Nuts and bolts: The 2012 Nissan NV 2500 HD

Bottom line: Ford and GM now have serious competition in a market they have long owned — commercial vans. Here’s suggesting that Ford and GM engineers follow Nissan’s lead and actually talk to workers who use those vans every day.

Ride, acceleration and handling: The NV 2500 HD (Heavy Duty) is a rear-wheel-drive work truck with a combination leaf-spring and solid-axle rear suspension. You feel the bumps. Acceleration with the standard 4-liter V-6 engine was excellent when the cargo bay was empty. Loading the cargo area with nearly two tons of bagged topsoil noticeably affected highway acceleration and handling.

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Head-turning quotient: Eyes pop when the rear doors are opened 243 degrees.

Body style/layout: The NV 2500 HD is a front-engine, full-size, body-on-frame, fully boxed, ladder-type, rear-wheel-drive cargo van.

Engines/transmission: The van comes with a standard 4-liter, 24-valve V-6 (261 horsepower, 281 foot-pounds of torque). A 5.6-liter, 32-valve V-8 engine (317 horsepower, 385 foot-pounds of torque) is available. Both engines take a standard five-speed automatic transmission.

Capacities: There are seats for two people. Step-in height (regular roof) is 18.7 inches front door, 20.2 inches right-side door and 20.9 inches rear doors. Cargo volume is 299.7 cubic feet with the standard roof. It increases to 420.5 cubic feet with the optional high roof. The V-6 NV 2500 HD can be equipped to tow a trailer weighing 7,000 pounds. The V-8 version can be outfitted to pull 9,500 pounds. Fuel capacity for both is 28 gallons. Regular gasoline is recommended.

Safety: Standard equipment includes vented disc brakes front and rear, anti-lock brake protection, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, and side air bags. Side curtain air bags (roof area) are available as a $390 option.

Price: The 2012 Nissan 2500 HD starts at $25,950 with an estimated dealer’s invoice listing of $23,950. The standard transportation charge is $980. Estimated price as tested is $26,930. Estimated dealer’s invoice price is $25,000. Commercial vans make up a highly customized (read: multiple options) segment of the retail vehicle industry. Myriad options are available here.

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