There are pros and cons to the traditional cab-over van design. The main advantage of these is maximizing space in a smaller footprint. The downside is a somewhat compromised crumple zone. Lately, more vans are spouting hoods in the interest of safety. Just take a look at the redesigned Hiace.
That said, some manufacturers are still sticking to the flat-nose look. Case in point, Nissan with the NV350. But is it time for Nissan to move forward from that design and add a hood? If so, what can they replace the NV350 within the current range? Enter the NV300.
Granted, it's not an all-new design, but it recently received a hefty facelift. By the looks of things, it appears to be a viable alternative to the NV350. With an extended front end, it can also be a good match for the current Hiace. So, how does it stack up? Let's take a look at the stats.
Like the Hiace, the NV300 has two configurations, namely a standard roof and a high-roof version. There are also two wheelbase options for the NV300, extending its length up to 5,399 mm. That makes it longer than the Hiace Commuter and Super Grandia (5,265 mm), but a lot shorter than the GL Grandia Tourer (5,915 mm).
Most NV300 vans have three-row seating arrangements with a maximum capacity of nine passengers. It falls short of the NV350's count of 15 to 18 passengers, but that's only because Nissan Europe opted not to put in an extra row of seats in the NV300. A fourth row could add another three passengers on board to boost capacity to 12 occupants. Given its length, it might be possible.
All NV300 vans use a 2.0-liter turbodiesel sourced from Renault with power ranging from 121 PS to 170 PS. But these are vans we're talking about, and torque is more important for hauling people and cargo. The NV300's torque figure ranges from 320 Nm to 380 Nm. Transmission options include a six-speed manual or a six-speed automated manual (AMT).
While it isn't as powerful as the Hiace, it packs more punch than the current NV350. As it stands, the van sold here uses a 2.5-liter turbodiesel mill with 129 PS and 356 Nm of torque. It also doesn't benefit from a six-speed manual or six-speed manumatic with five forward gears for both manual and automatic versions.
So, should Nissan retire the NV350 and replace it with the NV300? The Urvan may seem like a relic compared to the new NV300, but there will always be a place for heavy-duty, ladder-frame vans in the country. That said, perhaps Nissan can consider adding a hood to the next-gen NV350 vans.