CHICAGO – Nissan introduces the production version of its NV200 compact cargo van today at the annual auto show here.

The van is shown alongside Nismo performance variants of the Juke compact cross/utility vehicle and 370Z sports car, as well as a high-performance version of the GT-R sports car called the GT-R Track Edition.

Nissan considers the NV200 the solution for business owners “who have been making do with larger, more costly vans and pickups…or repurposing passenger vehicles,” Joe Castelli, vice president-Nissan Commercial Vehicles, says.

The NV200 cargo van, which goes on sale at 300 Nissan Commercial Vehicle dealers in the U.S. in April, is powered by a 2.0L 4-cyl. that produces 131 hp and 139 lb.-ft. (188 Nm) of torque. It is mated to a Xtronic continuously variable transmission by supplier JATCO.

The NV200 uses electric power-assisted steering with variable assist. It has a MacPherson-strut front suspension and multi-leaf with solid axle rear suspension.

There are 20 interior mounting points inside the van for customization purposes, and six D-ring tie-down points in the floor of the SV grade. The S and SV grades have 15-in. steel wheels, with wheel covers optional for the SV model.

The U.S. NV200 version is 7.9 ins. (20 cm) longer than the NV200 Nissan already sells in 40 countries. The cargo van, to be assembled for the U.S. at Nissan’s Cuernavaca, Mexico, plant, will be able to accommodate common 40x48-in. (102x122-cm) pallets, the auto maker claims.

Rear French doors are split 40/60, with the smaller door on the street side. Both doors can open 90-180 degrees. Side doors slide and lack windows, making a ready surface for business signage.

Nissan says it designed the cockpit for a commercial driver, with an easy ingress/egress seat that sits high and has outboard vinyl wear patches. As with the fullsize NV van, the NV200’s cabin has space for laptops and a hanging file folder, as well as a pen/pencil tray and dual cupholders.

The upper instrument panel allows for storage of folders and documents, while the passenger seat back folds forward for use as a desk.

Standard features include power windows, a 12V outlet and AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input. Bluetooth, SiriusXM satellite radio and navigation are available. The navigation system is packaged with the NissanConnect telematics’ system, which includes Google-powered point-of-interest searches as well as the ability to stream Pandora via an Apple iPhone.

A passenger version of the NV200 was selected as the New York City “Taxi of Tomorrow” last year and will go into service this fall.

The NV200 will compete against the Ford Transit Connect in the U.S. compact commercial-van segment. Ford sold 35,216 Transit Connects in the U.S. last year, up 10.3% from 2011.

At the show, Nissan says the Juke Nismo performance model, which goes on sale in the U.S. in March, has nearly 100 revised components from the current model, including a re-tuned 197-hp 1.6L gasoline direct-injected 4-cyl. engine. The regular Juke’s 1.6L GDI 4-cyl. makes 188 hp.

The Juke Nismo’s exterior has been restyled for improved aerodynamic performance and sees a 37% improvement in downforce compared with the regular Juke.

The ’14 Nissan 370Z Nismo sports car goes on sale this summer and uses a 350-hp version of the auto maker’s 3.7L V-6 engine. It also receives a red-accented design theme.

The GT-R Track Edition is the third GT-R variant and adds a firmer suspension and front spoiler with carbon-fiber air ducts. Only 150 GT-R Track Edition models will be offered for sale in the U.S. starting in May.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com