Nissan Urvan For Vanlife: 12 Reasons Why It’s the Best

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Considering the Nissan Urvan for Vanlife?

With its pop-top options, unique interiors, & large cargo space, the Urvan van is a practical option.

But how does it stack up against other popular throwback models like the Toyota HiAceVolkswagen Van, & Mitsubishi Delica?

In this post, we’ll find out.

Here’s everything you’ll learn:

12 Reasons Why Vanlifers Like the Nissan Urvan

The Urvan is cool, spacious, & less expensive than comparable vans – but is it the best option for vanlife?

Here are 12 reasons why vanlifers like the Nissan Urvan:

  1. Pop-Tops: Many of the Nissan Urvans from the 80s come with huge pop-tops that greatly increase the headroom inside. Lots also come with ultra-high roofs.
  2. Many Come Already Converted: Nissan originally created many of the Urvan models as campervans, and lots still have their original interior. If you don’t want to do a DIY build, this is a major plus.
  3. Decent Gas Mileage: The Urvan gets around 20 MPG combined, which is better than the Toyota HiAce, and the VW Van, at 18.5 MPG, and 17.5 MPG, respectively.
  4. Enough Room for an Indoor Kitchen: The cargo length of the Urvan is great, and there’s plenty of room inside for both a bed and a kitchen.
  5. High Clearance: The high clearance underneath the van means it’s great for driving on rocky or bumpy roads.
  6. Lasts a Long Time: Many of these vans from the 1980s are still around today, which is a great testament to how long their engines last.
  7. Holds Value Well: If you purchase a vintage Urvan and take good care of it, odds are it will keep its value, or even increase in value.
  8. 4X4 Options: The Nissan Urvan does come in 4×4, which is awesome for rough terrain or snow and ice.
  9. Super Unique: These cars definitely stand out, and it’s hard to find two that look alike. If you want an awesome-looking throwback van, the Urvan is a great bet.
  10. Powerful Engine: Many of the Nissan Urvans are fitted with Nissan’s turbo diesel engine, which gives this van a surprising amount of torque.
  11. Larger Interior Than Other Throwback Models: Compared to the Mitsubishi Delica and the Toyota HiAce, the Urvan has the largest interior by a few square feet. That means more room for more amenities.
  12. Cheaper Than Other Older Vans: The Nissan Urvan is typically less expensive to buy compared to the HiAce, and the Delica.

6 Reasons Why Vanlifers Dislike the Urvan

As with every vehicle, there are downsides to the Nissan Urvan.

Here are 6 reasons why vanlifers dislike the Urvan:

  1. Hard to Get Your Hands On: These vintage vans are pretty rare nowadays, especially in the U.S.. You might have to wait a while before you can find one for sale.
  2. Needs A lot of Repairs: Since these cars are old, expect to do a good amount of maintenance on them.
  3. Parts Can be Pricey: Since the older Nissan Urvans aren’t manufactured anymore, parts can be pricey and difficult to find.
  4. Not as Great for Off-roading: Compared to the HiAce and Delica, the Urvan falls behind in its off-roading abilities.
  5. Right-hand Drive: Like the HiAce and Delica, the Urvan is also a right-hand drive, which can take some getting used to.
  6. Needs to be Imported to the U.S.: If you live in the U.S. and find one of these for sale, it will probably be in another country, meaning you’ll have to import the car to the U.S..

 

10 Amazing Nissan Urvan Van Builds

With a large interior, powerful engine, & optional pop-top, the Urvan provides a good platform for designing a layout… but which is the best?

Here are 10 of the coolest Nissan Urvan’s ever:


 

Build #10: Refurbished Pop-Top Nissan Urvan with Convertible Bed

  • Highlights: This vintage Urvan van with all the original trimmings is in excellent shape. It has a rear kitchen and wardrobe, and a pop-top so you can stand up inside. In the front are a few seats that convert into a bed.
  • Van: Nissan Urvan
  • Owner: @aplacetopark

 

Build #9: Pop-Top Nissan Urvan with Front Kitchen and Convertible Dinette

  • Highlights: This 90s Urvan has a front kitchen with a sink and toaster oven. In the back is a large cabinet unit with lots of storage. The sleeping area is a convertible bench that slides down into about the size of a double bed.
  • Van: 1991 Nissan Urvan
  • Owner: outdoorsy.com

 

Build #8: Nissan Urvan with Side Facing Bed and Front Kitchen

  • Highlights: This pop-top Urvan has lots of its original interior, with a bit of refurbishing. The front has an L-shaped kitchen with a sink, stove, and countertop space. In the rear is a side-facing bed that can be converted into two bench seats.
  • Van: 1989 Nissan Urvan
  • Owner: @lola_the_urvan

 

Build #7: Pop Top Urvan with Convertible Seating and Awning

  • Highlights: This pop top has its original 1980s interior, with a large seating area and cushions that convert into a bed. In the back is a kitchen with a sink, fridge, and a small wardrobe.
  • Van: 1980s Nissan Urvan/ Nissan E23
  • Owner: @campurvan2.0

