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Nissan NV Cargo X is a totally sweet rock-crawling cargo van

And it'll be on display at the Chicago Auto Show next week.

The Nissan NV Cargo X project vehicle, arguably the most extreme version of Nissan Commercial Vehicles’ flagship NV Cargo van ever created, was built in partnership with legendary off-road builder Ian Johnson. The NV Cargo X stands over seven-and-a-half feet tall on 37-inch tires and is powered by a Cummins® 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel transplanted from a Nissan TITAN XD full-size pickup.

Cargo vans aren't exactly exciting, but put one in the hands of a man who dedicates his life to building ridiculous off-roaders, and that preconceived notion flies right out the door.

The Nissan NV Cargo X is a cargo van built to tackle some gnarly off-roading. Nissan relied on the help of Ian Johnson, an off-road modification expert and host of the tv show "Xtreme Off-Road." The result is a van that's probably more capable than the pickup truck or SUV in your driveway.

I don't think this would fit in my garage. Or my driveway.


Starting with the body and ladder frame of a stock NV 2500 HD cargo van, Johnson's team kept the stock leaf springs out back and slapped on an off-road suspension system that boosted ground clearance to 22.0 inches. There's enough space in the wheel wells to fit 37-inch General Grabber off-road tires.

But where's the fun in building a concept vehicle without going overboard on power and torque? To that end, the team removed the stock 5.6-liter gas V8 and replaced it with the 5.0-liter diesel V8 from the Nissan Titan XD pickup. It puts out 310 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque. To make sure that power actually gets to the ground, the NV Cargo X also borrows the Titan XD's automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive system.

Since it wouldn't be a concept without some weird exterior crap going on, Nissan gave its NV Cargo X a bit of black and white paint, some LED lights, a steel-tube front bumper, a skid plate and a 10,000-pound winch. The interior has an onboard air system, recovery tracks, some rope, magnetic door stoppers and even a portable welder.

Suffice it to say, the NV Cargo X is prepared for whatever's to be thrown at it, short of scaling a sheer cliff face. Nissan does not have plans to drive the NV Cargo X over competitors' cars in other booths, but if I were the automaker, I'd take the forgiveness-versus-permission route.