All aboard: Alternatives to the crowd-hauling Nissan NV350 Urvan


With its choice of 15 or 18 seats, Nissan's familiar NV350 Urvan is among the transporters of choice for large families, operators of UV Express units, and vehicle rental services that look to ferry the most people in one go.

For propulsion, the NV350 Urvan uses a 2.5-liter turbodiesel engine that puts out 127hp and 356Nm of torque. The three of its variants mate the mill to five-speed manual, while the two Premium variants offer a choice between the said manual and a five-speed automatic.

Depending on variant, the Urvan can accommodate the mentioned 15 or 18 passengers, or a van-load of items in its three-seater Cargo version.  Prices for all this real estate goes from P1.162 to P1.866 million. At the price point, families and entrepreneurs may look at other new vans in the market, or an upscale used one they fancy.  


Toyota Hiace (P1.101 to P2.998 million)

For the price of the NV350 Urvan, the familiar Hiace van can be had (excluding the top-dog Grandia models, which reach almost P3 million). So, the Hiace Commuter trim, with its 15 seats, is a better match to the Nissan. 

Hiace Commuter Deluxe

This van also bears that T badge, which has become synonymous with dependability. Like its competitor, this is also preferred by UV Express operators. 

Hyundai Grand Starex (P1.418 to P2.225 million)

With a wide range of prices, the Grand Starex has something for everyone. The range includes a cargo van and nine- and 10-seater passenger vans.

Grand STarex

The nine-passenger Grand Starex comes with a front and rear climate control system that keeps all passengers cozy. To get them to their destination, a 2.5-liter CRDi engine that generates 168hp and 441Nm of torque moves the van. 

Maxus V80 (P1.190 to P1.057 million)

The Chinese-owned Maxus brand landed in the Philippines in mid-2019, and it brought along with it a massive people hauler in the guise of the V80. 

Maxus V80

Public utility vehicle operators will find their next ride in the 18- or 15-seater V80 Transport, while businesses with delivery services will love the Flex's vast cargo hold. A 2.5-liter turbocharged intercooled diesel engine powers this NV350 Urvan rival. 

Foton Transvan HR (P1.168 to P1.263 million)

If the Chinese manufacturer's reputable buses and trucks are anything to go by, then the Transvan HR shouldn't disappoint. It comes in 13-, 15-, and 16-seat configurations to suit different needs.

foton transvan

As for specs, it packs a 2.8-liter turbocharged diesel engine that delivers 90hp and 225Nm of torque for all variants, with a five-speed manual serving as the only transmission option. Anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution provide safety. 

2011 to present Toyota Alphard (from P1 million)

Alright, this may lose to NV350 Urvan when it comes to seat count, but those who want one of the finest crowd carriers could consider used examples of the Alphard. 


Among other niceties, the Alphard offers mood lighting, leather captain seats with their own respective ottomans, automatic climate control, and doors that automatically close and open at a press of a button. 

Photos from Nissan, Toyota, Maxus, Hyundai, Foton

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