A Nissan Cargo Van Makes for an Unlikely Off-Road Ride

An unexpected and underrated choice

Nissan NV Cargo Van
Nissan's NV Cargo Van.

If you have a penchant for off-roading and are looking for a sizable vehicle to do so in, you’re probably in the market for something with all-wheel drive. And if the list of obvious options is looking a little slim (or overpriced) to you, there’s another place you might think to look that could expand that roster somewhat: namely, cargo vans.

While they might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about venturing into the wild, certain cargo van models tick off a significant number of boxes for the prospective off-roader or overlander. All-wheel drive? That’s certainly an option for some cargo vans. Customizable interior? That’s something of a necessity with the style. Solid construction? It wouldn’t be much of a cargo van without one.

A new article by José Rodríguez Jr. at Jalopnik makes the case for why Nissan’s NV Cargo Van is more suited to driving off the beaten path than you might expect. For those keeping track at home, yes, this is indeed the same cargo van that Nissan no longer produces. What makes the NV a good fit for a very different purpose? As Rodríguez writes, “its big problem — that it’s comically big — could actually make it a good platform for an overland build.”

Rodríguez points out that Nissan itself explored the idea of modifying the NV Cargo Van for off-roading. Maybe it is indeed time to revisit this as a concept — as the article points out, they’re a bit more affordable than some of their counterparts, which could leave you with more cash on hand to customize it to your heart’s content.

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