On this day, Mother Nature gave the Urvan NV350 a thorough welcome
Words: Carlo Tirona
Photos: Ardie Lopez
To put a vehicle through its proper paces doesn’t always come together. Say, a review of a 370Z on a racetrack, but limited to 45 km/h. Frustrating. On this particular instance, however, the President and Managing Director of Nissan Philippines couldn’t have planned it better if he tried. The morning flag off from the dealer on Chino Roces avenue in the new Urvan NV350, to a spot of lunch in Tagaytay and down to the waters of Batangas was met with every conceivable road condition commuters in the country can come across on a daily basis in a mere 12 hours. And what’s more, like the daily commuters that make up our workforce, there was a supplied designated driver.
We started our journey under what seemed to be an unforgiving heatwave in traffic till just past noon. The skies then dimmed ever so slightly, fooling us intoby expecting just a light shower only to fall victim as the heavens unleashed a massive wall of water. Winds picked up forcing our convoy of 6six Urvans to a snail’s pace. As the dusk arrivedarrived, we drove through the dimlyly, if not unlit, tight, and slightly muddy streets of provinces. As mid evening tolled, we finally reached our waterfront destination under now what now was a light drizzle.
It was done. As a daily commuter from point A to B, the Nissan Urvan NV350 had done its bit and has picked up where its predecessor, the E24 which we see abound on the city streets of the Philippines, has left off;. Ferrying the aforementioned backbone of the country from terminal to point, and keeping them safe. But what was it like?
I begin by telling you that whilst it may be a 15-seater, we were only 6. The diesel tank was full, which provided better stability, pointing out that the leaf springs give a better ride under pressure. The configuration of the rear air vents is evenly spread out which should do the trick even at full cabin capacity, but I sense tinted windows would help facilitate a cooler compartment. Driver instruments were kept to basics, even stripping away its radio, which I thought was a bit much. Then again, I remember that most commuters keep to their own world with personal devices and earphones. It’s a stretch, but forgivable.
On our way back to the city, there were now considerably more journalists in the van:ten of us, with varying heights and weights. If my colleagues will forgive me, more on the heavy weights. I point this out because, as expected, the ride did improve, and at higher speeds, it felt grounded with little to no sway. Getting settled inside wasn’t a huge challenge, but required proper seating assignments for those that needed more room than my Rudy Ruettiger legs.
On the last bit of open road, the Urvan’s YD25 DDTi showed its muscle when, from the back, we asked our fellow motoring journalist who was now driving, if his foot was buried, giving it his all to keep with the speed limit. Dumbfounded it seemed, he eyed us with the rear-view and answered “No.” A gear down and 5 seconds later, we collectively replied with a very Filipino wow. “Uy!”