With 80 years of pick-up heritage behind it, the all-new Navara landed on South African shores last week and Nissan feels strongly about its attempt to redefine the market for pick-ups on the continent.
Tar, gravel, mountain passes and soft sand dunes were all included in our day spent with the all-new Nissan Navara and I couldn’t wait to get to the office and report it all back.
What’s new about the new Navara?
The Nissan Group of Africa’s Director for Sales, Marketing and After-Sales, Xavier Gobille, noted that they’re very proud of the all-new Navara and that it not only builds on – and improves – the workhorse capabilities of its predecessor, but that it introduces comfort features previously unheard of in the pick-up segment.
In terms of design, the new Navara embodies a next generation V-motion design and a more aggressive stance.
For now the Navara range will include three double cab models with a choice of mid – high specification and a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox. All models are powered by a new 140 kW YS23DDT twin-turbo diesel engine.
Where the new Navara really impresses is its award-winning coil, five link rear suspension and until you experience it for yourself you can expect a much smoother ride and a beautiful combination of comfort and practicality thanks to improved suspension.
From the outside
As previously mentioned the new Navara maintains its aggressive stance. The V-shaped motif which carries throughout its exterior flows from a bold chrome grille and into the creased bonnet before ending on the tailgate (which features a stamped V-motif).
Full LED-headlights and daytime running lights are seen across the range while the High-grade option also features LED turn indicators in the chromed side-mirrors.
The Navara isn’t meant to be pretty while designers wanted to create something with a unique, sporty stance by mixing convex and concave folds above over-sized fenders and across the doors. Nissan claims that the load bay is the Navara’s largest yet (stretched from 67 mm to 1, 503 mm), thus increasing it’s overall length.
On the inside
While Nissan emphasized their focus on comfort for the new Navara a number of things make up for an enjoyable driving experience. New Spinal Support front seats truly make a difference, especially when you’re travelling long distances over a variety of terrains. In fact, my co-driver (who struggles with back problems) raved about the seating comfort while we covered a large amount of distance. Although I’m sure the introduction of a new coil suspension had something to do with this too, the new spinal channel on the front seats is made up of high density foam and they’re designed to distribute body pressure on the seat surface.
Leather seats with heating functions, as well as electrical adjustments, are available in the High-grade models although regular seating upholstery is super comfy.
Nissan has tried to create an SUV-styled cabin and as much as it is a shot in the right direction, a few minor things could so with some more attention. An integrated color touchscreen that provides Satellite Navigation with 3D Mapping is useful, however there’s quite a bit of glare coming off it and from the driver’s seat you might struggle to see detail even after adjusting brightness settings. It does however include radio with up to 30 pre-set radio stations, video in DVD, VCD, CD, MP3 and/or MPREG4 format. USB connectivity and Bluetooth with audio streaming can be operated from the steering wheel. The rear camera also comes in very handy for those awkward reverse maneuvers.
When you’re out on the open road it’s fairly easy to forget you’re driving a commercial vehicle. Acceleration and efficiency are noticeable here. Often, I felt that driving it felt much like a crossover and again, despite its size, its award-winning coil suspension adds to this.
Overtaking on highways in the new Navara is a dream. I felt confident and safe and not once did I feel a lack of punch and power while doing so with its brand new twin-turbo diesel engine which combines common rail direct injection.
Also read: Car Review – Nissan NP200 ICE
It pushes 140 kW at 3, 750 rpm and 450 N.m at 1, 500 – 2, 500 rmp and claims a fuel consumption rated at 6.5-litres per 100 km. Better road holding, particularly on gravel and when tracking through high-speed corners, has improved greatly after Nissan drove thousands of kilometres in South Africa to ensure this was possible.
The new Navara has three driving modes which are controlled by a rotary switch and selections can be made at up to 100 km/hour – so you don’t need to stop to re-select.
It can handle most terrains while I got to experience its impressive capabilities on road, gravel and sand. Traction control, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, Electronic Locking Rear Diff and it’s Shift-On-The-Fly technology make it all that much more practical as well as safe.
The new Navara has a lot going for it and considering its overall attributes, comfort – mostly thanks to its new coil sprung suspension – is what’s really going to set it apart from some of its rivals.
While its stronger and more tough than its predecessor the new Navara has improved safety features:
ABS (Anti-lock Braking System)
EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution)
TCS (Traction Control System)
VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control)
(BLSD) Brake Limited Slip Differential
7 airbags are as standard in the new Navara as well as seatbelt alerts and seatbelt height adjustment and child seat anchorage points.
Nissan Navara 2.3 DDTT 4×4 SE Double Cab MT – R514 900 (incl. VAT)
Nissan Navara 2.3 DDTT 4×4 LE Double Cab –MT – R565 900 (incl. VAT)
Nissan Navara 2.3 DDT 4×4 LE Double Cab AT –R597 900 (incl. VAT)
Black leather seats with heater function optional on LE grade models for R13 000 (incl. VAT).
The 4×2 double cab range is destined for local shores towards the end of 2017 and prices most likely to range between R450 000 and R520 000.
Source: Nissan South Africa