Photos by Dino Ray V. Directo III
When Nissan PH unveiled the all-new Urvan middle of last year, I knew Nissan had a winner in its hands. With a headroom big enough for the average Filipino to stand and walk the length of this humongous van, plus suede covered adjustable seats comfortable enough to accommodate 15 individuals and 14 aircon vents strategically spread throughout the cabin, what is there to not like about this van? Well, the manual transmission.
As my face began to distort at the reality of driving this behemoth through EDSA and C5 traffic jams, Dax Avenido came over and assured me that an automatic version will be introduced before year-end 2017.
Lo and behold, Nissan made true to their promise and an automatic version of its beloved Urvan came knocking at my door a few weeks before Christmas. With its variant sporting a “Premium” badge, this luxurious van was my test unit for an out of town event which coincided with my daughter’s birthday. It was the perfect vehicle for a family of six, with more space to spare.
Aside from its usual comfort amenities, Nissan’s Premium Urvan comes equipped with a powerful and zippy 2500cc in-line diesel unit that is matted to a five-speed automatic gearbox. This 129 bhp engine is perfect for a vehicle of this size and heft, which felt like driving a pretty fast Abrams battle tank. Driving it felt solid and despite the load that we had for that weekend trip, which included a small mini-bike, this baby hauled ass. Overtaking maneuvers were a cinch, and straight up sprints gave me a smile as one SUV tried to overtake without any success.
As we entered the San Fernando exit on our way to Pradera Verde in Lubao, we dropped speed and leisurely took in the rural sights, as we enjoyed the ride despite the road imperfections and bridge works along the way. The suede covered seats was perfect for long drives because it can be reclined and there was enough leg room in between the four rows of seats. The Urvan’s climate control was excellent in keeping us comfortable inside considering the humidity of Lubao, which is one of the towns of Pampanga hard hit by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Half way to our destination, my passengers were already in la-la land dozing off and being lulled to sleep by the cold aircon, comfy seats and classical music creeping through the cabin from the rear mounted speakers.
To make the fight for the domestic market share more exciting, Nissan is due to launch early this year a Premium S version of the Urvan. By adding half a million pesos to the Urvan’s P1.7M price tag, you’ll get a customized Urvan with four Captain’s chairs covered in genuine leather, a premium dash mounted Pioneer audio-video system, two Blaupunkt backrest mounted video monitors and a Blaupunkt dash camera. It also comes equipped with a plant approved aftermarket wheel from Rota. According to Atoy Llave, the country’s “custom” King, the Premium S can be ordered through Nissan’s network of dealers nationwide. It normally takes Atoy two weeks to rip apart and customized an Urvan to make it a Premium S variant.
Atoy’s custom urvan’s are also popular among celebrities and showbiz personalities. “For people in showbiz, they usually require two Captain’s chairs, a sofa bed and a mini-restroom, plus a large Plasma TV and a premium sound system,” he explains.
Nissan Ph says that the Urvan Premium’s maintenance costs are significantly lower than other vans in the same segment. It further stated that it was also the first in the industry to offer warranty coverage for business use, allowing customers to have their vehicle serviced for the first three years, or 100,000 kilometers, whichever comes first, at no additional cost.
“Last year was phenomenal for the brand as our sales figures were quite encouraging which was beefed up further by the NV350 Urvan. The NV350 sold 1,651 units which accounted for 31 percent of sales in the first and second quarter of last year. Now we continue to grow the business by entering a new segment with the Urvan Premium and the soon to be launched Urvan Premium S,” explains Ramesh Narasimhan, President and Managing Director of Nissan Ph.
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