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Behind the Wheel of a Nissan, Chevrolet Re-enters the Small Cargo Van Market

5/16/2013
Although Chevrolet continues to offer its Express series of body-on-frame full-size cargo vans (Ford has shifted from its E-Series to the more spacious and efficient Transit, while Ram has recently introduced its Fiat-sourced 2014 ProMaster), GM's volume brand hasn't offered a smaller option since the last 2011 HHR Panel Van rolled off the assembly line. That changes in late 2014, when the 2015 Chevrolet City Express goes on sale.

The new van is the product of a partnership between General Motors and Nissan, the latter providing its NV200 small cargo van, which will be rebadged and sold as a Chevrolet. According to Ed Peper, U.S. vice president of GM fleet and commercial sales, the impetus for this unique relationship came directly from consumers. "Our fleet customers have asked us for an entry in the commercial van segment, so this addition to the portfolio will strengthen our position with fleets and our commercial customers."

Details have not been released, but expect the City Express to arrive with minor exterior differences and some variation in trims and features.

Information on the 2013 Nissan NV200 is much easier to come by. Built to compete with models such as the Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van and Ram C/V Tradesman, the front-wheel-drive, 2-passenger NV200 features a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that generates 131 horsepower and 139 lb.-ft. of torque. A continuously variable transmission is standard, and contributes to EPA-estimated fuel economy measuring 24/25/24 mpg (city/highway/combined). Inside, the 2013 NV200 provides 122.7 cu. ft. of cargo space, 6 air bags, and options such as Bluetooth connectivity, rear doors with glass windows, and a rearview camera.

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