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Old 09-09-2020, 11:55 AM   #1
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2020 27' International
Catonsville , MD
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Looking for Nissan NV3500 TV driver feedback

We are 4 months out from picking up our 2021 International 27ft. I currently drive a 2016 Tundra and realize its limitations on payload. Looking to hear from some of you that utilize the NV3500 passenger van as a TV in terms of pros and cons.

Cheers
J
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Old 09-09-2020, 12:48 PM   #2
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I had a gas Titan with the same power plant. Absolutely bullet-proof. But, 9-11 MPG on average over 80,000 some odd miles of towing.
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Old 09-09-2020, 01:40 PM   #3
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We got a 2019 NV3500 SL and love it.

We just got back from a 1600-mile trip up to Bozeman and back while pulling a 27' GT; it performed flawlessly and provided a comfortable ride for both us and our dogs. According to our Scan Gauge, neither the engine nor the transmission got hot enough to be of any concern. Neither got above 190 during the trip, even though the outside air temperature was in the mid to high 90s. Overall mileage was just over 12 mpg.

You could get the cargo van for a slightly higher payload and axle rating, but one of our main concerns was keeping our dogs comfortable. The SL comes with separate air conditioning and heat controls/vents for the rear ("cargo") area.

Once we took out all of the removable seats, we picked up about 600 - 700 lbs of payload. Additionally, we picked up quite a few anchor points where the seats latch that we can use for securing cargo.

Plenty of cargo room, and the rear doors open to 190 degrees, which makes loading even bulky items easier.

Our SL also came with the tow package built in, which means extendable mirrors, enhanced oil/transmission cooling, a hitch receiver, wiring harness to the hitch, and a "Tow" button that changes the transmission's shift point behavior. No brake controller, but that was OK with me - installation was inexpensive and simple. I think all of these are option$ on the other vans.

The V8 had no problem keeping us at freeway speeds up and back; we haven't tried it on any significant mountain passes yet, though. However, from what I've seen, it would probably do fine in the mountains as well.

Seats, ventilation, visibility, and sound were all very good, in our opinion.

There are also fittings on the roof that are intended for attaching things like ladder racks, etc. I'm thinking if we ever want to go full solar, I could put crossbraces on the van top to mount solar panels and just run the power cable back to the trailer or any other application where solar might come in handy.

As for possible cons -
- No diesel option available.
- No 4WD/AWD option available.
- Heard that Nissan was going to stop production.
- Several reviews I read complained that the controls are "old fashion" since they use knobs. Having grown up with knobs, manually cranked windows, and a T-handle parking brake that you had to pull up to engage, this seems like a pretty trivial problem. I understand and trust "knobs". Other controls seem like something that can break and can't be MacGyvered.

As for things I would change if I could, it comes down to
(1) I would like to have a key lock on the outside of the passenger door.
(2) I wish the side mirrors would extend about 1" more than they do. They just barely show the edges of the trailer.
(3) The front collision sensors are situated so that you can't put on a bull nose or brush guard and still have the proximity alert. I'd really like to have more protection up front, but also like having the van tell me when I'm getting too close to something.

All of the above would probably qualify as "First World Problems".

Things you might want to add if you buy one like ours:
1. Brake controller!
2. Side steps (running boards) - they make it a lot easier to climb in and out. This is a fairly tall vehicle.
3. A rubber mat for the cargo area - provides a flat surface, some sound insulation, and helps cushion the cargo area a little.

We were considering the Express/Savannah, but found the NV more comfortable and less expensive than a similarly equipped GM product.

We have rented a Transit and really liked it. The Transits also open up diesel/AWD options, but at a cost. Also, it is more van-like, with a short nose. My wife feels a lot better having the engine out front for a more truck-like view.