 

Build #6: Simple Urvan Build with Large Back Bed That Seats Four

  • Highlights: This very simple Urvan build has its first row of seats still in, meaning it’ll seat four people. Behind the row of seats is a large bed atop some storage.
  • Van: 1993 Nissan Urvan/ Nissan Homy
  • Owner: @thegoldenticket93

 

Build #5: Urvan with Original Leather Seats and Curtains

  • Highlights: This Urvan has a large dinette with leather booth seats and a pop-up table. The seats slide down into a large bed that sits next to the kitchen unit that contains a stove.
  • Van: 1980s Nissan Urvan/Nissan E23
  • Owner: @somedayclassics

 

Build #4: High Roof Nissan Urvan with Bunk Beds

  • Highlights: This super unique Urvan build has a bunk bed in the back, next to a dinette. The front of the van has a kitchen with a sink, stove, and fridge. The high roof means you can stand up inside the van.
  • Van: 1990s Nissan Urvan
  • Owner: japancampers.com

 

Build #3: Vintage High Top Urvan with Original Interior

  • Highlights: This ultra-90s style Nissan Urvan has a super high roof so you can fully stand up inside. In the front is a large dinette, which collapses down into a bed. The rear contains a double-wall kitchen with a sink and fridge.
  • Van: 1990 Nissan Urvan/Nissan Homy
  • Owner: expeditionportal.com

 

Build #2: Nissan Urvan Conversion that Seats Five

  • Highlights: This vintage aqua Urvan has been stripped and replaced with a shiny new interior. The rear of the van has three seatbelted seats that slide down into a bed. The front has an L-shaped kitchen with a sink, stove, and fridge.
  • Van: 1990s Nissan Urvan/ Nissan Homy
  • Owner: @sjcampers

 

Build #1: Simple Nissan Urvan Campervan with Awning

  • Highlights: This simple Urvan conversion shows you just how simple a van setup can be. Inside, the seats have been replaced with a large platform bed. Outside, the van features a pull-out awning perfect for outdoor cooking.
  • Van: Nissan Urvan
  • Owner: @kokeakiku

 

Cost, Dimensions, & Fuel Economy

Now that you know a little more about the Urvan, let’s see how it stacks up against the Toyota HiAceVolkswagen Van, & Mitsubishi Delica.

 

Nissan Urvan Cost

Cost: Nissan Urvan vs Mitsubishi Delica vs Volkswagen Van vs Toyota HiAce

ModelUsedPrice
Nissan Urvan$14,577Check Price
Mitsubishi Delica$19,777Check Price
Toyota HiAce$15,500Check Price
VW Van$30,000Check Price

 

Nissan Urvan Dimensions

Dimensions: Nissan Urvan vs Mitsubishi Delica vs Volkswagen Van vs Toyota HiAce

ModelInterior HeightInterior Length (cargo)Interior WidthExt Length
Nissan Urvan60.8 inches112.8 inches53.2 inches200 inches
Mitsubishi Delica51.2 inches86.6 inches55 inches188 inches
Toyota HiAce55.9 inches91.9 inches60.8 inches185.6 inches
VW Van53.1 inches106.3 inches59.1 inches168.9 inches

 

Nissan Urvan Fuel Economy

Fuel Economy: Nissan Urvan vs Mitsubishi Delica vs Volkswagen Van vs Toyota HiAce

ModelCityHighwayCombined
Nissan Urvan19 MPG21 MPG20 MPG
Mitsubishi Delica18 MPG22 MPG20 MPG
Toyota HiAce17 MPG20 MPG18.5 MPG
VW Van16 MPG19 MPG17.5 MPG

 

Conclusion: Is the Nissan Urvan Right for you?

There are a lot of reasons to like the Nissan Urvan: It has unique interior options, a high-roof, and a lot of cargo space pop-top options – but it may not be for you.

Biggest factors:

  • Pop-Top & High Roof Options
  • Large Interior Space
  • Hard to Find
  • Requires A lot of Repairs

So should you get one?

Maybe! The Nissan Urvan offers some unique options in the throwback van space that make it a solid choice compared to the Toyota HiAceVolkswagen Van, & Mitsubishi Delica. If you like the style, need a pop-top, or can find a great deal then go for it.

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Comments

2 Responses

    1. Cool article! Also, thanks for using a pic of my Homy(Urvan, Caravan, etc) in your article’s heading- should’ve featured it😉! Our caravans here in Washington state will give Delicas and Hiaces a run for their money when it comes to off roading. Also, don’t believe the the hype when it comes to how hard to they are to find, and how rare and expensive parts are. We have like 10 for sale in the Seattle area alone at the moment. And MANY parts are shared with the Nissan Hardbody, Nissan Pathfinder, Nissan Terrano and Patrol. We get along just fine when it comes to maintenance. Thanks again for giving this underrated Van the props it deserves!

      Clint
      full_rabbit on Instagram

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