Nissan Motors introduced a van called the Nissan Caravan in 1973. It is designed to use as a cargo van or fleet vehicle. In the export markets, the Caravan was marketed as Nissan Urvan, King Van or Homy. It is offered as GX (flat roof) and DX (high roof) with several engine options including: KA24DE, the KA20DE I4, a 2.7-L TD27 I4 diesel, and a 3.0-L diesel, the ZD30DD inline four, and the ZD30DDTi I4. There are some instances where E25 chassis is also utilized in association with the Isuzu Como with similar engines presented by Nissan.
E20 (1973 – 1980)
Nissan has been manufacturing and producing the Caravan/Urvan, a van and minibus since February 1973. It is offered with a seating plan of three, five, seven, and up to ten seats. The first generation Caravan was very popular in European markets. It was normally preferred by the Fire Departments and ambulances in many countries. Because it was not available with power steering, handling it became a little bit of a tough job. The gear shifter was also positioned at the floor and ascended up to the height of the hand. The car received five gears quite uncommon in Europe at the time. The car was powered by a 1.6-L (1596 cc), a 1.8-L (1798 cc) and a 2.0-L (1998 cc) engine.
It was marketed as Datsun Urvan before the Nissan brand took over it in 1983-84 globally.
E23 (1980 – 1986)
In August 1980, the second generation Nissan Urvan/Caravan (E23) was launched by Nissan. Initially, the Homy was marketed through the Prince dealerships and considered as the sister model of Caravan with minor differences. The Cabstar and Homy had many things in common in their bodywork except for some different frontal treatment and a small sidewindow mounted in the front doors of the Caravan /Homy. The engine options available were all 4-cylinder, ranging from J16 and H20 pushrod to the overhead cam Z20S and an upgraded SD22 diesel. A new five speed manual gearbox introduced to diesel version. The luxury version called the GL made available with an optional ‘Nissanmatic’ automatic transmission plus power steering, comfortable rotating rear seats and air conditioning. A luxurious SGL version ‘Silk Road’ was introduced in July 1981.
The concept Caravans were brought to the Tokyo Motor Show in 2008 called the Royal and the Elgrand Royal Line. Both the concept models exhibited the limousine-like features to target the businessmen class. A facelift was released with minor changes in May 1982. The facelift featured a new dashboard, a new five-bearing SD23 diesel engine and dropped the ventilation window in the front doors. The coach versions were also made available with more powerful turbocharged LD20T diesel engine. The petrol cars in order to comply with the 1981 emissions standards dropped the H20 engine in favor of new carbureted Z18S and Z20s engines.
Another facelift was appeared in April 1983 giving SGL and GL new appearance with four square headlights. A long-wheelbase, ten-seat version was also released as DX. The six and nine passenger van versions were released in January 1985. The safety equipment and pre-heating system was improved for diesel versions. All the petrol versions were made standard with 5-speed manual transmission. In May, the eight-seater version of Silk Road Limited was introduced.
E24 (1986 – 2001)
In September 1986, the E24 was introduced replacing the previous E23. It was sold as King Van in some of the Scandinavian countries to associate it with the well-known King Cab version of Nissan D21 pickup truck. It received a DQ32 (3153 cc) 4-cylinder diesel engine in 1996 producing 100 PS (74 kW). Two facelifts were released for E24.
The E24 it still assembled in the Kenya by the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers in Thika.
The E25 was introduced in 2001 and is still in production. The E25 was discontinued in Mexico, the North American country to receive the full-sized Nissan vans. The American-built Nissan NV replaced it in that market. It is still not known whether the Mexican version will go on sale in United States and Canada with Urvan name or new NV name. It manages to receive only one-star rating on the Australian ANCAP crash test.