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The new ultimate?

February 9, 2012
2013 Nissan NV200

Nissan NV200—the new Ultimate Scooter Hauler? (Nissan USA photos)

Among the many exotic automotive offerings revealed to the assembled media at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show was Nissan’s new compact cargo van. Exotic, no. Lustworthy? Well, yeah.

It was at Chicago in 2008 that Ford introduced the Transit Connect, which Scootin’ Old Skool regularly and often reminds its dear readers is, IMO, the Ultimate Scooter Hauler™.

Where I live, lots of tradespeople, small business owners and other folks with stuff to haul find the TC quite useful, at least based on how many you’ll see running around. In Europe, small vans like this are more numerous than pickup trucks in the U.S.

NV200 rear view

Notice how low the cargo bay floor is. Vans of this type have front-wheel drive, which means lotsa room for scooters and other gear. The NV200 even has a CVT, just like a modern scooter. The uplevel SV trim includes built-in cargo hooks in the floor.

The NV200 will go on sale in early 2013, about the same time Chrysler plans to introduce a similar Ram-branded van. Mercedes-Benz may even jump in. The Transit Connect will need to watch its back. Favicon

  1. Alex Sargeant permalink
    February 9, 2012 2:01 pm

    The Nissan doesn’t offer the optional back seat (total seating for five) you can get in the TC. My two favorite scooter haulers have always been the Honda Element and the Mini Pickup.

  2. February 9, 2012 2:22 pm

    Alex, that’s probably because 1) the NV200 will be sold by Nissan’s commercial vehicle division (aside from New York City taxi operators, their customers most likely aren’t interested in carrying passengers), and 2) it will be built in Mexico, so it won’t be subject to the “chicken tax” that is levied on imported commercial vehicles. Like the Transit Connect, which is built in Kocaeli, Turkey.

    Because of said tax, all Transit Connects to be sold in the U.S. are built as wagons. Upon arrival at the port of Baltimore and clearing through Customs, most of them get converted into cargo vans by having the extra seats removed, and the windowed doors replaced/windows blanked out. I should think this arrangement won’t go on too much longer, as the TC seems to be rather popular; it makes sense if there’s reason to believe the market might not go for it…

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