In summary, we really like this van and would buy it again if we had to replace this one. If we were looking for an alternative, it would probably be a Transit.
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Old 09-09-2020, 05:52 PM   #4
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2020 27' International
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Same boat have two full sized Labs and anywhere from 3-4 passengers. Our thought was kayaks on top and bikes in the rear. You have given me hope there is something besides a 250/2500 truck to tow a 27ft trailer with!!!!
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Old 09-09-2020, 05:54 PM   #5
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2020 27' International
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I already have terrible mpg with the Tundra. The cost of the NV3500 is insanely lower when compared to the 250/2500 rigs.
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Old 09-10-2020, 09:35 AM   #6
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Great discussion on a TV that few people have purchased. I have met two owners, one at Top of Georgia AS park and one at last yearís international Rally in Doswell, VA. Both love their NV passenger van.

I would like to add a little clarity to two comments on this thread:
1. Nissan NV 3500 SLís are a lot cheaper than Super Duty trucks. I just checked Car Guru app with a nationwide search for a 3500 SL and found only a few available. 2019 & 2020 are between $40K & $45K. My F250 Lariat, snickered at $52K and sell price was $46K with a lifetime Wty on the driveline.

2. MPG when towing - 9 - 11 MPG with a gas TV is not outrageously low! Most ASíers that I meet with gas TVís are experiencing similar MPG regardless of brand.

We test drove this van and it was sure appealing for taking our grandkids with us on trips, but with such limited availability, we were hesitant to purchase. Kinda like the Titan XD diesel that was also attractive, but limited interest with other campers and limited availability. As you know, production has stopped for this diesel option.

Enjoy the search for a TV, hookup the AS, donít complain about any Quality problems, and then join an AS club, attend some Rallys and Caravans and meet Godís gift to the Western World = Airstreamers!
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Old 09-10-2020, 09:40 AM   #7
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2020 30' Flying Cloud
Miami , Florida
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I tow a 30FB bunk with a 2018 NV3500SL and I love it! I replaced my aging 2004 Suburban 2500 and do not regret it at all. The NV is a 1 ton van and uses the same chassis as a Titan XD. I removed the back row of seats for extra cargo and can still seat 8 but I usually travel with 6 passengers. As you stated, the price is right (I got mine for about $38k) and it has about 2400 lbs. of payload capacity! The transmission shifts intuitively on downhill runs and it handles everything with ease. Loaded for a long trip, Iím near the max CGVWR of 16,000 lbs. and it doesnít feel overwhelmed at all. I think those numbers are very conservative...
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Old 09-10-2020, 10:00 AM   #8
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Get a diesel any make!
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Old 09-10-2020, 11:38 AM   #9
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No NO towing with a Ford Transit van

Quote:
Originally Posted by djb75 View Post
We got a 2019 NV3500 SL and love it.

We just got back from a 1600-mile trip up to Bozeman and back while pulling a 27' GT; it performed flawlessly and provided a comfortable ride for both us and our dogs. According to our Scan Gauge, neither the engine nor the transmission got hot enough to be of any concern. Neither got above 190 during the trip, even though the outside air temperature was in the mid to high 90s. Overall mileage was just over 12 mpg.

You could get the cargo van for a slightly higher payload and axle rating, but one of our main concerns was keeping our dogs comfortable. The SL comes with separate air conditioning and heat controls/vents for the rear ("cargo") area.

Once we took out all of the removable seats, we picked up about 600 - 700 lbs of payload. Additionally, we picked up quite a few anchor points where the seats latch that we can use for securing cargo.

Plenty of cargo room, and the rear doors open to 190 degrees, which makes loading even bulky items easier.

Our SL also came with the tow package built in, which means extendable mirrors, enhanced oil/transmission cooling, a hitch receiver, wiring harness to the hitch, and a "Tow" button that changes the transmission's shift point behavior. No brake controller, but that was OK with me - installation was inexpensive and simple. I think all of these are option$ on the other vans.

The V8 had no problem keeping us at freeway speeds up and back; we haven't tried it on any significant mountain passes yet, though. However, from what I've seen, it would probably do fine in the mountains as well.

Seats, ventilation, visibility, and sound were all very good, in our opinion.

There are also fittings on the roof that are intended for attaching things like ladder racks, etc. I'm thinking if we ever want to go full solar, I could put crossbraces on the van top to mount solar panels and just run the power cable back to the trailer or any other application where solar might come in handy.

