I'm a sedan/sports car kind of guy, but as I matured into my thirties I began to appreciate haulers like vans and large SUVs as I am currently a full-on family man.
With that said, I recently shared my trip in Cebu as we traversed its scenic highways in a Nissan Urvan Premium. Those of you who felt that story was somewhat of a cliffhanger in terms of what the Urvan Premium has to offer, here's where I connect the dots and give you my personal insights as to why I like this newest van from the brand:
1) It's MASSIVE! Compared to its predecessors, the new Urvan Premium is the largest to date. Higher, wider, and roomier than ever. A tall, heavy-set guy like myself didn't have any trouble at all moving about inside the cabin. I could practically sit comfortably in any of its five rows and not feel like I was cramped in a local bus, giving any passenger ample legroom unless you have the physique of Chewbacca. If you have a decent-sized family that doesn't travel light, this 15-seater won't let you down or break your back.
2) It's not short on power. The true ability of any van is to be able to take you and your passengers with ease to any destination and to traverse winding paths such as the roads I tackled along Cebu's central highway. With a VGS turbo backing up its 2.5-liter diesel mill, the Urvan Premium packs a pretty hefty 356Nm of torque happiness. Despite my load, it never disappointed me through the entire stretch of my 140km drive.
3) It gives decent comfort. This is always a crucial factor for me when picking out a ride in this category. Compared to its popular rival, it definitely wins in terms of comfort and handles ruts quite well. It also has enough passenger amenities for long trips and keeps everyone cool in our tropical weather, something Nissan is known for. I just wish the brand offered a more extensive infotainment package for this hauler.
4) The handling and manual shifting are nimble and precise. Upon my initial inspection of the unit, I was sort of doubtful about the angled positioning of the stick-shift on the lower portion of the dash, until I actually got to drive it. It's positioned quite nicely, and shifting is short and smooth. Steering feedback is good, and the chassis feels solid even through tight corners. A passenger asked me if I had any qualms about not having an armrest for the driver. I felt the comfort was enough to keep me engaged and focused. Having too much comfort could be detrimental to my attentiveness towards the road, and when you're transporting those you love the most safety is priority.
5) It makes you feel like the captain of the ship. From a driver's perspective, it gives you an elevated, clear view of what's going on ahead and around you, allowing you to make more accurate driving calculations from cruising to parking. Of course, if you're new at driving anything this size it will take some practice, but its driver placement should be able to help you build up your confidence in no time.
6) It's versatile. Aside from being perfect for those long, out-of-town road trips with the barkada or family, it is also great for multitasking errands around the city. Errands from taking the kids to school, to work-related meetings, and capping the day off with grocery shopping.
7) It's value for money. At P1,650,000, it's absolutely a bang for the buck van. For all that it offers in terms of space, comfort and safety, the Urvan Premium will give top competitors a run for their money. I even did some quick math for throwing in some upgrades like aluminum alloy rims and wider tires, and it still came out cheaper than its premium counterparts. You can also check out Nissan Philippines' online store for useful and handsome accessories/parts to give this model your own personal touch.