Rosslyn – Nissan’s long-awaited Navara has finally gone on sale in South Africa and although the initial range is rather limited, it does appear to offer good value lower in the range. Only three 4x4 double cabs are available for now, priced between R514 900 and R597 900 and all are powered by Nissan’s new twin-turbo 2.3-litre turbodiesel.
The sophisticated new engine is said to be 19 percent more fuel efficient than its predecessor and it’s also at the sharp end of the game in output terms, with 140kW available at 3750rpm and 450Nm from 1500rpm, and it has a braked towing capacity of 3500kg. For comparison sake, the Toyota Hilux GD-6 engine is good for 130kW and 450Nm, while the Ford Ranger 3.2 five-cylinder unit is rated at 147kW and 470Nm.
This Navara is practically all-new from the ground up and Nissan has managed to shave up to 176kg off the kerb weight, but the big news is its coil-sprung five-link rear suspension system, which smoothes out the ride quality. In fact this is the first vehicle in its class to ditch the leaf springs, that is if you exclude the rather obscure Ssangyong Actyon Sports, which was more of a chopped SUV than a dedicated bakkie.
The Navara is still built on a traditional ladder frame chassis and boasts a 67mm longer and 18mm deeper load bay with a 1061 litre capacity and a payload of up to 1002kg depending on model. All the hard-core off-roading ingredients are still in place. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic gearbox, both featuring a mechanical transfer case with low-range gearing, controlled via a rotary dial in the cabin. Nissan has also thrown in a host of electronic off-road aids, including the Active Brake Limited Slip Differential system, which manages the power distribution front-to-back, left-to-right.
On the subject of off-roading, the Navara also has 229mm of ground clearance and improved approach, ramp-over and departure angles of 33.0, 25.2 and 27.9 degrees respectively.
The more spacious cabin is fitted with what Nissan calls Spinal Support front seats and equipment levels are generous across the board. A new touch-screen navigation system with 3D mapping and live traffic updates is standard, as is Bluetooth audio streaming, steering-mounted controls, automatic headlights, cruise control and seven airbags, including one for the driver’s knee.
The range-topping LE grade adds dual zone automatic climate control and a keyless entry and ignition system with start button. Those buying the LE can also get leather seats for an additional R13 000, while all versions can be personalised with a wide range of Nissan-approved dealer-fitted accessories, including a heady-duty off-road suspension kit.
Aftersales backup comes in the form of a three-year/90 000km service plan and six-year/150 000km warranty.
More models are set to be added to the Navara range in due course.
Look out for our driving impressions in this Thursday’s edition of The Star, Mercury or Cape Times.
NISSAN NAVARA PRICES
2.3 DDTT 4x4 SE manual – 140kW/450Nm – R514 900
2.3 DDTT 4x4 LE manual – 140kW/450Nm – R565 900
2.3 DDT 4x4 LE auto – 140kW/450Nm – R597 900
Toyota Hilux 2.4 GD-6 SRX 4x4 – 110kW/400Nm – R468 800
Ford Ranger 2.2 XLS 4x4 – 118kW/385Nm – R513 900
Nissan Navara 2.3 DDTT 4x4 SE manual – 140kW/450Nm – R514 900
VW Amarok 2.0 TDI Trendline 4x4 – 103kW/340Nm – R535 800
Mitsubishi Triton 2.4 DI-D 4x4 – 133kW/430Nm – R539 900
Mazda BT-50 3.2 SLE 4x4 – 147kW/470Nm – R541 700
Isuzu KB 300 D-Teq LX 4x4 – 130kW/380Nm – R549 800
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Raider 4x4 – 130kW/420Nm – R554 600
Nissan Navara 2.3 DDTT 4x4 LE manual – 140kW/450Nm – R565 900
VW Amarok 2.0 BiTDI Highline 4x4 – 132kW/400Nm – R569 900
Ford Ranger 3.2 XLT 4x4 – 147kW/470Nm – R573 900
Mazda BT-50 3.2 SLE 4x4 auto – 147kW/470Nm – R555 700
Mitsubishi Triton 2.4 DI-D 4x4 auto – 133kW/430Nm – R559 900
Isuzu KB 300 D-Teq LX 4x4 auto – 130kW/380Nm – R563 500
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Raider 4x4 auto – 130kW/450 – R573 500
VW Amarok 2.0 BiTDI Highline 4x4 auto – 132kW/400Nm – R587 400
Ford Ranger 3.2 XLT 4x4 auto – 147kW/470Nm – R588 900
Nissan Navara 2.3 DDT 4x4 LE auto – 140kW/450Nm – R597 900