As for possible cons -
- No diesel option available.
- No 4WD/AWD option available.
- Heard that Nissan was going to stop production.
- Several reviews I read complained that the controls are "old fashion" since they use knobs. Having grown up with knobs, manually cranked windows, and a T-handle parking brake that you had to pull up to engage, this seems like a pretty trivial problem. I understand and trust "knobs". Other controls seem like something that can break and can't be MacGyvered.

As for things I would change if I could, it comes down to
(1) I would like to have a key lock on the outside of the passenger door.
(2) I wish the side mirrors would extend about 1" more than they do. They just barely show the edges of the trailer.
(3) The front collision sensors are situated so that you can't put on a bull nose or brush guard and still have the proximity alert. I'd really like to have more protection up front, but also like having the van tell me when I'm getting too close to something.

All of the above would probably qualify as "First World Problems".

Things you might want to add if you buy one like ours:
1. Brake controller!
2. Side steps (running boards) - they make it a lot easier to climb in and out. This is a fairly tall vehicle.
3. A rubber mat for the cargo area - provides a flat surface, some sound insulation, and helps cushion the cargo area a little.

We were considering the Express/Savannah, but found the NV more comfortable and less expensive than a similarly equipped GM product.

We have rented a Transit and really liked it. The Transits also open up diesel/AWD options, but at a cost. Also, it is more van-like, with a short nose. My wife feels a lot better having the engine out front for a more truck-like view.

In summary, we really like this van and would buy it again if we had to replace this one. If we were looking for an alternative, it would probably be a Transit.
The Ford Transit Passenger Van (or Wagon as Ford like to call it) have terrible tow capability. The Transit T150 Passenger van is rated to tow only 5100 LBS. It gets less as you go up to the T250 and T350. Check out the 2020 Ford towing specs chart and read the sad news. The old Ford E Series vans could tow up to 10,000 LBS with the V10 gasser or the 6.0 oil burner. Those days are gone unless you find a nice used one. Ford also recommends not using a WD Hitch on a transit van. I researched these vans as we love towing with a van. We did get an E Series van to tow our 25' AS.

The Nissan NV3500SL is a fantastic tow van. If the Ford craps out I will get a 2017 or newer NV3500SL.
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Old 09-10-2020, 12:21 PM   #10
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Johns Island , SC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alohatugboat View Post
We are 4 months out from picking up our 2021 International 27ft. I currently drive a 2016 Tundra and realize its limitations on payload. Looking to hear from some of you that utilize the NV3500 passenger van as a TV in terms of pros and cons.

Cheers
J
Me too, I think I've settled on this as my TV but would love to hear from folks already driving it.
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Old 09-10-2020, 04:45 PM   #11
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2020 27' International
Catonsville , MD
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Appreciate the advise. Possibly be on the lookout for some Marylanders getting after it a NV3500.
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Old 09-10-2020, 04:47 PM   #12
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2020 27' International
Catonsville , MD
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They may be ugly but having a self-contained storage solution for a TV is money saved.
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Old 09-10-2020, 06:05 PM   #13
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Elbert , CO
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We dropped $39k plus change on ours, but that included lifetime oil changes. Comparing that price to others with towing packages, etc included makes it a no-brainer from a strictly price viewpoint.
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Old 09-11-2020, 03:40 AM   #14
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At the risk of throwing gasoline on a fire
... let's remember that while diesel.towing mileage is better than the mileage you get with a gasoline engine, diesel fuel costs more than gasoline. (Which is a total ripoff since diesel is less refined than gasoline. I am ancient enough to remember when American diesel engines were rare in passenger vehicles and usually only found in semi tractors and big farm machinery.)
I also remember reading a thread written by a very organized person with a true "bean counter" personality. He had kept detailed records over tens of thousands of miles and calculated the cost per mile to tow with both his diesel and gas vehicles. The math and careful record keeping were formidable... and in the end the costs were identical. They even included oil change cost. The higher mileage with diesel went down the drain between the fuel cost and the 9 quarts of oil needed to change it.

