June 23, 2012

Nissan 7-seat people carriers

When in 1588 the Spanish Armada set sail with the intent to invade England, the fleet consisted of 151 ships carrying 8000 sailors and 18,000 soldiers, plus 2500 guns. They were entirely wind powered, so until the guns were fired, their emissions (CO2 and soot) were zero.

The Invincible Armada

The Nissan Armada, a bit smaller than a Spanish galleon but still enormous, carries 7 people (and hopefully no guns). This boat uses its 5.6L V8 engine to navigate American roads at the rate of 13 mpg in the city, and 19 mpg on the highway. Until my recent visit to Nissan's USA website I thought that such engines had gone the way of the Spanish galleons that met their watery end on the coast of Cornwall.

Compared to that, Nissan's Pathfinder is a mere sloop of war, sharing the same platform with the Armada but with a body that is 15" shorter. Still, it has a 4.0L V6 engine that gets just 15/22 mpg (cty/hwy).

For moving up to seven people, America's Nissan option with the highest fuel economy is the Quest, a family minivan whose 3.5L V6 engine does 19/24 mpg (cty/hwy).

If you are looking for a Nissan people carrier that does better than the anemic 24mpg, you have to look overseas. Nissan's Japanese website shows seven entries in the Minivan/Wagon category, as well as four boxy MPVs. I found this website much harder to navigate than other Japanese carmakers', so I went instead to Nissan's UK website for the gas-sipping alternatives.

There is, of course, no sign of the Armada. After all, the English have successfully repelled the Armada from their shores more than 400 years ago, and there should be no reason why they can't do so now.

They don't have the Quest, either. In fact, nothing with more than four cylinders. Nissan's largest consumer option in the UK is the Pathfinder, but with a European twist: it comes with a 2.5L diesel engine (28mpg quoted average). Even its most basic trim is a lot more expensive than the other UK options.

One of those alternatives is the NV200 Combi. Shorter than the Quest by more than two feet, this is a versatile minivan: you can fold down the five seats in the back to get a cavernous cargo space. The NV200 runs on a 1.5L diesel engine with a quoted fuel economy of 45 mpg. That, and its modest price tag, is something a family can live with.

Photo by M 93
via Wikimedia Commons

Then there is the Qashqai+2, the slightly enlongated version of the Qashqai crossover, also with space for seven. This one has a regular gasoline engine whose 35mpg is still reasonably high. Besides more power under the hood, it also features more creature comforts than the NV200 Combi.

So here is proof that there are cars that accommodate up to seven passengers, and still do better than 30mpg.


Nissan seven-seat vehicles, USA and UK, sorted by length

  Qashqai+2 crossover
Acenta 2WD
1.6L 4-cyl 115HP man
L=(178.8in) 4541mm
£ 19,695
154gCO2/km (35mpg)
Pathfinder SUV
SE 2x4
4.0L V6 266HP auto
L=192.3in (4884mm)
$ 29,290
15/22 mpg (cty/hwy)
Acenta 4x4 (diesel)
2.5L dCi 188HP man
L=(189.5in) 4813mm
£ 32,445
224 gCO2/km (28mpg)
Quest minivan
3.5L V6 260HP auto
L=200.8in (5100mm)
$ 25,990
19/24 mpg (cty/hwy)
NV200 Combi
S (diesel)
1.5L dCi 89HP man
L=(173.2in) 4400mm
£ 17,293
138gCO2/km (45mpg)

Armada SV 2WD SUV
5.6L V8 317HP auto
L=207.7in (5276mm)
$ 39,870
13/19 mpg (cty/hwy)



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