Along With a Low Cost of Ownership –

Just one year after its entry into the commercial vehicle business in North America with the segment-changing Nissan NV commercial van series, Nissan is expanding the lineup with the debut in spring 2012 of a new NV3500 HD Passenger Van. Offered for both personal and fleet use, the 4-row/12-passenger Nissan NV3500 HD features the most flexible seating configurations in the full-size passenger van segment, along with one of the highest standard horsepower and torque ratings.

"Just as we did prior to shaking up the commercial van category with the highly innovative Nissan NV, we first did our homework in the full-size van segment by studying the real-world needs, wants and desires of both families and fleet operators," said Joe Castelli, vice president, Commercial Vehicles and Fleet, Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA). "As a result, we're delivering a vehicle that offers everything owners are looking for – enhanced usability, driver and passenger comfort, flexible storage, dependability, durability and an affordable cost of ownership. Then we've topped it all off with signature Nissan style, performance and value."

The 2012 Nissan NV3500 HD Passenger Van will be offered in a choice of two engines, a 261-horsepower DOHC 24-valve 4.0-liter V6 with 281 lb-ft of torque or a 317-horsepower DOHC 32-valve V8 with 385 lb-ft of torque. Both engines include Nissan's Continuous Valve Timing Control (C-VTC) for improved efficiency and are matched with a refined, heavy-duty 5-speed automatic transmission. The Nissan NV3500 HD Passenger Van is built on a foundation of a rugged fully boxed ladder frame with independent front strut/solid rear axle with rigid leaf springs suspension, heavy-duty disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and engine-speed-sensitive power steering. Also standard is a 28-gallon fuel tank.

In addition, the Nissan NV3500 features SUV-like maneuverability and easy access for serviceability due to its pickup truck-like front engine/full hood design.

"First and foremost, as we've learned through more than 75 years of Nissan global commercial vehicle experience, you have to start with a durable, dependable workhorse platform and highest quality components," explained Castelli. "These vehicles go through more use and abuse in a year than regular passenger vehicles experience in a lifetime, so that was a priority. Then we turned our team of innovators loose on the usability and comfort aspects."

As a result, the Nissan NV3500 HD Passenger Van more than delivers on every key area of customer input, including:
- Safety – integrated seat belts for all rear seating positions; standard headrests for all seating positions; and segment-exclusive standard side curtain air bags for all four rows of passengers
- Seating flexibility – 12-person seating capacity with up to 324 possible seat configurations; large 1st row seats to optimize comfort, completely removable and repositionable 2nd and 3rd row seats; 50/50-split 4th row seat than can be partially or completely removed as needed
- Mobile office support – large center console with storage for laptop computer and charger, business cards, hanging files, pens and paper; available 120V outlets; seat wear patch; fold-down front passenger seat with underseat storage; no engine intrusion into the cabin area
- Enhanced utility – low step-in height, easy ingress and egress without intrusive seat belts (integrated into rear seats); wide door openings; rear 50/50-split French doors with 243? rear opening
- Comfort and convenience – rear HVAC system, available personal lamps for 2nd, 3rd and 4th rows; rear cargo lamp behind 4th row; available 3rd row 12V outlet; numerous cupholders and bottle holders
- Technology – available navigation system, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, telematics pre-wiring, XM® Satellite Radio (XM® subscription required, sold separately); and integrated rear view camera
- Modern style – Nissan truck twin strut signature grille; pickup truck style front end design; large windows with privacy glass; styled-steel 17-inch wheels

"The Nissan NV3500 HD's styling is professional and rugged outside, and completely passenger-focused inside," said Castelli. "While you want to feel assured that there is room for all your luggage, for example, you don't want to be treated like a piece of cargo inside. We've found a great balance between functionality and comfort that we believe sets the new benchmark in class."

Three Well-Equipped Models
Designed to be affordable and to stand up to the abuse that full-size passenger vans face everyday, the new Nissan NV3500 HD is available in a range of models and option packages to fit a range of owner needs and uses.

The 2012 Nissan NV3500 HD is offered in three well-equipped models, the NV3500 HD S, the NV3500 HD SV, and NV3500 HD SL (V8 engine only).

A number of option packages are offered, including a Power Basic Package (S models only), with power windows and door locks; a Tow Package (V8 only), with extendable heated outside mirrors and Class-IV receiver hitch, wiring and heavy duty battery; the Power Basic Package + Tow Package (S-grade V8 only); and the Technology Package with Rear Camera (SV and SL only), featuring XM® Satellite Radio (XM® subscription required, sold separately), 5-inch touch-screen SD navigation system, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System (standard on SL-grade) and RearView Monitor.

The new Nissan NV3500 HD will be manufactured in Canton, Mississippi and available through a select network of certified Nissan Commercial Vehicle dealers nationwide. For updates and more information, please go to
Nov 9, 2011 2:31PM
Nissan van looks too much like a big Ford Flex and not like a van at all. It's Ugh-ly!
Nov 9, 2011 6:28AM
Where's the diesel?  Oh I get it.  Put in a 28 gallon fuel tank so that even with abysmal fuel economy, they can brag that it can travel over 400 miles between fill-ups.  Some manufacturers are already doing just that.
Nov 9, 2011 11:58AM
324 Possible seating configurations?  I'm sorry, but the minimum number of seating configurations for a van if I am to consider it is 325...
Nov 10, 2011 8:35AM
Not that the Sprinter was ever much competition.  That one definitely fell short of Mercedes Benz's expectations.
That's because they're too expensive.  It's hard to find one for less than $35K yet you can pickup a new Ford E150 for under $20K.  Only high-mileage fleet buyers can justify the added expense of a Sprinter because they'll eventually get their money back in fuel savings.  Plus, I've heard that the Sprinter isn't all that reliable.

Nov 9, 2011 10:55AM
It's going to be interesting to see how Ford and GM respond to the new competition in the market.  Between the Nissan, the Sprinter, and soon the new Dodge Ram vans, those old Ford and GM designs are looking long in the tooth.
Nov 9, 2011 2:56PM
Need to see better and more use of diesels. Can't afford to fill up a big Ford p'up anymore. Ram won't give you a standard cab short box diesel,big cab only,phooey! The Sprinter first had a short wheelbase van then discontinued. El Stupido! That short Sprinter and diesel was a gas!(pun intended). Ford usually having swell interiors went el cheapo on the Transit with really Ugh-ly seating. Gak! Sprinter's seats look like they're from Woolworth's! Cheep-cheep! GM dumps all but the big Ugh-ly vans. Big mistake. I loved my Montana and you still see a lot of Astros with those cool dutch rear doors. But...Obama took over GM and the vans remain looking like Michelle. I like the Nippon Cube,it's cool funk but the Juke shoulda been called "Puke". Ever notice all autos come with a huge variety of interior colors as long as it's grey? Or black? The perfect color interior when Vega**** 116 in the middle of July. Black exterior/interior and black windows,perfect for Boot Hill when you croak,you have your own hearse.
Nov 9, 2011 2:25PM
It's going to be interesting to see how Ford and GM respond to the new competition in the market.

The rumor mill says that the Econoline will soon be replaced with the European Ford Transit as part of Ford's "We are sick and tired of making the same vehicle 15 different ways for different markets" program.

Between the Nissan, the Sprinter, and soon the new Dodge Ram vans

(Bold is mine)  Not that the Sprinter was ever much competition.  That one definitely fell short of Mercedes Benz's expectations.

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