Little vans are suddenly a big deal, as automakers trample all over each other to fill their showrooms with compact cargo and passenger models that are far more efficient than traditional box-on-frame designs. The 2013 Nissan NV200 is one of the most recent additions to compact cargo van party (joining examples like the Ford Transit Connect and the Ram C/V), and in fact will be lending its platform to General Motors so that Chevrolet can get in on the action with a small Chevy hauler of its own (the Chevrolet City Express) next fall.
Commercial vans like the 2013 Nissan NV200 cargo edition that I had the chance to sample for a week can't be evaluated using the same criteria one would apply to a passenger car. After all, this type of vehicle is a function-first model aimed at buyers who plan on it earning its keep day in, day out. Despite its utilitarian aim, however, the Nissan NV200 holds up remarkably well in daily driving and has the potential to shift the balance of power in the urban van market away from the ageing dinosaurs that have dominated it for far too many years.