Vehicles that don’t match their names often end up taking flak from buyers, reviewers and internet trolls alike. This is usually because it says sporty on the box but the actual toy isn’t much fun to play with.
But Nissan’s new Navara Stealth edition is something we’ll happily forgive for its mismatched name. Stealth is a word you’d usually associated with going undercover, but this Nissan instead attracts attention on the street with its orange trim on the front bumper, side steps and wing mirrors as well as its large stickers and black wheels and grille. The latter in my opinion works better than the chrome trim that adorns other Navara models, and it makes for a sportier look.
The Stealth package is a purely aesthetic one, however, meaning that in essence this is a rival to the Ranger Wildtrak rather than the Raptor. The Stealth is available in 4x2 manual and auto as well as 4x4 auto configurations, commanding a very reasonable price premium of between R10 000 and R13 000 over the Navara LE variants.
At R663 200 for the range-topping 4x4 auto, as per our test unit, the Stealth costs R5600 less than the equivalent Toyota Hilux Legend 50 model and it’s almost R30 000 cheaper than the albeit more powerful Ranger bi-turbo Wildtrak.
While it can’t match the 157kW/500Nm Ford for outright grunt, the 2.3-litre twin-turbo that comes standard in all Navaras is still more powerful than most rivals, producing 140kW at 3750rpm and 450Nm from 1500 revs.
The engine provides relatively effortless performance and it’s impressively smooth, quiet and refined too, and the seven-speed automatic gearbox is reasonably responsive.
On the subject of refinement, the Navara is the only vehicle in its class to feature a coil-sprung rear suspension rather than leaf springs, and while the unladen ride is comfortable enough on most surfaces, it doesn’t seem notably better than its rivals in that regard, and you’ll also feel an uncomfortable firmness over larger speed bumps - as you would in other bakkies. The Navara does handle corners quite neatly though.
For those that want to venture deep into the wilds, the Navara has all the typical ingredients you’d expect at this level, including a transfer case with low-range gearing, diff lock and a ground clearance of 129mm. While on the subject of utility, the Navara is rated to tow 3500kg (braked) and the payload is just short of a tonne, at 961kg.
It will make a decent family vehicle too, with relatively generous rear legroom, although really tall teens will probably want more headroom.
The features count is as generous as you could expect, with standard fare including partial leather seats (heated upfront and with electric adjustment for the driver), dual zone climate control, keyless push-button start, cruise control, auto headlights, a touchscreen infotainment system with satnav and a 360-degree Around View Monitor.
The Stealth also gets a unique seat upholstery that pairs black leather side bolsters with orange material inserts and stitching. It works well to lift the mood inside, without being too OTT.
The Navara operates in a cut-throat segment that has no shortage of talent, and although it doesn’t stand apart from its rivals in any particular area, it is a decent all-rounder that offers impressive all-round refinement. This could be a very attractive package for someone wanting to avoid the Hilux-Ranger herd, and stand out a little on the road (and trail).