June 15, 2012
NV350 Chief’s Lowdown on Nissan’s Newest Van
June 15 – Atsugi – Norihiko Yagi, chief product specialist in charge of the NV350 Caravan explains the role of vehicle among Nissan’s award-winning line-up of light-commercial vehicles.
Q1. Where does the NV350 Caravan fit in Nissan’s LCV line-up?
Chief Product Specialist Norihiko Yagi:
In Japan, there are three vehicles in the LCV lineup with the two smaller models below the NV350 Caravan. They are the NV200 Vanette and the NV100 Clipper. NV stands for “Nissan Van” and the three-digit number indicates the model’s class based on gross-vehicle weight.
The NV100 is in the one metric-ton class with a maximum payload* of 350kg, the NV200 is in the two-ton class with a max payload of 600kg, and the NV350 is in the 3.5-ton class with a 1.25 ton payload limit.
In Europe, we launched NV400 last fall. This car is model supplied by our Alliance partner Renault, but we changed the front face to be a Nissan-original design. This car’s gross-vehicle weight is four tons and along with Primastar, which is one class smaller than the NV400, and the NV200, these three models cover the European market. In the U.S. we have three models, which are the NV1500, the NV2500 and the NV3500.
Q2. What’s the philosophy behind the NV350 Caravan?
Among all the possible uses for the NV350, work-use is the most important because this car is commercial vehicle. But at the same time, and without compromising the basic functions required for commercial use, we developed it to function for leisure and family usages as well, so it’s what we call a “triple use” vehicle.
Q3. What features make the NV350 stand out from rivals?
There are four main selling points for the new NV350 Caravan.
First, it gets good mileage. This is important for passenger vehicles, but as this car is used for business use, it’s the most important point because it contributes to cost-saving.
The second is design. We think that individual business are proud of their own business and even though their car is used for commercial use, they see the car as an important tool to express their pride in their business.
Third is luggage space. We tried not only to secure enough space but also to make it easier to use, such as making it easier to alter the way the seats are arranged.
One of the improvements compared to the previous model is the length of the luggage space. The new model’s cargo area is 200mm longer at 3,050mm. This is better than the competitor model and enables customers to load longer items. Our engineers managed this by working very hard to find many small improvements.
One new feature is the addition of “luggage-utility nuts.” Under several caps, we’ve added M6-size nuts, which can be used for installing shelves or to store tools and products more efficiently. This is very useful.
Another feature is that we’ve a 50-50 folding function to the second row of seats, which can be folded easily with one hand. Thanks to this function, even when the vehicle is mostly loaded, the driver and two passengers can travel in comfort. This function is also useful for those who use this vehicle for leisure.
The fourth point is the use of advanced equipment, which conventional LCVs don’t have. We adopted lots of advanced equipment to this car.
In the front of the vehicle, one new feature is the “fine-vision meter.” This meter is highly visible with blue and white color accents and placed between the speedometer and tachometer. It gives users information on the vehicle’s condition, such as current or average fuel economy and, because of a rear-mounted camera, the ability to the driver to check behind the car safely without buying an expensive additional system. Our Intelligent key system and push-button engine start are other examples of advanced equipment in the NV350.
One of the optional features on the NV350’s exterior is xenon headlamps that can provide very high visibility. Customers may be in the transport or delivery business, may drive overnight or go home late at night after working hard all day. So, we added this as an option because we thought it necessary for an LCV.
*Payload weights refer to Japan specification models