I know a diesel CAN last 10 to 15 years, but honestly, who does keep one that long? Lots of nice used trucks sitting out there for sale. Pain in butt owning 2 cars if you are unmarried. Guess I'm stuck with a guzzler. Probably need an electric trike for a run around town transport.
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Old 09-11-2020, 06:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
and the 9 quarts of oil needed to change it.
I think 12, or more, quarts is the norm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
I know a diesel CAN last 10 to 15 years, but honestly, who does keep one that long?.
Raises hand. 2006, 218,000 miles, bought it new. Waiting for a hopeful easing of the whole Covid thing to make anther Alaska run and fully expect to take this rig. It's no different than an old Airstream, keeping it up to standards is part of the pleasure. I rebuilt my transmission, cost me just a tad over $3K. I put new running gear on the Airstream, cost me just a tad over $3K. I enjoyed both projects.
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Old 09-11-2020, 06:03 PM   #16
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Moving past Diesel

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokeboater View Post
I think 12, or more, quarts is the norm.



Raises hand. 2006, 218,000 miles, bought it new. Waiting for a hopeful easing of the whole Covid thing to make anther Alaska run and fully expect to take this rig. It's no different than an old Airstream, keeping it up to standards is part of the pleasure. I rebuilt my transmission, cost me just a tad over $3K. I put new running gear on the Airstream, cost me just a tad over $3K. I enjoyed both projects.
Nothing wrong on with either diesel or gas it's the overall price tag that has dissuaded me from the larger 250/2500/HD truck along with paying for a truck topper.. Exploring the other options and getting feedback.
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Old 09-11-2020, 07:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alohatugboat View Post
has dissuaded me from the larger 250/2500/HD truck along with paying for a truck topper.. Exploring the other options and getting feedback.
I can't say as I blame you. I'm good as long as I can keep mine going and dependable but I'm keeping tack of what's suitable and available at what kind of price in case my situation changes and I need a new tow. I've enjoyed the Nissan threads quite a bit and either the van or a gas Titan XD would be on my short list. I like the Tundra but it's light on cargo. Possibly 2022 that may change. Price tags on the new 3/4 and one tons are hard for me to accept even though it wouldn't crimp my budget. The NV3500 looks like it covers a lot of necessary bases.
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Old 09-11-2020, 07:51 PM   #18
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I looked at pricing on the Suburban and on the expedition.
I may need to have my gag reflex re-calibrated.
The NV3500 Cargo or passenger version is attractive, but I just need to buckle down and put new running boards and a topper on my PAID FOR 2013 GMC diesel.
We have had torrential rain in Florida and that dial that says
"2WD 4WD low 4WD hi" has sure come in handy. Don't want to give that up even if I only need it 3 or 4 times a year.
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Old 09-11-2020, 09:09 PM   #19
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The Nissan dealer in south salt lake will make this a 4wd for $13500
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Old 09-11-2020, 09:21 PM   #20
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I wanted a NV 3500 and found one at the local dealer back in 2014 . It was the top of the line passenger version with everything.

At the time I was in the process of redoing our ‘69 Airstream 25’ it had no interior at the time and weighed around 3500#

So I asked the dealer if I could take it for a test drive with my Airstream , no problem they said . So I took it home stuck in a stinger and hooked up the Airstream plugged in the lights , no brakes and took off .
It pulled ,stopped and accelerated ok.

The dealer wouldn’t deal so I went over to Toyota and did the same with a Tundra, it was stronger on all accounts and they made a deal .

I added a cap and bed rug also air bags to the 2014 Tundra double cab .

So when the Airstream was finished and loaded for travel I weighed it and it was 5200# , 4100# on the tires and 900# on the tongue.

We’ve towed all over the western states since 2015 the Tundra has performed flawlessly.
We tow on the ball only ,no W.D.H. or anti sway devices with just 18 p.s.i. In the air bags . The weight on the rear axle is 4000# front is 3300# this is within spec .

The combination works great at all speeds even at 85 mph with a strong cross wind.
In the mountains the rig handles great plenty of power .
Avg. 11.5 mpg .

I’m glad the Nissan dealer didn’t make a deal . The Tundra performed better.
If the NV had performed better and they would deal ! I would have probably gone that way .

BTW Tundra is supposed to be an all new truck for 2021 . Who knows it may be a turbo v6 with a 10 speed only time will tell .
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