[caption id="attachment_136" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Think of the exterior graphic possibilities for band logos."][/caption]
Nissan has skillfully positioned its all-new NV commercial van to attract plumbers, painters, carpenters, electricians and other tradespeople in the market for new wheels, the enclosed type with plenty of room for secure storage.
Sadly, the auto maker’s marketing plan has neglected a demographic that could put such a vehicle to equally good use: rock bands.
Before a rock band scores a recording contract, a road crew and groupies, there are tortured sojourns to county fairs, church festivals, backwoods bars and grubby roadhouses.
[caption id="attachment_138" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Rear doors make loading and unloading easy."][/caption]
Everything a band needs for a gig can fit in the back of the standard-height ’12 NV 3500: drums, guitars, amps, even a full PA system with high-powered speaker cabinets and a half-dozen monitors. For even more space, an extended-height NV also is available.
[caption id="attachment_135" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Can't stand up in standard-height vehicle, but still easy to move around."][/caption]
I play in a band of auto writers and PR types, known as the Exhaust Tones, and we were invited to play the AutoWeek Fantasy Camp last weekend in Dearborn, MI.
The truck performed impeccably, swallowing every bit of gear we threw at it. The 317-hp 5.6L V-8 and 5-speed automatic transmission breezed along as if the truck were empty.
[caption id="attachment_137" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Exhaust Tones gear easily swallowed up."][/caption]
Handling a vehicle this size takes some courage, but it’s similar to driving a crew-cab fullsize pickup, like the Nissan Titan, with which the NV shares some architectural underpinnings. The turning radius is tighter than expected.
[caption id="attachment_139" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Interior functional and clean but not down-market."][/caption]
Our test model stickers at $32,855, which includes side and curtain airbags, tow package, navigation, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity and – most important in a truck this size – a rear-vision camera.
So how is an upstart band supposed to come up with enough cash-ola for the Bentley of rock rollers?
Fair point, but the starting price is $24,590, undercutting other long-established competitive vehicles. A summer of intensive gigging could pay it off.
[caption id="attachment_143" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Thick padding below heavy-duty rubber floor."][/caption]
Americans might think Nissan is a newbie in the commercial-vehicle segment, but the auto maker has been selling them in Japan for 75 years.
Sure, the economy hasn’t improved to the point that tradespeople can afford to replace their work trucks.
[caption id="attachment_142" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Generous dose of chrome says NV means business."][/caption]
But when it’s time to buy, the NV should be on everyone’s shopping lists, especially rock bands.
Think of the potential for exterior graphics on an enclosed truck this size. Even Mick Jagger’s lips would fit. Rock ’n’ roll might never be the same.
(Photos by Alex Murphy)
[caption id="attachment_141" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Backup camera crucial in truck this size."][/caption]